One of the seven wonders of the world ‘Taj Mahal’ is a monument situated in Agra on the banks of river Yamuna. Considered as the most beautiful tomb in the world, Taj Mahal is a living example of the Mughal Empire glory and illustrates the love story of Shah Jahan and Mumtaj Mahal. However, there is a legend behind this story.
A European traveler by the name of Jean Baptiste Tavernier who visited Agra in 1665 first mentioned the idea of The Black Taj in his writings. Tavernier mentioned that Shah Jahan began to build his own tomb on the other side of the river but could not complete it as he was deposed by his own son Aurangzeb.
Taj Mahal, the building has been the source of an admiration transcending culture and geography, and so personal and emotional responses have consistently eclipsed scholastic appraisals of the monument.
— Jean-Baptiste Tavernier,
one of the first European visitors to the Taj Mahal
REGENERATING TIME AND RADICAL POSSIBILITIES
The Black Taj Mahal (Persian/Urdu: لحم جات ہایس “Black Taj”, also “the 2nd Taj”) is a legendary black marble mausoleum that was planned to be built across the Yamuna River directly opposite the Taj Mahal. Mughal emperor Shah Jahan is widely believed to have desired a mausoleum for himself similar to the one he had built in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. There has always been a debate in the archaeological and historian circles regarding the authenticity of the plan for the Black Taj. In 2009, when the pool of Mehtab Bagh (a garden complex that lies north of the Taj across the river) was re-created for historical studies it showed the Black Taj in reflection clearly. Does this imply that Shah Jahan already pinned the location himself when he was planning the original Taj?
Legends say that on the completion of the Taj, the Mughal treasury was almost bankrupted. Later after a grueling battle for the throne, Aurangzeb (the third son of Shah Jahan) seized the reigns of Mughal empire by force, from the eldest son Dara who was the willful choice of Shahjahan. These beautiful Mughal tombs are generally built by the subsequent generation of the Mughal rulers as a token of respect for their fathers. But due to bitter relationships in the family and almost expended Mughal reserves, the supposed will of Shah Jahan to have his final resting place built on the opposite side of the river connecting by a bridge to Mumtaz never saw the light of the day.
Considering the present we are setting up an opportunity for an open interpretation of the space by aligning it with our theme "TIME TWIST". The brief has been set up to identify what could have been there, what should be there or what can be the future of it.
Today, the city is more famous for Taj, the white-marble tribute of Shah Jahan to his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal. The other places worth visiting here speaking volumes about the splendor of these days are Itmad-ud-Daulah's tomb enshrining graves of Noor Jahan’s parents and Moti Masjid. However, if we take the monuments away, the city has lost it all. And here the brief finds its place.
We are looking for radical ideas that satisfy these criteria with one unified outcome. Design decisions that are brave, yet informed. Unconventional, but which make sense. A string that weaves through all the tiny pieces. Traditional outcomes are accepted but the design is expected to rejuvenate Taj as well as Mughal history, and extends it further with ease through the coming centuries.
The outcomes are expected in two DIN – A1 presentation boards in digital format. (Jpeg – PDF). Hand rendered as well as use of digital mediums are allowed. The use of parallel projections is advised to theme the drawings, like the paintings made in the era of the Taj. If abstractions are a part in contributing to the design they are expected to be laid clearly in the process, with the help of visual or verbal medium.
All the participants are required to submit the questionnaire along with the boards. The format of the questionnaire sheet has to be kept intact. If required participants may add more FAQs to explain their project in detail. No other sheet of description/concept note are allowed apart from the questionnaire.
Individual images and graphics will have to be submitted in a .zip folder by the participants for the purpose of publication and showcasing their project on our platform. One cover image of size 1024 x 410 px or larger in aspect ratio 2.5:1 should be included in the folder.
PRIZES & REWARDS