Updated May 18th, 2024 at 08:38 IST

Beyond The Taj Mahal: Agra's Soami Bagh Attracts Visitors With Spiritual Beauty And Modern Marvels

A new white marble mausoleum in Agra, rivalling the Taj Mahal, attracts spiritually inclined tourists with its architectural grandeur.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Agra's Soami Bagh Attracts Visitors With Spiritual Beauty | Image:agratourism.in
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Agra, India - A newly completed white marble structure in Agra is drawing hordes of spiritually inclined tourists, inviting comparisons to the iconic Taj Mahal. The mausoleum, dedicated to the founder of the Radhasoami sect in Soami Bagh, is located about 12 kilometres from the Taj Mahal and has become a popular attraction for visitors exploring Agra's rich architectural heritage.

The grand structure, resting on a foundation of 52 wells and towering at 193 feet, is built entirely of white marble from Makrana in Rajasthan. This ambitious project took 104 years to complete, spanning over a century in an open society, in contrast to the Taj Mahal, which was built in 22 years during the 17th century under Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan.

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Pramod Kumar, a devoted follower of the Radhasoami faith, remarked that The construction of the mausoleum was a testament to the unwavering faith, fervour, and dedication of its creators, who were driven by their religious beliefs. The mausoleum, located in Agra's Dayalbagh area, is dedicated to Param Purush Pooran Dhani Swamiji Maharaj, the founder of the Radhasoami faith.
 

Visitors are awestruck by the exquisite craftsmanship on display, with many considering it a worthy rival to the Taj Mahal. The mausoleum features a blend of various architectural styles, although it conforms to no particular style, modern or traditional. The project, despite facing numerous challenges, including difficulties in procuring high-quality marble and labour shortages, has been completed with the help of modern machinery and state-of-the-art technology.

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An official connected with the project noted, "Now of course we have huge grinders, cutters, finishers, lorries, lifters, and all kinds of machines and computer technology, all of which were employed to advantage here, and the results show."

The original samadh, a simple white sandstone structure, was replaced by the current design in 1904, conceptualized by an architect from Allahabad. Construction was delayed for a few years but resumed in 1922. Since then, generations of artisans have toiled away, many spending their entire lives on the site, driven by intense devotion.

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One of the mausoleum's most striking features is its 31.4-foot gold-plated pinnacle, which surpasses that of the Taj Mahal. It was mounted with the help of a crane specially called from Delhi for the task. The marble used in the construction was sourced from quarries in Makrana, Jodhpur, Mount Abu, and Udaipur, while the variegated mosaic stone came from Nowshera in Pakistan. Semi-precious stones for inlay work were procured from riverbeds in central and southern India.

Despite the comparisons, the sponsors of Soami Bagh deny any intentions of rivaling the Taj Mahal. They consider the mausoleum a form of worship and devotion. An official stated, "It is a form of worship that has been going on and will go on relentlessly."

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Each day, busloads of tourists visit the mausoleum, expressing their admiration and awe. While photography is not permitted, entrance to the mausoleum is free, allowing visitors to fully appreciate the serene and spiritual atmosphere. The mausoleum stands amidst a colony of Radha Soami followers, with the faith having millions of adherents in states like Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Karnataka, as well as in foreign countries.

As the spiritually inclined turn to Soami Bagh for solace and soul healing, the mausoleum adds to Agra's architectural splendour, offering a new destination for tourists. While the Taj Mahal continues to captivate visitors with its romance and grandeur, the Soami Bagh mausoleum stands as a testament to faith, devotion, and architectural brilliance.

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Published May 18th, 2024 at 08:38 IST