The Taj Mahal is a white Marble Mausoleum which is found in Agra district in Utah Pradesh, India. Its construction started in 1632 AD and completed in 1648 AD during the Mughal dynasty. Additional structures namely the Mosque, guest house, main gateway on the south, courtyard and its cloisters were later added and completed in 1653 AD.
Taj Mahal takes up a style combining the elements from Persian, Islamic and Ottoman Turkish as well as Indian Architectural styles. The Mughal building (Progenitor of the Mughal dynasty) and Timurid (the tomb of Timur) buildings’ set precedence for the construction of Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is unique in its innovations outlined by its perfect symmetrical planning where the Tomb is placed at one end of the quadripartite garden instead of being at the centre. The tomb is raised on a square platform with the four sides of the octagonal base of the minarets extended beyond the square at the corners.It has a marble dome that surmounts the Tomb and takes an onion shape. The top of the dome is decorated with a lotus design. Four other smaller domes (chattris) are placed at the corners that emphasize and replicate the main dome. Gilded finial tops the dome and chattris and it’s made of gilded bronze that integrates the traditional Persian and Hindu decorative elements. The mosque and guest house are built of red sandstone in contrast to the dome at the centre. The aesthetic beauty is increased by the use of rhythmic combination of solids and voids as well as convex and light shadow as arches and domes.
Shir Dar Madrasa
Shir Dar Madrasa was built in the 17th century and is located in Registan square, Samarkand, Uzbekistan. It was built during the Bukhara Ashtrakhanid dynasty under the patronage of Shaybanid feudal general, Alchin Yalantush Bahadur. It was built to serve as a teaching institution and residential school of Islamic sciences. The structure of Shir Dar Madrasa is a continuation of the four iwan, square plan, and Iranian madrasa typology. The iwan or vaulted hall is walled on three sides, with one end open leading to a rectangular courtyard enclosed by a two-storey arcade containing classrooms. The rectangle was bounded by four minerates and four ribbed domes. Opposite the portal (iwan), is a domed mosque with each of the four sides having an arched portal covered with ceramic work.As a sign of authority by the patron, the Shir Dar draws political legitimacy from its use of a zoomorphic motif- the tympani on the entrance portal depicting lion-like tigers pursuing gazelles overlooked by human faced rising suns. The structure is well decorated using glazed tiles and paintings of polychrome vegetal themes.