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Taj Mahal Story
Taj Mahal Story
Beginning of a Love Story
The story goes back in 1607,when a prince of the royal Mughal household
strolled down the Meena Bazaar, accompanied by a string of fawning courtiers,
he caught a glimpse of a girl hawking silk and glass beads. Five years and
a wife later (in those days princes did not marry for love alone) the regal
20-yr-old went to wed his 19-yr-old bride. It was a fairy tale union from
the start, one that withstood court intrigues, battles for succession and
finally, the grand coronation. And when she died on the 19th year of their
marriage, he etched her story in stone. The Taj Mahal is the living symbol
of the monumental passion of Shah Jahan and Arjumand Banu. Which other love
story has so grand a memorial?
The Origin of Tajmahal
The origin of the name the "Taj Mahal"
is not clear. Court
histories from Shah Jehan's reign only call it the rauza (tomb) of Mumtaz
Mahal. It is generally believed that "Taj Mahal"
translated as either "Crown Palace" or "Crown of the Palace")
is an abbreviated version of her name, Mumtaz Mahal (Exalted One of the
The Taj Mahal is a deserving resting palace for an Emperor's Empress.
It stands on the banks of the river Yamuna, which otherwise serves as
a wide moat defending the Great Red Fort of Agra, the center of the Mughal
emperors until they moved their capital to Delhi in 1637. It was built
by the fifth Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan in 1631 in memory of his second
wife, Mumtaz Mahal, a Muslim Persian princess. She died while accompanying
her husband in Burhanpur in a campaign to crush a rebellion after giving
birth to their 14th child.
Mumtaj Mahal - "Build me a Taj"
As Mumtaz Mahal lay dying, she asked four promises from the emperor: first,
that he build the Taj - second, that he should marry again; third, that
he be kind to their children - and fourth, that he visit the tomb on her
death anniversary. He kept the first and second promises. Construction began
in 1631 and was completed in 22 years. Twenty thousand people were deployed
to work on it. The principal architect was the Iranian architect Istad Usa;
it is possible that the pietra dura work was coordinated by an Italian artist.
Taj Mahal - Wonder of the World
To people the world over, the Taj Mahal, mausoleum of Mughal Emperor shah
Jana's chief wife, Mumtaz Mahal, is synonymous with India. Its curving,
gently swelling dome and the square base upon which its rests so lightly
is a familiar image from hundreds of brochures and travel books. The Taj
is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular buildings of the world. Renowned
for its architectural magnificence and aesthetic beauty, it counts among
man's proudest creations and is invariably included in the list of the
world's foremost wonders. As a tomb, it has no match upon earth, for mortal
remains have never been housed in greater grandeur.
Architecture of the TajMahal
Construction began in 1631, and over 20,000 workmen and master craftsmen
worked laboriously for 22 years to give shape to the emperor's passionate
dream! The material was brought in from all over India and central Asia
and it took a fleet of 1,000 elephants to transport it to the site. The
complex was finally completed in 1653 at a cost of 32 Million Rupees (approx
USD 68000) on the banks of river Yamuna in Agra, the capital of the Mughal
But the beauty of Taj Mahal is also tainted by the gory fact that the
hands of some of the master craftsmen were amputated, to ensure that the
perfection of the Taj could never be repeated ever again!
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