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The Black Taj

The Legend of the Black Taj Unfolded

The Taj Mahal of Agra is one of finest examples of architectural brilliance from planning to execution and how to apply symmetry into action. Every inch of the Taj Mahal serves as a perfect illustration of mathematical symmetry besides the cenotaph of Emperor ShahJahan that looks like an afterthought. Its location and the way it has been designed seems like it was included much later, which completely dismantles the confined chamber’s symmetry. What makes it such is its size, which is bigger than that of Mumtaz Mahal's.

Ever wondered why ShahJahan's cenotaph was the only dissymmetrical structure in the entire Taj Mahal complex?

According to a few researchers, it was implied that ShahJahan had never intended to have his grave next his beloved wife's. He was, in fact, planning something more significant. Something that would stun the world and leave everyone in awe and speechless. Something that would have put the rest of the world's monuments fighting for the second spot. Researchers believe that this "something significant" was none other than another Taj Mahal, but not of the same colour. This one was all set to be erected using black marble instead of the regular white one.

As for the myth associated with building the Black Taj Mahal, ShahJahan's plan was to build a mirror-image of the white-marbled Taj Mahal that he had constructed for Mumtaz, but in black marble on the other side of the River Yamuna. This black Taj would act as a shadow or reflection of the white Taj Mahal, which ShahJahan has planned to build for himself. This story makes mention in the European voyager Jean Baptiste Tavernier's whimsical work, who happened to visit Agra in 1665.

Moreover, if one takes ShahJahan's fascination with symmetry into consideration, the thought of a black Taj definitely appears to be more a possibility than a myth. This myth seems to have also been validated by an observation made by archeologists back in 2006, when they recreated a certain part of the Taj Mahal's pool in a green-laden moonlit enclosure and it reflected a mirror image of the white mausoleum. Jean Baptiste Tavernier's compositions as well makes a mention that ShahJahan had begun the construction of his own resting place on the opposite side of the waterway; however, he couldn't finish it as he was imprisoned by his own son, Prince Aurangzeb.

A few other myths associated with the Black Taj states that, according to researchers, the black marble seen partially erected in Mehtab Bagh on the opposite side of the river is nothing but the ruins of the establishment of an abandoned plan. And then again, a few other researchers released the hypothesis of the Black Taj that it was not actually built of black marble but rather ended up getting darker through the centuries because of the wear and tear.

Likewise, Mehtab Bagh was Moghul Emperor Babur's work of art, years before the Taj Mahal even existed. According to the hypothesis of a few researchers, ShahJahan wanted to build a Black Taj Mahal, which he had planned on commissioning it immediately after the completion of the Taj Mahal in 1653. He had begun the construction work of the Black Taj during the next 5 years after which he was imprisoned by his son. Contrary to this belief, history students continue to argue over this explanation. The thought of a Black Taj erected before the White Taj does keep the calculations and creative energies on a high.