Taj Mahal Calligraphy

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The Taj Mahal showcases some of the most beautiful and intricate calligraphy that exists in the History of the monuments of the world. The architecture of Taj Mahal shows that the calligraphy had been given special importance by the designer. There are various speculations as to who was the designer and architect of Taj Mahal but the calligrapher had inscribed his name in the monument at the end of the Quranic verses.

The base of the inner dome of the Taj Mahal bears the name of the calligrapher as “written by the insignificant being, Amanat khan Shirazi”. The calligrapher was given this privilege because at that time people who used to write holy verses were revered very much. The style of calligraphy used in Taj Mahal is Tuluth which was a script invented in Persia. Tuluth as a writing style was derived from kufic, whose angular style of writing was replaced by curved and oblique lines in Tuluth. The texts which are inscribed in the monument of the Taj Mahal are lines and verses taken from the Quran.

The Surahs which have been quoted are Ya Sin – Surah 36, the Crowds – Surah 39, Victory – Surah 48, Dominion – Surah 67, Those Sent-forth – Surah 77, The Folding Up – Surah 81, the Cleaving Asunder – Surah 82, The Rending Asunder – Surah 84 and The Sun – Surah 91 etc. The calligraphy is done in stone which makes it even more difficult and a time taking endeavor. Records say that Amanat Khan was also involved in the selection of the verses to be inscribed on the Taj. The Surahs that are inscribed on the monument have an underlying theme which is commonly present in all the Surahs. The locations of the Surahs follow the pattern of Shahjahani architecture. The inscription on the main gateway (Darwaza-e-Rauza) invites the reader to enter paradise. The verses that are inlaid on Taj Mahal, inside the main complex are long passages which describe Paradise, while the outer parts describe the impending doom and penalties to the sinner of this world. On the actual tomb of Mumtaz Mahal in the heart of the burial chamber, the ninety nine names of Allah had been found inscribed on the sides. The crypt of Mumtaz Mahal’s tomb reads “O Noble, O Magnificent, O Unique, O Eternal, O Glorious…” and the tomb of Shah Jahan is adorned with the following line “He travelled from this world to the banquet hall of eternity on the night of twenty sixth month of Rajjab, in the year 1076 Hijri”. The inscriptions on the grave of Mumtaz Mahal call upon god to keep His devout Mumtaz Mahal under His mercy.

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