It is one of the most recognized sites associated with India. Located on

the banks of the the mausoleum and gardens of the Taj Mahal complex covers more than 15 hectares. Built by an army of masons, stone carvers, painters, calligraphers, engineers and artisans from Persia and central Asia between 1632 AD and 1648 AD for Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as an honorarium of his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shortly after its completion, a mosque, ornate guest house and an artistic south side gateway, and a landscaped outer courtyard were added. It stands as one of the best preserved Indo-Islamic structures of the period.

The building itself overshadows an historic wonder, an intricately designed garden that includes irrigation and drainage. Conceived by pioneering architect Shah Jahan, the gardens are a masterpiece of integrated planning that showcase the mausoleum itself. The grounds were designed to present the impression of depth and perspective that seems to magnify the size of the main monument. To enhance the illusion the tomb is built on a raised square platform that supports for minarets on octagonal bases.

integrated landscaping and architectural plans provide a balance of composition. A lateral set of stairs that lead to the platform is framed by the southern gate. The octagonal tomb chamber in located squarely in the center and framed by portal halls and four corner rooms. The plan is mirrored on the upper floor. The large double storied domed chamber, a perfect octagon, houses the memorials to Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan. The actual graves are in the lower tomb chamber, a common burial practice for rulers during the Mughal period.Surrounding the memorials is an intricate octagonal marble lattice screen with decorative inlay. Frames inlaid with precious stones that appear to be flowers encase the lattice. The four free-standing minarets enhance a three dimensional perspective when viewed from any angle.

The main gate at the center of the south wall is flanked by ornate double arcade galleries. In front of the galleries, gardens bisect them into quarters, and two walk-ways subdivide the gardens. This is an example of the master of geometric symmetry used to create the complex.

As much care was taken with the choice of materials used in the construction. Multi-hued brick with white lime mortar faced with red sandstone and marble, and expansive use of precious and semi precious stone inlay present a subdued sense of luxury for the base. The mosque and the guest house in the complex are also built of red sandstone that stand in contrast to the white marble tomb at the center. The mosque and guest house are mirrored structures.

The entire complex is a wonder and artistic masterpiece. It stands in mute testimony to another era, and the hope that love transcends death. Arizona Affordable Funeral Home and Crematory may not be able to provide final internment destined to become a world heritage site, but they can assure you that with professionalism and sincere understanding, they will be able to meet your needs during a time of sorrow and loss.

Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America 

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