Magic in Marble: Building the Taj with Attaullah and Saving the Taj with Aradya by Arthy Muthanna Singh & Mamta Nainy is one-of-its kind book to learn about the rich heritage of India’s most extraordinary monument—Taj Mahal. It offers interesting nuggets about the Taj Mahal to develop an appreciation of it.
Through Attaullah’s and Aradya’s explorative journeys, young readers will become inquisitive about the history of this magnificent monument and the pride of India. Moreover, this book is an inspiring call to action, motivating readers to take an eco-conscious approach, plant trees, and participate actively in maintaining the heritage of their country.
With its vibrant illustrations and engaging format of flipped stories and ulta-pulta covers, this book offers a journey through history and culture—a window into both the past and the future.
Here’s an extract from the book:
‘Jahan Panah has invited the fi nest of sculptors from Bukhara, calligraphers from Syria, stone-cutters from Baluchistan and inlayers from southern India—esteemed ustads all—to work on his dream project,’ Abbu told Attaullah. ‘And I, as the chief architect of the royal project, have to make sure they deliver to the best of their capabilities.’
‘Hmmm . . .’ said Attaullah. ‘What do you think I should do?’ he asked Abbu, tugging at his long kurta.
‘You?’ said Abbu. ‘For now, just observe and absorb as much as you can. I will tell you what you can do when the right time comes.’
Abbu then gathered all the ustads together and said, ‘As you all know, we are here to make Jahan Panah’s dream of creating the greatest building ever, a breathing reality. It is to be the most perfect building in all creation, by the grace of Allah. Let us strive to make every inch of this structure as perfect as Padshah Begum, in whose memory we are all working.’
‘AAMEEN!’ everybody chorused as Attaullah’s abbu laid down the foundation stone of the structure.
‘May Allah bless this grand vision!’ they chanted, raising their hands towards the heavens.
As a conservationist, Papa was part of a team that was trying very hard to make sure the Taj Mahal’s beauty and glory survived. Papa had told her during the car journey that this was the most exciting project that he had ever worked on.
‘The Taj Mahal is in a bit of trouble, Ara,’ he had said.
‘Trouble?’ Aradya asked. ‘What sort of trouble? Has the Taj Mahal been damaged? Tell me, Papa!’
‘Arre, Ara!’ her papa had smiled, squeezing her hand. ‘Relax!
Pollution, corrosion and the usual modern-day problems that happen in any busy, crowded city are causing the trouble. But there are many experts working on this problem. If I can do even a small bit to make sure that Shah Jahan’s tribute to his wife remains as beautiful as when it was first built, I will be grateful.’
Magic in Marble is a simple and informative read recommended to travellers, architecture enthusiasts, history buffs, and young changemakers.
Text excerpted with permission from Penguin Random House India. Illustration copyright Mihir Joglekar and Aniruddha Mukherjee
Kavya Wahi is a marketing professional at Penguin Random House India. When she’s not reading, she can be found painting under a tree in some cozy nook of Delhi.