Historic Roofs: Taj Mahal

For almost four hundred years, the Taj Mahal has been regarded as one of the finest architectural jewels in the world and is recognizable by its beautiful onion-shaped roof on the mausoleum. The main building was built in honor of Mumtaz Mahal, the favorite and third wife of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The construction of the complex began in 1632 and ended in roughly 1653. The tomb took over a decade and thousands of people to create and an additional 10 years to build the rest of the complex; however, it has lasted the test of time and is one of many wonders of India.

Building Of The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal complex actually incorporates many buildings and the famous garden. However, the focal point has always been the mausoleum with the domed roofs and the intricate exterior and interior design. The building is square, made with the nine-fold plan in mind that was popular in Mughal mausoleums in the 16th and 17th century. The idea is to have “eight paradises’ incorporated into the building surrounding the tomb, or eight rooms or areas. There are four rooms, one in each corner, a central round chamber and an additional four areas, one at the center of each elevation, making the nine-fold plan.

The building is built on the edge of a river outside the town of Agra. It is estimated that it took 20,000 workers to build the complex. There was a team of architects that were imperially supervised on the build with the lead architect being Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. The mausoleum is constructed of many materials, including sandstone and marble.

Marble Domed Roof

The most recognizable feature, the onion-shaped dome with the four smaller surrounding domes is made of marble. The dome is inlayed with lotus design and patterns, sketched, painted and molded to create a designer masterpiece. The domed roof actually tops an octagonal chamber that is circular at the top area. The roof is a high drum, topped with the bulbous dome. The dome measures 26.5 meters high and 17.6 meters wide. The four smaller surrounding domes are all shaped in similar fashion with the bulbous or onion-shaped look of the larger dome.

On top of the dome is a gilded finial that was originally made of gold but was replaced by a bronze replica in the early 19th century. A crescent moon that has its points pointing to the sky, a common Islamic motif, adorns the top. The entire finial has a trident appearance, which also pays homage to Hindu elements.

The Taj Mahal is a beautiful example of architecture and design that is not only visually spectacular but also is made with functionality and longevity in mind. Although most roofs that are used today in homes and commercial buildings only last 20-50 years, continued upkeep and maintenance can add years on to the life of any roof. Part of that maintenance is having regular cleanings and inspections by a trusted Fort Worth roofing company. Call Old Pro Roofing today to schedule a free inspection for your roof!

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