Taj Photo # 26
Basic blueprint of the Taj Mahal that shows stairways to upper and lower floors. Also showing 8 rooms surrounding the cenotaph chamber, 4 octagonal and 4 rectangular.
Taj Photo # 27
Here you can see the upper floor above the cenotaph. Each room has a balcony.
Taj Photo # 28
The Vedic style design on the under-side of the dome over the central cenotaph chamber. Note the blazing sun surrounded by circle of Tridents, which are definite Vedic designs.
Taj Photo # 29
On the main building, cobra designs in pairs at top of wall, another typical Vedic design. Graffiti in the form of Koranic inscriptions were added by Shahjahan.
Taj Photo # 30
Typical of the four minarets on the Taj Mahal.
Taj Photo # 31
The design on the underside of a staging on the Minaret look similar to elephant faces.
Taj Photo # 32
The Baoli Burj water well, going down seven stories to water level. It has rooms at all levels, which are kept very comfortable during summer because of the water-cooled air.
Taj Photo # 33
The so-called Mosque at the western end from the Taj. Note the closed upper storey, as seen in the side windows now blocked in red bricks. Also, cobras in pairs at the top and going all around the building, similar to the other buildings around the Taj Mahal. Not a typical Islamic design.
Taj Photo # 34
The interior of the so-called Mosque at one end from the Taj with evidence it was converted later into a mausoleum. Steps were for the Mullahs to preach. But see how they break the pattern of decoration on the wall and also on the floor. This means that these steps are not original, but were put up when this building was converted into Mosque by Shahjahan. Also, when praying in this building, Muslims would face West, i.e. Bandar Abbas in Iran, NOT Mecca as is more correct.
Taj Photo # 35
Replica of the pinnacle design of the top of the main dome as found in the garden.
Taj Photo # 36
Survey plan of Taj Mahal by Col Hodgson, 1825. Note the platform on the north side running from N/W to N/E tower and steps at two places from this platform to go to the river: a sure sign of planning for residential activity, not what you would need for a vacant mausoleum.
Taj Photo # 37
An early photo of Taj from the riverside clearly showing 2 levels of hidden basements. Vincent Smith published this photo in his book "History of Fine Art in India and Ceylon", in 1911. The earliest we find such photo was in 1844 in Sleeman’s book – "Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official". And yet no historian has ever been curious to go inside these basements.
Taj Photo # 38
Photo of Taj Mahal from Yamuna riverside showing rooms with grills in the central part of the marble plinth.
Taj Photo # 39
Blue print of the Taj Mahal showing cross-section of Central Edifice in a book by J Fergusson in 1855. It clearly shows the hidden basements.
Taj Photo # 40
The blue print plan of the Taj Mahal showing stairways that go down to the 22 basement rooms. This plan of the location of 22 basement rooms was discovered in 1902. I (V. S. Godbole) was able to visit them in December 1981 by prior permission.
Taj Photo # 41
Typical view of the 2 basement floors along the Yamuna River.
Taj Photo # 42
Here you can see, not far from the plinth of the Taj, the stairway that goes down to the 22 rooms. It is surrounded by the red sandstone railing.
Taj Photo # 43
Decorations on outside of upper basement floor with a ventilation grill built in for the apartment.
Taj Photo # 44
Ventilation grill in the design of the outside of the apartments.
Taj Photo # 45
Entrance to lower basement floor that is now bricked up.
Taj Photo # 46
The timber door before it was sealed up with bricks. In 1974 American Professor Marvin Mills took a sample from this door for Carbon dating and concluded that the Taj Mahal pre-dates Shahjahan. After this revelation, the Government of India removed the timber doors and the openings were bricked up, as shown in the previous photo.
Taj Photo # 47
Close up of the steps that go down to the 22 apartments, surrounded by the red sandstone railing that we saw in photo number 42.
Taj Photo # 48
Another of the secret stairways in the Taj Mahal.
Taj Photo # 49
After we climb down the steps we see a doorway to the passage on right of the hidden rooms.
Taj Photo # 50
Typical roof in the 22 basement rooms with painted sunburst design.
Taj Photo # 51
Here is a typical tower (Burj) that is in familiar Rajput style, not Islamic in any way.
Taj Photo # 52
Stones for anchoring boats. On the North side of the Taj Mahal, there is a platform 3 ft 6 inches wide and it runs for the entire length. The platform also has embedded into it several stone rings for anchoring boats. In the photo we can see two such stones, one in the lower right front corner, the other further up the stream. This shows that the building was planned for facilitating boats for river transportation for the residents in the Taj. Again, these are not something you would need for a quiet or even vacant grave site.