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History of Taj Mahal
History of Taj Mahal
Experiencing the Taj Mahal without being cognizant of its history is grossly
irrelevant and absurd. The extravagant expression has not come easy. There
underlays an ocean of emotions and a wild passion that led the king to erect
such a masterpiece in snow-white marble. It's a monument, the only one,
where perhaps, ever inch of the edifice, from one corner to the other, expresses
the beauty of Mumtaz Mahal. Mughal emperor's Shah Jahan's intense feelings
and warmheartedness can be felt at the very first instant as you arrive
here to fix your gaze upon one of the most phenomenal structures in the
The splendid love story begins in 1612, when a Persian princess Arjumand
Bano married Shah Jahan (then prince Khurram), the fifth Mughal emperor.
Arjumand Bano, who later became known as Mumtaz Mahal (the Chosen of the
Palace), was a second wife to the emperor. Both a companion and an advisor,
the queen followed the emperor on his journeys and military expeditions.
Such was the effect of the queen on his emperor-husband that Shah Jahan
was inspired to perform acts of charity and benevolence all throughout
The love story took a serious turn when, on a campaign at Burhanpur with
her husband, Mumtaz Mahal took his last breath giving birth to their 14th
child. So heartbroken was the emperor that the whole court went into mourning
for a span of over two years. It is said that, within a few months after
the queen's death, the hair and beard of the king had turned white. And
Shah Jahan was recklessly determined on building a monument in his consort's
loving memory that the world had never seen.
The dead body of the queen was brought to Agra and buried in a garden
on the banks of river Yamuna. A group of the finest architects was assembled
to devise a plan for erecting the tomb.
Eventually, Ustad Isa, a Persian
architect, was called upon to design the structure. The master architect
along with his pupil Ustad Ahmad began the construction of the edifice.
The dome, however, was fashioned by Ismail Khan. A total of 20,000 labourers
from across the country and the world were employed to work for 22 years
continuously. Finest of the marbles were procured from the district of
Markana near Jodhpur. Precious and semi precious stones were brought from
far off places.
Later, the mausoleum was provided with luxuriant furnishings. Persian
carpets and gold lamps embellished the interior of the Taj. Two silver
gates, that were set up at the entrance, were taken away by Suraj Mal
in 1764. Amir Husein Ali Khan looted the sheet of pearls that covered
the stone coffins.
It is said, that after the completion of the construction, when emperor
Shah Jahan viewed the Taj, he ordered his men to cut off the right hand
of the master architect Ustad Isa, so the later may not be able to erect
such a stately and imposing edifice again in his life. There's another
legend that says Shah Jahan was contemplating to build yet another Taj
Mahal across the river in black marble.
Now, it's up to you how many more legends you can make yourself aware
of while on a trip to Agra, the city of the Taj. Get accompanied by a
travel guide and begin exploring the myths and legends, poring over the
glorious chapters of the history.
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