1. TAYLOR’S UNIVERSITY
SCHOOL OF LIBERAL ART & SCIENCES
MPU 3123: TAMADUN ISLAM & ASIA
Bachelor of Quantity Survey
Topic: India Architecture
Presentation Marks (10 marks)
No Name ID No Marks Remarks
1 Ng Huoy Miin 0319097
2 Liew Poh Ka 0320424
3 Lee Shze Hwa 0320053
4 Chong Hui Yik 0326165
5 Lee Kailyn 0320273
6 Audrey Ting Ming Fang 0320247
7 Lim Zi Shan 0320372
Assignment Marks (20 marks)
No Name ID No Marks Remarks
1 Ng Huoy Miin 0319097
2 Liew Poh Ka 0320424
3 Lee Shze Hwa 0320053
4 Chong Hui Yik 0326165
5 Lee Kailyn 0320273
6 Audrey Ting Ming Fang 0320247
7 Lim Zi Shan 0320372
No. Content Page
1. Introduction & History of Taj Mahal 2
2. Complex plan of Taj Mahal 3
3. Moonlight Garden 4 - 5
4. Riverfront Terrace 6 - 12
5. Garden (Charbagh) 13 - 14
6. Forecourt (Jilaukhana) 15 - 17
7. Bazzar & Caravanserai (Taj Ganji) 18
8. Conclusion 19 - 20
9. References 21 - 22
In this assignment, in a group of 7, we would have to research regarding the art or
architecture of one civilization. We choose Taj Mahal as it is one of the Seven Wonders
of the world and is also one of the most outstanding examples of Mughal architecture,
which combined Indian, Persian and Islamic architectural styles. The Taj Mahal was
constructed using materials from all over India and Asia. Total 28 types of precious and
semi-precious stones were inserted into the white marble. The total cost of the Taj
Mahal's construction was about 50 million rupees at that time. Taj Mahal is widely
recognized as ‘The Jewel of Muslim Art in India’. Taj Mahal is a huge construction which
made use of the services of 22,000 labourers and the material that were used to build
Taj Mahal were transported to the site by 1,000 elephants. Furthermore, it’s unique by
the changing moods of the Emperor's wife are well captured by the changing hues of
the Mausoleum at different times of the day. It takes a pinkish hue in the morning, milky
white in the evening and golden at night when illuminated by moonlight.
1.1 History of Taj Mahal
Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor was head over heels in love with Mumtaz Mahal, his
dear wife. She was a Muslim Persian Princess. It was at the age of 14 that he met
Mumtaz and fell in love with her. In the year 1612, they got married and cherished as
the favourite of his three queens. Mumtaz Mahal died in 1631 while giving birth to their
14th child. The court chronicles of Shah Jahan's grief illustrate the love story
traditionally held as an inspiration for Taj Mahal. Taj Mahal means the ‘Place of the
Crown’. It was in the memory of his beloved wife that Shah Jahan built a magnificent
monument as a tribute to her. The construction of Taj Mahal started in the year 1631, it
took approximately 22 years to build what we see today. Shah Jahan, lies entombed in
this mausoleum along with his wife.Taj Mahal is one of the most famous in the world
and while the tannish colored enormous building in sight, domed marble mausoleum is
the most familiar part of the monument, the Taj Mahal is an extensive complex of
buildings and gardens that extends over 22.44 hectares (55.5 acres).
2.0 Plan of Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal is divided into 5 sections :
1. Moonlight garden ( Mahtab Bagh )
2. Riverfront terrace containing Mausoleum, Jawab and Mosque
3. Garden (Charbagh)
4. Forecourt ( Jilaukhana )
5. Bazaar & Caravanserai ( Taj Ganji )
2.1 Moonlight Garden
The name Mehtab Bagh (Moonlight Garden) means “Moon Lit Garden”. It situated
across the Yamuna River from the Taj Mahal. The Mahtab Bagh was a pleasure
garden constructed by Shah Jahan in the 1600’s. From this vantage point, the Mughal
Emperor Shah Jahan, who is known to have frequently visited the Moonlight Garden
could relax and enjoy the vista of his great work in a setting of fountains and pavilion. A
pavilion also known as baradari is a building with 12 doors designed to allow the free
flow of air. The structure has three doorways on every side of the square shaped
structure. They are known for their outstanding acoustic features and for hosting
performances by dancers, the noble courtesans of India and other artistes. They were
also used for their fresh air during hot summers.
