7 WONDERS THAT COULD HAVE WON THE ‘TAJ’ IF NOT THE “TAJ MAHAL”
BAYARD TAYLOR truly quoted,
‘Did you ever build a castle in the air?
Here is one, brought down to earth and fixed for the wonder of ages.’
The symbol of eternal Love, the Taj Mahal, is not only a memorial to the third wife of Shah Jahan, begum Mumtaz Mahal but a marvel of acute geometrical Architectural Design. The grandeur of a king and the royalty in the world’s most expensive tomb smiles profoundly when researchers and archaeologists wondered about the stability of the marble structure on the banks of Yamuna. With time and again, it is admired for the poetic beauty it reflects, for the aura that holds the visitor for unending hours to appreciate this one of the seven wonders of the world.
Miracles never come in pairs, nor does the privilege to stand amongst the best. When the new 7 Seven Wonders of the World were announced in 2007, 21 finalists and many other unsung architectural marvels stood erect acknowledging the beauty of the top SEVEN.
But, let’s have some food for thought. Here are 7 other beautiful structures that could be considered for the position of a world wonder, that, the ‘Taj Mahal’ has (with no offense in any means to the Taj Mahal and its perfectly deserving stature.)
1.The Pantheon, Rome, Italy
Built in 117 A.D.
Michelangelo on his first visit to this wonder said, it looks more like the work of angels, not humans. The 19 centuries old, a spectacular temple to all gods, later converted to a church, stands intact even today with its largest freestanding dome in the world. It is an example of perfect proportions and elegance of the rich Roman Empire.
2.Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey
Built in 537 A.D.
“Hagia Sophia’s dimensions are formidable for any structure not built of steel,” writes Helen Gardner and Fred Kleiner in their book “Gardner’s Art through the Ages: A Global History. This 14 centuries old building has witnessed itself as a cathedral, a mosque and now a museum. Born out of riots, it is an architectural wonder, built in the shortest span of 6 years.
3.Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Built in 12th Century
It is the largest temple complex in the world with its center rising above the city, from a 200m moat, is the finest example of Khmer architecture. It is a replica of the universe, with the Mount Meru in its center as believed in Hindu mythology. It has become a symbol for Cambodia, appearing on the national flag.
Built in 13th Century
Dating back to 889 AD, this royal palace was originally a fortress, later renovated as a palace by the Emirate of Granada. Moorish poets described it as “a pearl set in emeralds,” for its building colours and the warmth of the woods around them. Situated on a rectangular mountainous site, the theme followed “paradise on earth, keeping the exteriors plain and subtle, leaving the interior beauty a secret for the amazed visitors. It’s truly said; don’t judge a book by its cover.
5.Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Built in 1886 A.D
It is the most visited castle in Germany, a depiction of what a fairytale Castle looks like. It was also an inspiration for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle with a beautiful background of the Bavarian Alps. Built by King Ludwig II, who could actually live here for only 11 nights! It has a magnificent throne room, with no actual throne, as the King deceased before its completion.
6.La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
Construction started 1882 A.D.
Gaudi says, ‘The straight line belongs to Man. The curved line belongs to God’. He also believed that nothing man-made should ever surpass God’s creation, with no coincidence; Sagrada Familia would be 1 meter shorter than the highest point in Barcelona. He believed in Natural forms and elements. Started in 1882, it’s still under construction. Paying tribute to the people of Barcelona on the ‘Portal of Mercy’, it is also Gaudi’s final resting place.
7.Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya, India
Built in 5th-6th Century
Mahabodhi temple marks the enlightenment of Buddha. Originally built in 250BC, later buried by Muslim Turks with the decline of Buddhism. Present structure was built in 5th century, being the oldest brick building in India. It is a World heritage site of utmost importance for the Buddhists and Hindu pilgrims.