Monday, June 8, 2009
Taj Mahal Speaks
Slowly, an unpleasant and stressful atmosphere began to fill the air, as the construction of one of the wonders of the world began…
The Taj Mahal was built by the late Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved queen, Mumtaz Mahal. He had appointed Ustad ‘Isa, a renowned Islamic architect, as the master architect.
The entire Taj is built of white marble. The choice of the colour white may be a symbol to portray the sincerity of his love towards his late wife. Furthermore, as the Taj will accommodate the chamber which places the grave of the late Queen Mumtaz, the use of white marbles is indeed appropriate. The use of too many colour will not create a peaceful atmosphere as colours makes a surrounding look more exciting.
The beauty of the Taj Mahal is simply breathtaking. As the construction took place, the land of Agra became the temporary home of a large number of construction workers. The total amount of workers to be involved in the construction is estimated to be twenty thousand. As the work began, workers and craftsmen from Baghdad, Shiraz and Bukhara started to arrive.
The workers had to work really hard and hardly had any rest. These workers were not only over-worked but also ill-treated. They were barely given enough food to eat. Their meals consists only of white rice mixed with yogurt called ‘tairu’ in Tamil. They spent the whole day working, without any form of entertainment. They were allowed to sleep for less than three hours daily. Due to lack of rest and nutrients, some of the workers worked rather clumsily, and every time they made a mistake, they will be scolded by their leaders. The land of Agra soon became the home of a lot of hardship and suffering. As I am Taj Mahal, I witnessed all of this. The land of Agra where I was being built became host of a lot of tears, not only the tears of the ill-treated workers, but also the tears of Emperor Shah Jahan who was inconsolable after the death of his wife.
The construction of the Taj was really a long process. I began to ponder if I will ever be completed. As it is, it was already nine years. Honestly, I was becoming an unwilling witness to all the suffering and hardship around me. As time passed, the workers became more exhausted. Some even fell ill. Those who still survived were really waiting to complete the Taj so that Emperor Shah Jahan will release them from all the hard work. However, the workers were still far from their release. They still had a lot more work to do.
The architectural concept used to design me was something uncommon. In fact, I doubt there’s anything like it at all. The main concept used in the designing is the Mughal architecture. The Mughal architecture is superbly used to create the interlocking arabesque concept. The interlocking concept integrates with the main structure where it uses the principles of self-replicating geometry as well as a symmetry of architectural elements. However, Emperor Shah Jahan did not seem very happy. Every time he looks at me, he will frown.
Finally, after twenty-two years of hard work, the construction of the Taj Mahal was completed. The construction cost 32 Million Rupees. Although I was disappointed that so much of the public’s money was used up to construct me, I could not deny the fact that I stood as the most elegantly built building in Agra, India. I was so beautiful that even the Emperor was finally satisfied. Finally, I saw a smile on Emperor Shah Jahan’s face, though, it was a sad smile. The Emperor’s satisfaction caused all the workers to applaud, not only in satisfaction of their work, but also for the release from it, something they have long awaited.
Today, I still stand as one of the most beautiful wonders of the world. No development and technology can ever compete against the delicate designing of the Moghul architecture. Nevertheless, I have to say that the world around me is undergoing a lot of changes. I have now become a tourist attraction. Daily, I become the object of awe for my audience.
Everyday, I have to face the lively surroundings around me. I have to put up with the drastic change the world around me is undergoing. However, I remain true to my duty. I was built in the memory of Queen Mumtaz Mahal, I host the chamber where both she and Emperor Shah Jahan rests, thus I shall maintain the peace and quite within this particular chamber. No matter what happens on the outside, I shall ensure that in the inside, you rest peacefully, my dear king and queen.