The remains of the pavilion uncovered in Mehtab Bagh.
Besides, the central to the garden was an
octagonal pool that held the reflection of the Taj Mahal on a moonlight night. The idea
behind the garden may have been to make it an experience to watch the Taj Mahal from
here on a full moon night.
Mehtab Bagh was built opposite Taj Mahal.
Mehtab Bagh has been related with the myth of the black Taj Mahal :
● Some scholars believe that Shah Jahan never meant for himself to be buried
along with his wife, instead he wanted to build another Taj Mahal for his resting
place but this time he decided to build with black marble.
● A European traveller named Jean Baptiste Tavernier who visited Agra in 1665
first mentioned the idea of Black Taj in his writings. The story gained reliability
following observation made by archaeologists in 2006, that part of the pool in the
moonlight garden reflected a dark reflection of the white mausoleum.
2.2 Riverfront Terrace (Chamelli Farsh)
The riverfront terrace is 1.22 m above the level of the garden, while its height is 8.7 m
towards the river due to the slope. The red sandstone facades of the terrace are
ornamented with the carvings of flower vases and palm trees framed with white
marbles. The terrace is geometrically covered with light and dark sandstone. The closer
parts of mausoleum are patterned with the combination of sandstone and marble
The mausoleum is flanked by two almost identical building on either side of the platform.
Both of these lateral buildings create a mirror-like symmetry. The mosque located on
the west side and the Mihman Khana located on the east side are complementary
structure of the mausoleum. The mosque is built out of redstone and has a 210 feet in
length and 90 feet in width. The floor of the mosque is made up of a material that
appears to be velvet red in shade and is in shape of 569 prayer mats in black marble.
The interior of the mosque are inscribed with calligraphy and the name of Allah and
quotations from scripture. However, the main feature that distinguishes the Mosque
from Guesthouse is the presence of Mihrab and Minbar. Minbar is always positioned to
the right hand side of the Mihrab and consist of three steps to a flat platform.
The Mihman Khana, also referred as Guesthouse, is located at the opposite of the
Mosque. The Jawab is similar to the Mosque, but rather than having Koranic
inscriptions, it has beautiful flower designs and other decorations effectively done in the
white marble of the red sand stone background.
2.2.1 Exterior of Taj Mahal
The mausoleum is a symmetrical white marble tomb of Taj Mahal stands on the plinth
leveled at 50 metres above riverbank with an arch-shaped doorway. The base structure
of Taj Mahal is multi-chambered, large cube with right-angled corners which forms an
unequal octagonal structure. Due to its shape, the dome is most called an onion dome.
To accentuate its height, the top is decorated with lotus design. The shape of dome is
stressed by four chattris placed at its corner, which replicate the onion shape of the
main dome. It is also accented by the cylindrical “drum” it sits on which is roughly 7
metres high. The columned base open through the tomb's top and give light to the
inside of the tomb. Tall decorative spires reach out from edges of base walls, and
provide visual accentuation to the height of the dome. The lotus motif is repeated on
each of the chattris. On the top of the dome and chattris are a gilded finial, which
blends traditional Persian and Hindu decorative factors. Taj Mahal is made of pure white
marble with its special lustre and fine texture obtained from Makrana in Rajasthan.
The most remarkable part of the Taj Mahal.Enormous white onion shaped dome
crowning the tomb.Located at the exact centre of the structure,the main dome is flanked
by four smaller ones on it four corners.
The onion shaped dome of the Taj Mahal sits on a massive drum
that adds support to the circular top.The drum is also intricately
designed with superb inlay work.
THe main finial was replaced by a copy made of gilded bronze in
the early 19th century.
r Chattris,which flank the four corners of the onion dome.Having an octagonal base and
with small arches on each of the eight sides. Chattris are also present at the tops of the
four tall minarets.
The Taj Mahal's minarets detached from the main tomb.Standing tall at 138 fetus were
intelligently designed with a slant toward the outward side.It was done for avoid the
damage to the dome.These four minarets rise from the plinth with an eight sided base
and a circular pillar.Decorated with delicate inlay work and
The traditional of having Iwans in both residential and public
buildings found their way into Mughal architecture.
