INDIA CROSSING THE RIVER GANGES The real Taj Mahal consists of the mausoleum that is situated approximately 900 feet (275 m) away from the main entrance. Standing at the opposite end of the magnificent Taj gardens; it rises to a height of almost 200 feet (76m). At the lowest level of the Taj is a red sandstone platform that was built to level the land. Above that is the marble podium that serves as the base of the mausoleum. On the corners of the marble platform are four minarets that are almost 138 ft high and capped with eight windowed cupolas. As far as the view inside the Taj Mahal is concerned; it is as magnificent as its exterior. All the porticos of the tomb consist of huge iwans (a sort of arched gateways) that are adorned with exquisite calligraphy. The angles of the tomb consist of semi-octagonal arched alcoves of equal size. Attached pilasters rising from the base of the tomb demark each of the porticos; on both the sides. These pilasters rise above the fresco and are topped with beautiful pinnacles with lotus buds and finials. As we move further to get Taj Mahal inside look; we will come across an elevated central chamber; a crypt immediately below this and four octagonal corner rooms. These rooms were initially meant to house the graves of the other members of the royal family. In the central chamber is placed the cenotaph of Mumtaz Mahal and that of Shah Jahan; to the left and a little higher than hers. Both the cenotaphs are inscribed in Persian and that of Mumtaz Mahal even has texts from the Koran. Interiors of the Taj Mahal of Agra also boast of a Cairene lamp above the tombs. The flame that burns in that lamp is supposed to never burn out. The; there are perforated marble screens surrounding the tombs that are inlaid with semiprecious stones. One thing is for sure that if you visit Taj Mahal once; its memories will remain etched in your memory forever.