Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How was taj mahal built

Fact of the Taj Mahal – Construction Feats

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Facts of the Taj Mahal and its construction commence with the way the land was acquired for its construction to the south of the walled city of Agra. The site chosen by Shah Jahan for the resting place of his beloved wife had belonged to Maharajah Jai Singh. Shah Jahan presented him with a large palace in the centre of Agra in exchange for the site for his Taj Mahal.
An area of roughly three acres for the foundations was excavated and filled with dirt to reduce seepage from the river. The entire site was levelled to a fixed height about 50 m above the riverbank. The Taj Mahal is 180 feet tall. The dome itself measures 60 feet in diameter and 80 feet high.
In the tomb area, wells were then dug down until water was encountered. These wells were later filled with stone and rubble, forming the basis for the footings of the tomb. An additional well was built to same depth nearby to provide a visual method to track water level changes over time.
Instead of lashed bamboo, the typical scaffolding method, workmen constructed a colossal brick scaffold that mirrored the inner and outer surfaces of the tomb. The scaffold was so enormous that foremen estimated it would take years to dismantle.
According to legend, Shah Jahan decreed that anyone could keep bricks taken from the scaffold, and it was dismantled by peasants overnight.
The Taj Mahal construction facts reveal that a 15-kilometre tamped-earth ramp was built to transport marble and materials from Agra to the construction site. According to contemporary accounts teams of twenty or thirty oxen strained to pull the blocks on specially constructed wagons.
To raise the blocks into position required an elaborate post-and-beam pulley system. Teams of mules and oxen provided the lifting power. The order of construction was:
The plinth. The tomb. The four minarets. The mosque and jawab. The gateway.
The plinth and tomb took roughly 12 years to complete. The remaining parts of the complex took an additional 10 years. (Since the complex was built in stages, contemporary historical accounts list different "completion dates"; discrepancies between so-called completion dates are probably the result of differing opinions about the definition of "completion". For example, the mausoleum itself was essentially complete by 1643, but work continued on the rest of the complex.
Fact of the Taj Mahal – the Water Engineering Feat Water for the Taj Mahal was provided through a complex infrastructure. Water was drawn from the river by a series of purs, an animal-powered rope and bucket mechanism. The water flowed into a large storage tank, where, by thirteen additional purs, it was raised to large distribution tank above the Taj Mahal ground level.
From this distribution tank, water passed into three subsidiary tanks, from which it was piped to the complex. An earthenware pipe 25cm in diameter lies about 1.5 m below the surface, and in line with the main walkway. This filled the main pools of the complex. Additional copper pipes supplied the fountains in the north-south canal. Subsidiary channels were dug to irrigate the entire garden.
The fountain pipes were not connected directly to the feed pipes. Instead, a copper pot was provided under each fountain pipe: water filled the pots allowing equal pressure in each fountain – another fascinating construction fact of the Taj Mahal.


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