Lord Curzon's gift to Taj Mahal, Agra - Bronze lamp: Why does it attract lots of visitors?

Since 1906, the huge copper and bronze chandelier gifted by Lord Curzon  had been  hanging at the royal gate of the Taj Mahal for almost a century and  the lamp has illuminated the mausoleum of the imperial lovers  Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan as they lie side by side in eternal sleep. Of course, there had been a big break when, unfortunately,  it fell on the ground on 19th August 2015.

Bronze lamp gifted by lord Curzon, The Taj, Agra. scroll.in

The accident could be due to carelessness on the part of the officials  of the ASI as  they failed to check periodically  the safety of the historical gift and the chains . The chandelier was damaged and after its repair, it was put back  in its original place inside the royal gate of Taj Mahal. But, this time steel chains were used to fasten it for extra safety. 

What is unique about this brass lamp and why  does it get much importance?  The copper and bronze lamp at the Royal Gate entrance of the Tal Mahal never fails to get the attention of the visitors who are wonderstruck by its workmanship. It is described as a chandelier and  weighs 60 kg and is six feet high and four feet wide,. The famous English writer Aldous Huxley  had a fascination for this lamp that lights up the interior of the inner chamber of the Taj. The one gifted by lord Curzon was itself a replacement and the original brass lamp   was vandalized during the struggle between the British and Indian soldiers. Being honest and dignified, Curzon took upon himself the task of replacing the beautiful brass lamp with a similar one worthy of the Taj. He bore all the expenses. No public subscription. Built  in 1653  CE by Shah Jahan, the Mogul ruler in honor of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, it took  20,000 workers  and 22 years to complete the Taj  on the banks of the Yamuna river in Agra. . .

Brass lamp gifted by Lord Curzon, The Tajmahal, Agra.organikos.net

Lord Curzon (11 January 1859 – 20 March 1925) who served as Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905. had offered  two chandeliers to Taj Mahal as his personal gifts. . One was in the central octagonal chamber enshrining the cenotaphs exactly over them in the main mausoleum. The second one was at the Central hall of the Southern gate. An interesting fact is   Mayo School of Art in Lahore designed and built it and it was installed  on 18th February 1906.

copper and bronze chandelier twitter.com

Curzon, never failed to evince keen interest in old monuments and works of art.  He loved the Taj very much and would visit it whenever  he got a chance. He had commissioned the larger lamp in the interior  chamber after checking all the details he had in his mind. The design was based on the model in a Cairo mosque.  He had the brass lamp made in Egypt after looking at various deigns   in accordance with his requirement and other details on his personal visit to Cairo  so that it could be hung in the interior chamber. .At last he got the bronze lamp made  artistically inlaid with silver and gold  with an inscription in Persian: It took two years for the artisans to finish the work.  Curzon, quite satisfied with the lamp and the details had a plan to present it  the tomb of  Mumtaz Mahal at  function. He  was very particular about the inscription being in Persian and his intention was that  it should  be in perfect  harmony with the great tomb it was intended to illuminate.

The installation ceremony was  held on the evening of February 16,1908 and it was witnessed by a huge  gathering of over 10,000 people including countless dignitaries. As the last rays of the setting sun lingered on for the last moments on the minaret, the muezzin gave the call for prayer. "As it (the lamp) hangs above the graves of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jehan, it revives in spirit, if not in precise details, a ceremony performed in the old days, of lighting up the tomb once a year at the anniversary festival held in the Emperor’s honour...," said in Urdu the President of the Anjuman-e-Islamia.

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) sources  came up with the explanation that the bras lamp fell down because of wear and tear . No efforts were made to  reinstall the lamp as early as possible.  Lots of people especially  lovers used to visit the Taj that was open all night for the annual moonlight fair during Sharad Purnima to experience the interior ambiance  under the lamp and comparing the light from the lamp with that of moonlight falling on the marble monument. The view was just breath-taking according to  visitors. The priests from the near-by churches were all in praise of the magic lamp and its mesmerizing radiance and wanted to have Taj-like lamp in their church.  



https://www.thetajtours.com/lord-curzons-chandelier-reinstalled-inside-taj-mahal/ dec. 2020