Even the smallest areas had design elements like
the"guldastas"that flank the exterior of
the Taj.These were added to the Taj Mahal purely for beauty and lends the building a
sense of height.Decorated with lotus petals,the guldastas are topped with gold finals.
The tomb is the central focus.It stands on a square plinth.It consists of a symmetrical
building with an iwan topped by a large dome and finial.
2.2.2 Interior of Taj Mahal
The inner chamber is an octagon with the design allowing for entry from each
face,although only the door facing the garden to the south is used.The interior walls are
about 25 metres (82 ft)high and are topped by a “false”interior dome decorated with a
The shape of the room but is Octagonal.A protective octagonal screen made of
perforated marble panels,or jalis,with borders of inlaid marble surrounds the two
cenotaphs in the center chamber.
Staircases lead to the upper storey that has four
octagonal rooms.The rooms also have balconies with
jali screen to allow light and air to filter into the
chambers.All the interior walls of the mausoleum have
huge arches that have jalis to allow air and light.The
shining marble cladded on the walls are decorated
with beautiful floral patterns using carving and inlay
Mumtaz Mahal’s cenotaph is placed at the precise center of the inner
chamber on a rectangular marble base of 1.5 metres by 2.5
metres.The pen box and writing tablet were traditional Mughal
funerary icons decorating the caskets of men and women
respectively.The Ninety Nine Names of God are found as
calligraphic inscriptions on the sides of the actual tomb of Mumtaz
Muslim tradition forbids elaborate decoration of graves. Hences,the body of Mumtaz
and Shah Jahan were put in a relatively plain crypt beneath the inner chamber with their
face turned right and towards Mecca.
Ornamentation and mouldings
The Taj Mahal depicts elaborate carvings with around
forty three different kinds of gems used.A technique of
carving at the Taj Mahal called “manabbat kari”
involves drawing the flower
patterns directly on the marble with henna and then
using fine chisels to carve them out.
2.3 Garden (Charbagh)
This concept was the Mughals brought from Persian Timurid gardens. This was the first
architectural expression they made with strong symbolic meanings. In Hindi, “Char”
means four, therefore, the square garden is divided into four parts with two main
walkways. Each of four parts is also divided into four with narrower walkways, sixteen
squares are created.
The symbolism of the garden and its divisions are noted in mystic Islamic texts with
describe paradise as a garden filled with abundant trees, flowers and plants. It has a
raised marble water tank called the “Tank of Abundance”. There are four rivers source
at a central spring or mountain separate the garden by flowing towards the cardinal
points. They represented the promised rivers of water, milk, wine and honey. There is a
line of fountains in the canal which passes in between the main walkway. The floor is
lined with sandstone stripes and geometrical stars and then followed by larger
sandstone walkway with typical Mogul geometrical designs. The great gate is connected
by north-south walkway to mausoleum while the east-west walkway connects to two
The center of the garden is highly symbolically charged and is where a pavilion, pool or
tomb would be situated. The tombs of three previous Mughal emperors, Humayun,
Akbar and Jahangir are sited at the garden.
2.4 Jilaukhana (Forecourt)
The Jilaukhana means “in front of the house”, was a gathering point of the tomb visitors
and it was the ceremonial place hosted the first death anniversary of Mumtaz Mahal.
The east and west gates are those commonly used by tourists. The east gate
“Fatehabadi Darwaza” and the west gate “Fatehpuri Darwaza” are identical. They were
built with red sandstone with the rectangular framed arch, outer facades topped with two
pinnacles and the inner facades with a central arch enriched with two tiers of niches. At
the top is a parapet carved in relief with a characteristic Mughal pattern of multi-cusped
The design of the longer gate, south gate “Sirhi Darwaza” is similar to the others. The
gate is higher than the level of the forecourt due to the slope. Because of the overall
slope of the site, it stands 7 feet 10 inches above the level of the Jilaukhana and is
reached up a short flight of stairs.
The two bazaar streets start from the gates on the west and the east to the Jilaukhana.
It built with sandstone and containing total 128 non-connected rooms without windows
open to an arcaded veranda. The Shahjahani styled columns of the arcades are topped
with multi-cusped arches and finished with roof-like slabs. The area was restored
between the years 1900-1908 with the order of Lord Curzon. The two gates on the north
and south open to the large courtyard operative as the dismounting place of the visitors.
