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Taj Mahal: History, Siginificance and Environmental Threats
Transcript of Taj Mahal: History, Siginificance and Environmental Threats
Economic and Cultural Significance
Background History: Mughal Love Story
While at the battle against Khan-i-Jehan Lodi at Burhanpur, Mumtaz delivered their 14th child and died shortly afterwards on June 17, 1631.
Shah Jahan was in deep mourning
He had avid interest in architecture, and now thought of erecting a commemorative monument in his queen's memory.
The building of the Taj Mahal began in 1632
Fully completed in 1653
A workforce of more than 20,000 men, Hindu as well as Muslim, from around India and from abroad, particularly from Persia.
An army of elephants were also used to drag construction materials
The biggest building project of the age at a cost of 32 million Rupee or $400 million in today’s prices
Built entirely of white marble, where particularly at dawn and sunset, it glows different colors in the light of the sun and moon.
The entire mausoleum is decorated with inlaid design of flowers and calligraphy using precious gems such as agate and jasper.
The main archways are chiseled with passages from the Holy Quran and Islamic decorations.
Taj Mahal's Significance
The Taj alone attracts over 2 million visitors annually, including more than 200,000 people from overseas
Tourism offer direct and indirect aid to India's economy
Cultural- Symbol of cultural fusion,
It represents the clearest link to pre-Islamic Indian Shastric concepts and of epitome of love
It represents India’s extraordinary architectural innovation.
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"Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but a proud passion of an Emperor's love, wrought into living stone, which gleams and soars, with body of beauty shining soul and thought."
-Sir Edwin Arnold,
English poet and journalist
History, Significance and Environmental Threats
Located- Bank of the Yamuna River in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
The Yamuna River arrives in Agra bearing raw sewage from cities upstream.
Garbage dumps produce methane gas that contributes to the yellowing of the Taj’s marble.
Traffic has surged, with more than 800,000 registered vehicles in the city.
Plant emissions are also causing acid rain, which is eating away at the stone of the monument.
- M.C. Mehta calls “marble cancer”
Factories and industries in Agra are belching out noxious fumes and gases
Due to the environmental pollution, the Taj Mahal is threatened to weaken and discolor, forcing the necessity of reconstruction and lose of originality.
The Taj Mahal is a significant part of India that is rooted to its history, culture and social identity, therefore environmental protection and conservation actions should be taken!