New7Wonders: Taj Mahal

 

Today’s Video Of The Day celebrates another one of the New7Wonders of the World: the Taj Mahal.

Perhaps one of the most famous buildings in the world, the Taj Mahal sits majestically on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the city of Agra, India. The stunning, ivory-white marble mausoleum spans over 42 acres, holding a tomb centerpiece, surrounded by a mosque, guest house, and sprawling gardens.

The main attraction at the Taj Mahal is no doubt the white marble tomb, which sits on a square plinth in front of an iwan, covered by a massive dome. The dome extends 115 feet high, topped with a cylindrical drum.

Midway between the tomb and the gateway is raised marble water tank containing a long reflection pool. The tank is called al Hawd al-Kawthar as a reference to the “Tank of Abundance” promised to Muhammad.

In 1632, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan commissioned the construction of the complex, intended to hold the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. While the bulk of the construction was completed in 1643, additional work on the complex continued for the next 10 years. When it was finally completed in 1653, the cost of the project was estimated to be 32 million rupees, which these days would equal about $827 million.

Today, the Taj Mahal remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. According to UNESCO, well over 7 million people visited the monument in 2014 alone.

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