Travel through the sands of time on this exclusive cruise with world renowned Egyptologist, Dr. Hawas.
India's iconic national landmark, the Taj Mahal, impresses millions of visitors every year. According to The History Channel, around 3 million people travel to see the Taj Mahal annually. Up to 45,000 visitors can show up in a single day during peak travel seasons, yet few people know much about this incredible structure, and the legends that surround it.
Perfectly symmetrical with one exception
All four sides of the Taj Mahal are completely identical. In fact, the exterior and interior of the structure are completely symmetrical, according to National Geographic. Every spire, wall and window has a mirrored equivalent opposite to it. That is, except for the tomb of Shah Jahan, the emperor who requested the construction of the Taj Mahal. Jahan was buried next to his late wife Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal was originally constructed for her. The tomb was built long after the Taj Mahal was finished and is the only structure that breaks the symmetry of the building. Some believe this may be a sign that Emperor Shah Jahan may have had other plans for his burial.
The black Taj Mahal
According to legend, the emperor may have been planning to construct another Taj Mahal on the opposite side of the Yamuna River. This Taj Mahal would have been absolutely identical to the first, according to the legend, except it would be constructed out of black marble instead of white, according to Tajmahal.org. The black Taj Mahal would have held Jahan's body after he passed away. According to some scholars, the emperor never had time to construct his own resting place, as he was deposed by his son Aurangzeb. Some archeologists agree the emperor's obsession with symmetry would have inspired him to mirror the Taj Mahal on the opposite river bank.
Others doubt this was the case because the emperor did not begin construction of the black Taj Mahal after the first was built. Building the first Taj Mahal took over 20 years, according to the The History Channel, meaning Jahan would have had to begin construction immediately. There is still heated debate about the truth behind the black Taj Mahal. Scholars may never uncover the mystery behind the legend for sure.
For more curious legends and stunning architecture, travelers may want to visit the Great Pyramid of Giza. This enormous ancient Egyptian structure has a rich history and some of the myths around the timeworn construction are just as mystic as the black Taj Mahal.
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Stimulate your senses with this magical private guided tour of Delhi, Jaipur, Agra & Varanasi. Featuring your own private guide & driver, and a tantalizing array of exotic cuisine, timeless temples, and colourful markets. Book before December 1st 2014 for travel before March 31st 2015 and save $1500 per couple!
(Jerusalem, Tel Aviv)
Premium tour with five star luxury. Explore Jerusalem's Old City, New City, Dead Sea and Masada, Nazareth, Tel Aviv, Haifa and the coastline with your own private vehicle driver and guide.
(Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Mumbai)
India through the eyes of a King. Explore the diversity of this exotic land on a special Kensington Exclusive through Rajasthan. Stay in opulent 5* Oberoi properties and indulge in complimentary spa treatments, private starlit dinners, antique boat rides and room upgrades at every turn.
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