The Taj Mahal which is located on the bank of River Yamuna in Agra is one of the top tourist spots in India. Being recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, this marvelous mausoleum draws numerous tourists from within the country and across the world.
Not only for its magnificent beauty but also for its history, the Taj Mahal is well-known worldwide. It is a soul filled with love, loss and sorrow. This glorious monument is an example how intensely a man loved his wife that to keep her memories evergreen, he built a remarkable building like the Taj Mahal.
The Lady of Shah Jahan’s Life
It was Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the son of Emperor Jehangir who dearly loved his wife Mumtaz Mahal built Taj Mahal in her memory. Mumtaz was a Muslim Persian princess and her name was Arjumand Banu Begum before marriage. Shah Jahan also known as the grandson of Akbar met Mumtaz at the age of 14 and fell in love with her. In 1612, they got married after a long wait of 5 years.
Tough Mumtaz Mahal was his third wife yet she had been his favorite since they got married. He had been attracted to Mumtaz as she had a strong character and amazing beauty with no greed for property. She accompanied Shah Jahan wherever he used to go during military campaigns and so she is known as an inseparable companion of the Mughal Emperor.
A Tribute to Mumtaz Mahal
It was in 1631 that she died during the birth of their 14th child at Burhanpur. Shah Jahan isolated himself for more than a year while mourning the death of his beloved wife. After that he started the construction of Taj Mahal as a tribute to his everlasting love. He appointed 22,000 artisans or laborers which included Masons, inlayers, carvers, stonecutters, calligraphers, painters, dome-builders from Central Asia & Iran and 1,000 elephants to get the building completed.
This epitome of love was built in about 22 years using white marble, at the expense of approximately 32 million rupees. In the year 1653, Taj Mahal was finally completed. The dome was designed by Ismail Khan and the whole monument was under the expert supervision of Persian designer Ustad Isa Khan Effendi and executed by Ustad Ahmad.
Shah Jahan’s Cenotaph
He wisely chose a location for the monument so that he could see the tomb of his beloved wife from his palace. Shah Jahan was deposed by Aurangzeb, his own son. After his death, Shah Jahan was entombed beside his wife’s Cenotaph by his son Aurangzeb.
Preservation of the Iconic Taj
British Viceroy Lord Curzon started a restoration project of this unique monument in the late 19th century. The project was completed in 1908 after the British soldiers and officials carried away the precious stones and lapis lazuli from its walls, destroying its beauty. The lawns were also remodeled at the same time.
Despite pollution and several threats from rival countries, this remarkable symbol of love bore the same glory and is able to attract people from across the globe through its charm.