One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal has bagged a spot at one of the most visited and an important heritage site all over the world. The "Crown of the Palaces" is an ivory-white marble mausoleum that was commissioned by Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan. It houses both his and his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal’s tomb.The Construction began in 1632 AD and was substantially complete by 1648 AD. It leaks immensely of exquisite Persian art work and early Mughal architecture.
In 1983, the Taj Mahal was given the designation of "the jewel of Muslim art in India” by the UNESCO World Heritage Site and was also considered as one of most acclaimed wonders of world heritage.
What is the Story Behind Construction of Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal that is called the monument of love has indeed a grieving love story behind the construction of the same. Shah Jahan, initially named Prince Khurram, was the son of Jehangir, the fourth Mughal emperor of India and the grandson of Akbar the Great. Some time, in year of early years of 1607 while Shah Jahan took a stoll at ‘Meena Bazaar’ with his courties, he caught the glimpse of a girl hawking silk and glass beads. As filmy as it gets, for Shah Jahan, it was love at first sight. The girl was as Arjumand Banu Begum. At that time, Jahan was a teen of 14 years of age the Muslim Persian princess was 15.
After his first encounter with what he thought was the one and only ultimate love of his life, went back to his father and declared his wish of marrying the girl. However, the match got solemnized and materialised into the bond of marriage five years later, in the year of 1612.
During the marriage, Mumtaz Mahal extracted four promises from the emperor:
- First, that he build the Taj
- Second, that he should marry again;
- Third, that he must be compassionate towards their children; and
- Fourth, that he must pay a visit to her tomb on her death anniversary
Why was Taj Mahal Built?
On the 17 June 1631, Mumtaz Mahal as usual had been accompanying her husband while he was fighting a campaign in the Deccan Plateau. Unfortunately both were unaware of the catastrophe that would tear their lives down in the next few hours of their life. Mumtaz died from postpartum haemorrhage while giving birth to her fourteenth child, after a prolonged labour of approximately 30 hours. Her body was temporarily buried at Burhanpur in a walled garden called, Zainabad constructed by Shah Jahan's uncle Daniyal on the bank of the Tapti River.
Immediately after his great loss and bereavement, the emperor was utterly grief-stricken and went into seclusion and mourning for almost a year. At his reappearance, his hair had turned white; his back was bent as an arch and his face worn. To recover Shah Jahan from the grieving loss, Mumtaz's eldest daughter, Jahanara Begum, gradually took over her mother's position at court.
While Shah Jahan stayed behind in Burhanpur to conclude the military campaign, he began planning the design and construction of a suitable mausoleum and funerary garden in Agra for his beloved wife. Thus, the construction of enigma – the Taj Mahal became his foremost agenda and mission that went on for as long as 22 years! The Taj sparkles like a moonlit jewel when the semi-precious stones inlaid into the white marble on the main mausoleum catch and reflect back its glow. The Taj is also said to change its colours – it is pinkish in the morning, milky white in the evening and golden when the moon shines, which are said to depict the various moods of beauty.