The bazaar streets built by red
The two quarters of the tomb attendants namely “Khawasspuras” on the north and the
two tomb complexes “Saheli Burj” on the south are located in the courtyard.
Khawasspuras act as the residential place of the people looking after the tombs and the
Qur’an memorizers. The south and the north wings are similarly built with continuous
rooms completed by the long verandas like the ones in bazaar streets. After the
restorations, the western khawasspura was functioned as “Fatehpuri Gate Courtyard”,
while the eastern part “Gaushala” takes the name of “Fatehabad Gate Courtyard” and
used as cow stables until 2003. Today, both courtyards are functioning as the new
Shali Burj includes the tombs of Shah Jahan’s other wives. It means as the “tower of the
female friend”. The four imperial women’s tombs include the tomb of Akrabarabadi
Mahal located on the west, one of Shah Jahan’s favourite. While the tomb at east side
belonging to Sirhindi Mahal and the other tombs are questionably belonging to
Fatehpuri Mahal and Aberabadee Begum. The only difference between the two
complexes is the decoration of the cenotaphs. The cenotaph of Akrabarabadi Mahal’s
was ornamented with floral decoration, emphasizing her importance, but unluckily most
of the stones were destroyed.
The Great Gate or Darwaza-i-Rauza means “Gate of the Mausoleum” connected the
Jilaukhana and the funerary garden to the Char Bagh. The great gate is preceded on
the south and north by platforms paved with geometrical patterns. The structure is built
by red sandstone and it is surrounded by octagonal towers with a marble dome on the
top of it. It is rectangular in form and decorated by the quotes of Holy Quran, These
quotes are named under al-Fajr (daybreak) which symbolizes inviting the believers to
the paradise. The north facing entrance is also decorated with the quotes from The
Quran. The central vault in the gate is decorated with stars and partial stars. The
colonnaded galleries are located on the south of the funerary garden decorated with big
multi-cusped arches and columns with floral bases. It was used to welcome poor people
to distribute alms in during rainy season.
The Great Gate
2.5 Taj Ganji (Bazaar & Caravanserai)
Taj Ganji is basically a market and a large number of shops can be seen there. Initially
this area was constructed for workers and craftsmen. There are two identical streets
lead from the east and west gates to the Jilaukhana. There are rows of small
unconnected rectangular cells without with on that street. The street is also fronted by
an arcaded verandah with multi-cusped arches supported by columns of distinctive
Shahjahani type, which appear here in their
most basic form.
The reasons why we choose Taj Mahal as our group’s architecture are the Taj
Mahal is an iconic example of Mughal architecture and one of the most well known
buildings in the world.Taj Mahal is considered to be the greatest architectural
achievement in the whole range of Indo-Islamic architecture. The Taj Mahal is
considered to be the greatest architectural achievement in the whole range of Indo-
Islamic architecture. It's recognised architectonic beauty has a rhythmic combination of
solids and voids, concave and convex and light shadow; such as arches and domes
further increases the aesthetic aspect. The colour combination of lush green scape
reddish pathway and blue sky over it show cases the monument in ever changing tints
and moods. The relief work in marble and inlay with precious and semi precious stones
make it a monument apart.
Through this project, we learnt how to communicate effectively with other group
members, especially when asking for opinions and exchanging ideas. We realize that
team communication skills are critical for ensuring the success of the team effort,
whether the team is charged with making a process improvement, or because a strong
team communication skills can help to build relationships, ensure the sharing of new
ideas and best practices, and benefit team members through coaching or counseling.
We learnt that responsibility is very important when participating in group work,
every member need to determine what he or she needs to do and takes responsible to
complete the tasks. Every member should be responsible for problem solving, and
providing their experience and knowledge. If each member does not participate,
contribute, and deliver results, the group will ultimately fail to achieve their goal. When
participating in group work, we will have to assign group member specific roles because
it may help to increase efficiency and productivity.
We learnt that teamwork and workmanship is crucial in group work. Basically
a team that requires poor team work will affect the quality of work. A strong team allows
us to complete the task more efficiently and faster. When participating in group work, we
can help each other to improve their performance and solving the issues together. We
also learnt that working with others to coordinate schedules, meet deadlines and make
decisions will strengthen our relational interactions. Besides, time management is really
important and never do things at the eleventh hour.
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