An iconic monument of India, mausoleum of staggering beauty, construction defying the laws of nature, the Taj Mahal is so well known that it is the subject of several legends that have appeared over the years. It must be said that in four centuries it is not surprising that the local population, as well as visitors to the site, invented stories that were transported, improved, modified throughout history. They have reached us in the state and Internet, fantastic medium of diffusion, makes it possible to diffuse even more quickly these legends which seem from now on more and more true. But it is really only legends.
Moreover, it is well known, the legends are based on true stories. (But not only.)
The legend of the black Taj Mahal
The mausoleum of the Taj Mahal is a monument of dazzling whiteness. What's more tempting than imagining a second Taj Mahal, black this one, that would counterbalance the symbol of love that constitutes the monument? This Taj Mahal would have been built on the other side of the Yamuna River, it would have the same shape, the same layout as the one we know and a bridge would have connected the two monuments.
The legend of the black Taj Mahal is well known, it is probably the most vivid of all. It must be said that it is based on a fact easily opposable. As the Taj Mahal was built as the tomb of the Emperor's wife, one can imagine that the Emperor himself had planned his last home, and the choice of black could naturally have been made to distinguish himself from his wife: To her the whiteness of purity, to him the dark black of mourning. To her the symbol of eternal love, to him the symbol of pain.
Once this is said, we can get closer to the historians who bring the facts as they are. In fact the black Taj Mahal never existed, and that for two reasons. On the one hand the finances of the empire would not have borne such an expense, the first monument having melted the treasure. On the other hand the north bank of the Yamuna was occupied by a garden on which archaeological excavations have put forward modest constructions having nothing to do with the historical presence of a black Taj. The Mehtab Bagh, named after this garden, is in the perfect perspective of the Taj Mahal and it is an element that accentuated this legend, the symmetry was too perfect not to believe in the presence of a 2nd Taj Mahal here. But no, historians are formal, and anyone visiting today can attest to it: There has never been a black Taj Mahal in India, nor anywhere else.
Learn more about the black Taj Mahal.
Another legend is stubborn, when we talk about the Taj Mahal. Above all, it must be known that the site of construction of the monument occupied 20,000 workers, foremen, contractors, craftsmen, etc. for 22 years. Once completed, it is said that the emperor cut off the hands of all participants in this project. The idea was to make sure no other person could reproduce a splendor equivalent to this mausoleum. Without their hands, the craftsmen could not work on such other monumental works, at the risk of equaling or even exceeding the beauty of his wife's tomb.
Of course it's a pure legend that has clearly never existed. We would have heard about this massacre, generation after generation, and the emperor would not have survived such an act of cruelty. Not to mention that the craftsmen were not all from the Agra region, far from it (in fact, there were very few, and it was almost only for works without added value, simple maneuvers The real artisans, those who gave beauty to the Taj Mahal, were from various regions, sometimes very far away, and it would not have been conceivable to find them all to cut off their hands. Some, those who made the Pietra dura, came from Florence, Italy!
The poison detector
Another legend that revolves around the Taj Mahal, that of dishes with the ability to detect poisoned foods. It is a tableware exclusively intended for the imperial family of course, and which was in use at the time of the great Mughals.
These dishes were bowls, dishes, and various other celadon elements that had, if we believe the legend, the ability to change color on contact with poisoned food. It is a legend little known and not directly related to the Taj Mahal, although it concerns the Mughal emperors. And then, it is still a little bit about this monument to the extent that these dishes are actually visible nowadays, they really exist: They are in the museum of Taj Mahal, which is in the enclosure, at the end of the canal heading to the west. This museum presents a gallery dedicated to calligraphic art and daily jade and porcelain objects.
In our rational age, it is still more difficult to believe in the truth of this legend than in that of the Black Taj, for example.
Learn more about the Taj Mahal Museum.
The marble mausoleum
This is more architecture than legend, but it can be put in this part because it is known that the mausoleum of Taj Mahal, the most famous building in India, is marble.
In fact it is false, completely wrong: It is brick, quite ordinary!
It is a legend to say that it is marble. It is just covered by large plates, often carved, but these are just blankets on a quite ordinary structure of bricks. The fact that the mausoleum is solid marble is a legend.
Learn more about building the Taj Mahal.