The Taj Mahal - Museum
The Taj museum was established in the year 1982 within the complex of the monument and on the ground floor of the Jal Mahal. The Museum consists of 3 galleries and exhibits materials and artifacts related to the Taj, the Mughal Empeire and to that particular period of history. It has two stories and in the main hall one can see paintings of the Emperor Shah Jahan and his empress Mumtaz Mahal done in ivory and set in decorated wooden frames.
The first gallery of the museum displays plans and drawings of different construction stages of the Taj Mahal, the most interesting of which is the site plan. It is interesting to note the precision with which the architect of the monument planned out all the details and was even able to predict the exact time - 22 years - that its completion would take. Important farmans sent by Shah Jahan to different kings like Raja Jai Singh of Jaipur, to ensure the supply of material like marble required for building the Taj Mhal can also be seen here.
In the second gallery one can find many objects that are made of porcelain, jade and such materials. One of the most popular displays here is a map of the world marking the different places from where stones were imported for doing the inlay work used in the Taj Mahal. It also has specimens of the stones - precious as well as semi-precious - mentioned. Different arms used in war are also displayed here.
The third gallery confines itself to official documents, important farmans, royal notices, documents, and waslis, that are examples of the calligraphy of the period that was very famous. This gallery also includes two paintings of the Taj Mahal made by the British artist Daniel in the year 1795 AD. Many of the royal farmans and official documents have immense historical value. Some of them in particular are very interesting, such as the one issued during the reign of Shah Alam II by General Perron that records the details of fruit auction from the gardens of Tajganj, or the one by Shah Jahan registering a grant of land to Shaikh Hatim in many villages and confirming the hereditary nature of the grant of land. One can also see paintings from the famous Persian epic Shahnama of Firdausi displayed here.
A total of 121 displays are available in the Taj Museum. These range from specimens of inlay work, miniature paintings, marble pillars, farmans, calligraphic specimens, plans relating to the Taj, pieces of objects like utensils, arms and weapons, manuscript, coin, etc.
The Taj Museum is open from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm all days of the week except Fridays. There is an entrance fee for all adults above the age of 15 years.
Visiting this museum is highly recommended to all those who would like to have an insight into the building of the Taj Mahal and even to those who are interested in the overall socio-political environment of the times.