Praise for My Books

"Manreet Sodhi Someshwar is a gifted writer of great promise. I have a gut feeling we have a new star rising in Punjab's literary horizon. She has an excellent command of English and a sly sense of humour."
- Khushwant Singh on The Long Walk Home

"An enjoyable tale of a sassy girl's headlong race up the corporate ladder."
- India Today on Earning the Laundry Stripes

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Sang-i-surkh Embracing Sang-i-marmar: Is There a Symbolism to the Taj Colour Scheme?


Close your eyes and think of the Taj Mahal. Quick - what did you see? White marble? White dome, white minarets... 

And yet, the Taj Mahal is a composition in white and red, the sandstone playing off the marble, the earthy tethering the ethereal, sang-i-surkh embracing sang-i-marmar, the mausoleum in luminous white marble, the flanking buildings  in red sandstone.

Is there a symbolism to this colour scheme? You bet!

This colour dualism is a feature of imperial Mughal architecture, which derived from a practice adopted by the Delhi sultans who, in turn, had borrowed from an ancient Indian concept laid down in the shastras. The Vishnudharmottara Purana recommended white stone for buildings built for Brahmins and red ones for the ksjatriyas. White: priestly; Red: warrior. 

“By using white and red in their buildings the Mughals identified themselves with the two highest levels of the Indian social system. Until Aurangzeb, the emperors were concerned to define themselves as rulers in Hindu terms as well.” - Ebba Koch

Next time you visit Taj, feast on the Darwaza-i-Rauza, meander through the Mihman Khana, stroll through the garden pavilions - soak in the entire Taj Mahal, not just the white mausoleum. Time you ‘discovered’ the building which has become a byword for beauty!

Photo by Steve McCurry

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