No. 25 – The Taj Mahal, India

Taj Mahal - Illustration by Jonathan Chapman

The Taj Mahal (meaning “Crown of the Palace”) is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The tomb is the centrepiece of a 42-acre complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall.

The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”. It is regarded by many as the best example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India’s rich history. The Taj Mahal attracts 7–8 million visitors a year.

This is my illustration of the Taj Mahal from the main entrance. Painted with acrylic and ink, 39 x 29 cm on paper. You can see the marble domes and decorative spires against a pastel sky. The exterior decorations are among the finest in Mughal architecture, including calligraphy, abstract forms and passages from the Qur’an.

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Next up: No.26 – Railay Beach, Thailand.