Sarcophagus inside the Taj Mahal, Agra
Photographer: Dayal, Deen
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the interior of the Taj Mahal at Agra in Uttar Pradesh from the Curzon Collection, taken by the Indian photographer Lala Deen Dayal in the 1890s. Lord Curzon served as Viceroy of India between 1899 and 1905. This photograph is from an album documenting places proposed to be visited by Lord and Lady Curzon during their viceregal tour of autumn 1902. The Taj Mahal was built between 1631 and 1643 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (r.1628-58) as a mausoleum for his beloved wife Arjumand Banu Begum, also known by the title Mumtaz Mahal. Built of white marble inlaid with precious stones, the mausoleum is square in plan and surmounted by a bulbous dome. The mausoleum stands on a plinth with a minaret at each of the four corners. It stands at the northern end of enclosed formal gardens of the Persian ‘char bagh’ form, where a square garden is divided equally into four smaller quadrants. This is a view of the central octagonal chamber showing the intricately carved pierced marble lattice screens that surround an inlaid marble cenotaph which marks the placement of Mumtaz Mahal’s body in a crypt below. After his death Shah Jahan was also interred in the Taj Mahal.