Taj Mahal

From ArticleWorld

The Taj Mahal is a white, onion-domed building that can be found in Agra, India. Its fame is well-known around the world, but not many know that the Taj Mahal was originally a mausoleum that the Muslim Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan erected for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal (also known as Arjumand Bano Begum). Shah Jahan had honored his wife, Mumtaz, with gardens and palaces in Shalimar while she was still alive. When Mumtaz Mahal died while giving birth, Shah Jahan was inconsolable in his grief. Soon, thereafter, Shah Jahan mandated his workers to build the monument that would keep his wife in eternal memory. More than twenty thousand workers were commissioned to build the Taj Mahal between 1631 and 1654.


The architectural style of the Taj Mahal (sometimes referred to as "the Taj," in short) is considered to be a combination of Indian and Persian architectural styles, a combination that characterizes most of Mughal architecture. Yet, it is not the architectural style that has earned for the Taj Mahal its praise but the love story that inspired its construction.

The Taj Mahal is a testament to one ruler's lavish love for his favorite wife. White marble, jasper, jade, crystal, turquoise, Lapis lazuli, sapphire, and carnelian were imported from Rajasthan, Punjab, China, Tibet, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and Arabia. More than 1,000 elephants were used to bring the materials to the construction site. There are reportedly 28 kinds of precious and semi-precious stones used to decorate the building, much of which were defaced by British soldiers, sepoys, and government officials during the time of the First War of Indian Independence.

Shah Jahan fate

At the time the Taj Mahal was finished, Shah Jahan had spent about 40 million rupees on the monument. The cost would amount to more than 500 million US dollars (based the October 2005 price of gold).

Just right after the building was completed, Shah Jahan was removed from power and placed under house arrest by his son Aurangzeb. It is said that Shah Jahan spent the rest of his life gazing at the Taj Mahal through the window. When he died, Aurangzeb buried him next to Mumtaz in the Taj Mahal.

A World Heritage Site

In 1983, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated the Taj Mahal as a World Heritage Site. Today, many tourists never fail to include the Taj Mahal as one of their destinations in their visit to India.