Described as ‘a monument of eternal love’, ‘a dream in marble’, ‘a materialized vision of loveliness’, ‘the wonder of the world’ and so on, the Taj Mahal has been a popular subject of History during the last century, and more than 200 books, monographs and poems have been written on it, in different languages. The love-story of Shah Jehan and Mumtaz Mahal has been repeated, over and over again, poetically, with a liberal dose of fanciful gossips of foreign travelers, guide-anecdotes, and romantic film-legends. Consequently, the history of the Taj Mahal has not only been romanticized, it has also been fantasized.
THE TAJ MAHAL by R Nath is a new book on the subject, which deals with its history and architecture and also with its art, archaeology and aesthetics. It gives almost complete information on such aspects as its site, land, environment, lay-out, placement, foundation, plan, design, garden, water-devices, drainage, architecture, ornamentation and inscriptions, in separate chapters, with the help of 52 drawings and 47 photographs. Chapters on ‘Constructional Modes and Techniques’, ‘Taj Polish’ and ‘Taj Mahal is sinking into the river’ deal with its archaeology and study its technical aspect, probably for the first time. Controversies have been studied side by side, and also in independent chapters as ‘Taj Mahal was offered for sale’, to which feature a novel chapter : ‘Chastity of the Taj Mahal’ has been added.