It is on the centre of a rectangular red sandstone
platform that the tomb structure stands along the river Yamuna.
Chameli-farsh as the platform is generally called, measures 970'-7"
(East-West) by 364' 10" (North-South) and is 4' high from the
garden level. There is a beautiful mosque on its west and a matching
structure on the east. These structures are in red sandstone with a
liberal use of white marble for emphasis and contrast. The tapering
minarets are three storeyed and measure 132' in height, each separated
by a balcony supported on a series of brackets which has a rhythmic play
of light and shadow and provide this black and white marble minaret with
grace which matches the arms of a beautiful lady.
The detached minarets at each corner of the plinth of the Taj trace
their evolution probably from the Lodhi Tomb at Agra itself. The tomb of
Sher Shah is another example of detached kiosks on all the four angles
of the main plinth, with the tomb structure occupying its centre. It is
for the first time that four full fledged minarets appear on its main
gateway. Each minaret is circular and tapers as it rises. These minarets
rise gracefully high into sky seemingly carrying the whole body of the
gateway with them. Fully developed Minarets mark an important stage in
Mughal architecture. The most remarkable feature of these minarets is
their harmony with the tomb.
Though the white marble main tomb is basically a square of 187' side,
it assumes an octagonal form due to the chamfer at the angles. Some
architects believe that the inspiration for this plan could have
originally been derived from that of the Hemkuta temple. Each fascia of
the tomb is composed of a grand iwan (portal) in its centre, occupying
almost the whole height up to the ramparts which rises well over it to
give distinction to the iwan. It is flanked on both sides by double
alcoves one above the other. Each section of the façade is well
demarcated on both sides of the iwan by very small turrets which rise
above the ramparts and are crowned by beautiful pinnacles with
lotus-buds and finials.