INDIA: TAJ MAHAL
Everyone has heard of the Taj Mahal. It is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. What is it and why was it built?
Maahal Mumtaz and Shah Jehan were married in 1612 and over the next 18 years had 14 children. The Empress used to accompany her husband on military campaigns. In 1631, on one of these campaigns, she died in childbirth. So great was the Emperor's love for his wife, that he ordered the building of the most beautiful tomb on earth for her. He gathered together the best artisans ( 37 stonecutters for the best designs) and the finest marble. At least 50 different kinds of gems were used. It took 20,000 workers 22 years to complete.
The first buildings to be completed were the tomb proper and the 2 mosques that flank it. Then came 4 minerets and, finally, the gateway, auxiliary buildings, and massive gardens.
Following the directions given below, you will try to draw the floor plan of the Taj Mahal where the actual tomb is located. You will need a piece of graph paper, a standard ruler, and a metric ruler.
1. Draw a square 8 in. x 8 in.
2. Measure 3/4 in. from any corner on both lines. Connect the 2 dots using a diagonal line. Now erase the corner. Do the same for the other 3 corners. The outline of the floor is a square with the corners cut.
3. Find the center of each side and mark it with a dot. Measure one inch on each side of the center. Make a rectangle 2 in. X 1 in. These represent the portal or entrance on the south and 3 rectangular rooms on the other three sides.
4. 2 cm from each diagonal corner draw an octagon that is 1 cm on each side. There will be 4 of these. These were used for saying prayers from the Koran and playing soft music.
5. Find the center of the room. Draw an octagon that is 2 cm on each side. This is the central chamber. Inside this, draw a 1 cm octagon. This represents the actual tomb.
YOU NOW HAVE A FLOOR PLAN OF THE TAJ MAHAL!