Amelia Carolina Sparavigna, a physics professor at the Polytechnic University of Turin in Italy discovered several alignments between the solstice Sun and the waterways, pathways and pavilions of the Taj Mahal gardens.
    
Sparavigna used high resolution Google Earth satellite imagery, combined with a programme called Sun Calc, to make the discoveries.
    
Although the alignments likely had symbolic meanings, the solstice Sun could also have served a practical purpose, helping architects build the Taj Mahal and its gardens precisely.
    
A striking alignment occurs on the north-central part of the gardens of the Taj Mahal during the summer solstice which usually occurs on June 21.
    
If a person was able to stand in the waterway where two paths meet, they would see the Sun rise above a pavilion located to the northeast.
    
If they were to stay in that position throughout the day, they would see the Sun set in alignment with a pavilion to the northwest.
    
The Taj Mahal and its minarets are located between these two pavilions, and the Sun would appear to frame them.
    
During the winter solstice, which usually occurs on December 21, the Sun would rise in alignment with a pavilion to the southeast and set in alignment with a pavilion to the southwest.
    
The summer solstice has more hours of daylight than any other day of the year, and occurs when the Sun appears at its highest point in the sky.
    
The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, and occurs when the sun appears at its lowest point in the sky.
    
The Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. It was built in the 1600s by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his third wife Mumtaz Mahal.

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