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Taj Mahal


Taj Mahal As Seen From Agra Fort


  • Taj is the Urdu word for “crown” and Mahal is for “place”. Therefore Taj Mahal means “Place of the Crown”. It was constructed by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to commemorate his wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is situated in Agra, India and is considered as the best example of architecture during Mughal era which combines Indian, Ottoman Turkish, Persian and Islamic architectural styles.
  • The Taj Mahal was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1983. It’s one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is an integrated compound of structures. The white marble tomb is the most well-known part of the Taj Mahal.
  • It changes colour. The Taj Mahal is pinkish in the morning, it is milky white in the evening and bright golden when the moon shines.

Shah Jahan

  • Shah Jahan means "King of the World". Shah Jahan was born on January 5, 1592 in Lahore, Pakistan. He ruled India from 1627 to 1658 as the fifth Mughal Emperor after Babur, Humayun Akbar and Jahangir. Emperor Jahangir was his father, Taj Bibi Makani was his mother and Emperor Akbar was his grandfather. His original name was Khurram, which means "joyful". He was keen to enlarge his huge empire like Akbar. His father awarded him the title "Shah Jahan Bahadur" because of his great military skills against many enemies including Kangra, the Lodi and Mewar. He executed his main rivals and imprisoned his step mother Nur Jahan. In addition to being a shrewd military leader, he was also an exceptional builder which was proved by his re-designing of buildings in the Agra fort. "The Builder of the Marvels" was among numerous titles earned by him.
  • During his rule India was the biggest centre of architecture, arts and crafts. World’s best writers, painters, craftsmen, artisans and architects lived in his empire. India had the highest GDP in the world.
  • Shah Jahan was engaged with Arjumand Banu Begum at the age of 15 in 1607. At that time Arjumand Banu Begum was 14. They married in 1612. Due to her beauty, character and look, Arjumand Banu Begum received the title of Mumtaz Mahal from Shah Jahan. Mumtaz Mahal means "Jewel of the Palace". She was one of the few wives Shah Jahan had.
  • In addition to t he Taj Mahal, he was also associated with the Moti Masjid and the Wazir Khan Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan, Section of Agra Fort, Jama Masjid and the Red Fort in Delhi. To commemorate his rule he had the Peacock Throne, Takht e Taus. He also put many verses of the Quran on his works of arts. He built the Shah Jahan Mosque in Thatta, Pakistan in 1647 which has 93 domes, world’s biggest mosque with such quantity of domes. If you speak in one end of the dome, your voice can be heard at the other end. Since 1993, the Shah Jahan Mosque is on the tentative UNESCO World Heritage list.
  • Mumtaz Mahal died in 1631 in Burhanpur while delivering 14th child. Shah Jahan started constructing world's most beautiful mausoleum which was completed after 22 years. Shah Jahan fell ill in 1657. Mumtaz Mahal's eldest son, Dara took control of throne but was later defeated. Shah Jahan’s other sons, Aurangzeb, Shuja and Murad captured Agra and put Shah Jahan under house arrest. Jahanara Begum, Shah Jahan 's first daughter, shared his 8-year imprisonment and took care of him in his declining years. He died in 1666 after reciting verses from the Quran and was buried near Mumtaz. His tomb is larger as compared to his wife’s tomb.

Mumtaz Mahal

  • Mumtaz Mahal was born in Agra on April, 1593 as Arjumand Banu Begum in a family of Persian nobility . Her father’s name was Abdul Hasan Asaf.
  • Arjumand Banu Begum was engaged with Shah Jahan at the age of 14 in 1607. At that time Shah Jahan was 15. They married in 1612 on a date selected by astrologers as most auspicious to ensure a happy marriage. She was a Shia Muslim. Due to her beauty, character and look, Arjumand Banu Begum received the title of Mumtaz Mahal from Shah Jahan. Mumtaz Mahal means "Jewel of the Palace". The couple had 14 children including Aurangzeb during their 19 years of marriage. Mumtaz Mahal travelled with Shah Jahan all over the Mughal Empire. She did not aspire for political power.
  • Humtaz Mahal died in 1631 in Burhanpur while delivering 14th child. Her body was buried in Burhanpur, temporarily in a garden known as Zainabad. Shah Jahan was deeply grieved over her death and was terribly upset. He went into isolated mourning for one year during which his face worn, his back was bent and his hair had turned white. Jahanara Begum, Shah Jahan's eldest daughter brought him out of misery gradually and replaced Mumtaz Mahal at court.
  • Shah Jahan divided personal fortune of Mumtaz Mahal’s rupees 10,000,000 between Jahanara Begum, and the rest of her surviving children. Jahanara Begum received rupees 5,000,000.
  • Shah Jahan did not want to bury his wife in Burhanpur. Therefore her body was transported to Agra in December 1631 to bury on Yamuna River’s banks. Shah Jahan remained in Burhanpur where he planned construction of a tomb and garden for his wife in Agra which eventually resulted in the shape of the world’s most beautiful building – the Taj Mahal.

History of Taj Mahal

  • Shah Jahan saw Mumtaz Mahal while strolling in the Meena Bazaar with courtiers. It was love at first sight. He decided then and there to marry her.
  • Shah Jahan wanted his dear wife, Mumtaz Mahal to remain in memory of people for ever. Therefore he decided to build a wonderful monument as a mark of respect to her which is known as the "Taj Mahal".
  • More than 22,000 workers and 1,000 elephants were employed to build the Taj Mahal in 22 years. Construction started in 1631 and completed in 1653 at the cost of 320 million rupees.
  • Shah Jahan was ousted by his son, Aurangzeb and was placed under house arrest. After his death in 1666, Shah Jahan was buried near his wife.
  • British officials and soldiers defaced the Taj Mahal during revolt of 1857. Lord Curzon, British viceroy started restoration project by the end of the 19th century which was completed in 1908. He remodelled the garden with British-style lawns which exist today.
  • To protect from air attacks, scaffoldings were erected in 1942, 1965 and 1971 wars to misguide bomber pilots.



Taj Mahal Front View