Taj Mahal: A Tour from the Top

A new perspective on an Indian icon

By Google Arts & Culture

The Taj Mahal is one of the great artistic treasures of the world, an instantly-recognisable emblem of India itself. It’s a mausoleum, or tomb, commissioned in 1632 by Emperor Shah Jahan, one of the greatest Mugal Emperors, to house the body of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Here, you can take in the famous architecture and surroundings in Street View. But what does it look like from up high?

Taj Mahal

From the top of this minaret, we have a good view across the entire river plain, and of the Taj Mahal itself. The building is perfectly symmetrical, with four minarets, four small pavilions, and one iconic central dome.

Taj Mahal - MinarArchaeological Survey of India

Up here, we can see the richly-decorated facade. Before the Taj Mahal, most grand buildings were made of sandstone, but when commissioning this, the emperor Shah Jahan preferred white marble inlaid with semi-precious stones.

Taj Mahal - MinarArchaeological Survey of India

Red sandstone can be seen being used to create a remarkable contrast in the smaller - but no less elaborate - building to the west, a mosque, completed in 1643. Inside, the tiled floor has space for precisely 569 worshippers.

Taj Mahal - MinarArchaeological Survey of India

A matching building known as the jawab (answer), is found to the east. This was built to provide a perfectly symmetrical view, but may have also been used as a private guesthouse.

Taj Mahal - MinarArchaeological Survey of India

Standing on the roof of the mosque, we have a better view of the decoration. The inlaid stone shows no expense was spared in this devoted lover's monument.

Taj Mahal - MinarArchaeological Survey of India

To the south are the gardens, laid out in a grid divided by pathways and pools. This style was very popular in the Mughal Empire, and designed to invoke thoughts of the gardens of paradise as described in the Qur'an.

Taj Mahal - MinarArchaeological Survey of India

While we're here, why not take a look around the rest of the site and discover the many more treasures of the Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal - MinarArchaeological Survey of India

Credits: All media
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