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The Complete Taj Mahal

and the Riverfront Gardens of Agra

Ebba Koch

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A definitive work, the result of more than a decade of investigation on the site and in texts by the foremost authority on Mughal architecture


The Taj Mahal is the masterpiece of Mughal art and one of the most famous buildings in the world. Yet until now, there has been no full analysis of its architecture and meaning. The lost world of the Agra gardens and the greatest monument to love ever built, are recreated here through superb scholarship and evocative illustrations.

Ebba Koch has been working on the palaces and gardens of Shah Jahan for thirty years, and on the Taj Mahal itself – the tomb of the emperor’s wife, Mumtaz Mahal – for a decade. Here, in hundreds of new photographs and drawings, she provides the first detailed documentation ever published on every building in the vast complex.

She leads the reader on a walk that illuminates not only the white marble mausoleum but the mosque and guesthouse that flank it, through the entire complex of the Taj Mahal, with an explanation of each building, revealing not only the mausoleum but the mosque and guest house that flank it, the garden, the great gate, the forecourt, the quarters of the tomb attendants and the now almost completely lost bazaar and caravanserai complex.

She gives special attention to the floral ornamentation – both the famous pietre dure inlay in white marble and the rich relief carving in marble and red sandstone. Reconstructions allow us to see the monument in the context of Shah Jahan’s Agra, and the author explains its design and construction, its symbolic meaning and its history up to the present day.

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'Fittingly sumptuous … the culmination of the author’s life work'
The World of Interiors

'Looking at the book is the next best thing to going to the place'
Architectural Review

'Marks a major advance in our understanding of one of the world’s greatest monuments … a serious, academic work that does not neglect the importance of good illustrations'
Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

'Ebba Koch has captured this building in a way that makes you look at it with fresh eyes'
Outdoor Photography

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 28.5 x 22.8 cm

Extent: 288 pp

Illustrations: 378

Publication date: 19 December 2011

ISBN: 9780500289846

Contents List

Introduction: The Mughal Dynasty, Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal • I. Mughal Agra, a Riverfront Garden City • II. The Construction of the Taj Mahal • III. More Than a Tomb: the Parts of the Taj Mahal • IV. The Paradisiacal House of the Queen • V. Everybody’s Taj Mahal

About the Author

Ebba Koch has spent much of her professional life studying the architecture, art and culture of the Mughal Empire, and is considered a leading authority on Mughal architecture. In 2001 she became the architectural advisor to the Taj Mahal Conservation Collaborative.

List of Contributors

Richard A. Barraud