The Taj Mahal, more often meaning Crown of the Palace) is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (reigned 1628–1658), to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The tomb is the centrepiece of a 17-hectare (42-acre) complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall.
Construction of the mausoleum was essentially completed in 1643 but work continued on other phases of the project for another 10 years. The Taj Mahal complex is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653 at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees, which in 2015 would be approximately 52.8 billion rupees (US$827 million). The construction project employed some 20,000 artisans under the guidance of a board of architects led by the court architect to the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.
The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”. Described by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore as “the tear-drop on the cheek of time”,it is regarded by many as the best example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India’s rich history. The Taj Mahal attracts 7–8 million visitors a year. In 2007, it was declared a winner of the New7Wonders of the World (2000–2007) initiative.
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam better known as A. P. J. Abdul Kalam 15 October 1931 – 27 July 2015), was the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007. A career scientist turned statesman, Kalam was born and raised in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, and studied physics and aerospace engineering. He spent the next four decades as a scientist and science administrator, mainly at the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and was intimately involved in India’s civilian space programme and military missile development efforts. He thus came to be known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology. He also played a pivotal organizational, technical, and political role in India’s Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998, the first since the original nuclear test by India in 1974.
Kalam was elected as the 11th President of India in 2002 with the support of both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the then-opposition Indian National Congress. Widely referred to as the “People’s President,” he returned to his civilian life of education, writing and public service after a single term. He was a recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honor.
While delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management Shillong, Kalam collapsed and died from an apparent cardiac arrest on 27 July 2015, aged 83. Thousands including national-level dignitaries attended the funeral ceremony held in his hometown of Rameshwaram, where he was buried with full state honors.
The High Court of Kerala is the highest court in the Indian state of Kerala and in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep. It is headquartered at Kochi. Drawing its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, the High Court has the power to issue directions, orders and writs including the writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari for ensuring the enforcement of the Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Constitution to citizens or for other specified purposes. The High Court is empowered with original, appellate and revisional jurisdiction in civil as well as criminal matters, and the power to answer references to it under some statutes. The High Court has the superintendence and visitorial jurisdiction over all courts and tribunals of inferior jurisdiction covered under its territorial jurisdiction.
At present, the sanctioned Judge strength of the High Court of Kerala is 27 Permanent Judges including the Chief Justice and 12 Additional Judges. Depending on the importance and nature of the question to be adjudicated, the judges sit as Single (one judge), Division (two judges), Full (three judges) or such other benches of larger strengths.
The foundation stone for the new multi-storied building now housing the High Court of Kerala was laid on 14 March 1994 by the then Chief Justice of India, Justice M. N. Venkatachaliah. The estimated cost of construction was 10 crore Indian rupees. The construction was completed in 2005 at a cost of 85 crore Indian rupees. The completed High Court building was inaugurated by the Chief Justice of India, Justice Y. K. Sabharwal on 11 February 2006. The new High Court building is equipped with modern amenities like videoconferencing, air conditioned courtrooms, intranet, facilities for retrieval of order copies and publishing of the case status via the internet. The building is built on 5 acres (20,000 m2) of land and has a built-up area of 550,000 square feet (51,000 m2) over nine floors. The building has in it a post office, bank, medical clinic, library, canteens and such other most needed utilities and services. The High Court of Kerala has moved to its new building from the date of its inauguration, from the adjacent Ram Mohan Palace, where it had been functioning.
The tallest trees in the world are redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens), which tower above the ground in California. These trees can easily reach heights of 300 feet (91 meters).
Among the redwoods, a tree named Hyperion dwarfs them all. The tree was discovered in 2006, and is 379.7 feet (115.7 m) tall.
Shortly after it was measured and deemed the world’s tallest, a writer for the New Yorker climbed close to the top and described what it was like to stand there.
“A wind had begun to blow, and the top of Hyperion swayed back and forth,” wrote Richard Preston. “The branches here were spindly, and were encrusted with many kinds of lichen.”
Other giant redwoods include Helios, which is just a shade smaller than Hyperion, at 374.3 feet (114.1 m), as well as Icarus (371.2 feet or 113.1 m) and Daedalus (363.4 feet or 110.8 m). The exact locations of many of these giants is kept secret to prevent vandalism.
A typical redwood lives for 500 to 700 years, although some have been documented at more than 2,000 years old.
The National Park Service says the redwoods’ great height is due, in part, to the favorable climatic conditions found in California, including mild year-round temperatures and heavy annual rainfall.