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Taj Mahal

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               Taj Mahal known as the symbol of love is an extraordinary monument of immense beauty beyond the scope of words.  The monument is not only a resemblance of a phenomenal architectural beauty but also shows immense love which was the reason of this great monument. Taj Mahal is mausoleum of both Shahjahan and Mumtaz Mahal(Taj Mahal: A tribute to beauty).

                 Noted Indian writer RavindraNath Tagore calls Taj Mahal as “a teardrop of its time.”  The Mausoleum is located in  India (Hindustan) in  Agra which is part of the state Utter Pradesh, in the northern region of India and is approximately 204KM away from New Delhi, the capital city of India. It is located on the right banks of river Yamuna at the point where it starts taking sharp right turn.  It spreads over 42 acres of land is once of the Seven Wonders of the World and a great tourist spot in the world and in Hindustan. Sir Edwin Arnold, a great English poet described it beauty as “Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passions of an emperor’s love wrought in living stones”.


                   Taj Mahal has emerged as symbol of love between Shah Jahan (the lord of the world) and Mumtaz Mahal. Shan Jahan ordered for the construction of this beautiful master piece at the want of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal at the time of her death.  A deeper look into the history books reveals a lot more interesting and romantic facts about this.

                   Khurram Shihab-ud-din Muhammad (mostly called as shahjahan after he succeeded his father for the throne) was born on January 5th in the year 1592 to the mogul emperor Jahangir and to his Rajput wife Manmathi. Kurram succeeded the throne of the emperor Jahangir by deaths of his brothers Kushura and Shariyar.  Arjumand Banu ( know as Mumtaz Mahal  by the King and her beloved husband Shan Jahan meaning the jewel of the palace ) was born to Abdul Hassan Asaf khan, the wazir of Jahangir and the brother of Nur Jahan  in the year 1593(Jai Maharaj).(De Late, 1928)

                       Khurram first met Arjumand Banu in the year 1607, in a nine days bazaar which is a festival mostly celebrated among Muslim women where they will be free to move out with other people. He was at his 15th year then.  Kurram felt an unquestionably deep love at the legendary beauty and virtue of the prince Arjumand Banu. Their love continued for years before Khurram married Arjumand Banu on may 10 1612, but Arjumand Banu could only be his third wife.  After the marriage Khurram gave Arjumand the name Mumtaz Mahal meaning the jewel of the palace(Jai Maharaj,2008).  He was so associated with Mumtaz that he showed  very little interest to first 2 wives other then dutifully siring a child with each. Khurram defeated Lodi in the year 1626 in the Deccan and Jahangir awarded Kurram as “ Shah Jahan” which means the lord of the world.  After the often rebellions and the wars of successions Shan Jahan took the throne in the year 1626 after the death of his father. All through these long years shah Jahan used to take his beloved wife Mumtaz where ever he went and even to the battle fields.

    Mumtaz and Shah Jahan had their first child in the year 1614, and subsequently at her 39th year Mumtaz gave birth their 14 child a girl and died on 17th June 1631 leaving a last wish to her husband. Her wish was to have great tomb as a resemblance of the love between them and visit the tomb on her death anniversary. It was this event that has inspired Shah Jahan to construct the beautiful monument Taj Mahal as mausoleum in the memory of Mumtaz Mahal. It is said the name of the monument has evolved from the name MumTAZ MAHAL and subsequently called as Taj Mahal.  Her body was buried in a temporarily in Bhuranpura and later it was moved to Agra. After acquiring a place from Raja Man Singh the on the side of the river Yamuna the construction work has began.  This site was chosen so that Shah Jahan could have a good view of the monument from the Agra fort.  By subsequent changes in the empire Shah Jahan was house arrested for the rest of the life by his son Aurangzeb. It is believed that Shah Jahan could see the Taj Mahal in the mirror of his room and few believe that he was able to see the Taj Mahal directly from his fort. He died in the year 1666 on January 22.  He was also buried in a Taj Mahal beside the Mumtaz Mahal’s tomb.


                     The construction of Taj Mahal began in the year 1631 and it took around 22 years for the completion of the tomb. It was estimated that 20,000 people were deployed to work on for this monument(PS Bhat, 1985). The architecture style is Persian and is in no way a comparison with any other monument in the world. Great architects all from all over the Asia have rendered their services in designing the monument.  The materials used for the construction was brought from different parts of the Asia and India. Approximately 1000 elephants were used for the transportation purposes.  The white marble used in the construction of the main tomb was brought from Rajasthan. The tomb holds different colors at different parts of time which is known to the due to the reflections from the planes  In total of around 28 precious stones were used to mould it into a splendid architecture and splendid calligraphic versions  of Quran can be seen(Taj Mahal: The Mugal dynasty,1634-1652). The other outer constructions were made with red colored sandstone brought from Fahtepur sikri, jasper from Punjab, crystal from China, sappier from Srilanka and carnelian from Arabia, Lapis lazuli from Afghanistan. Sculptors are brought from Bukhara and calligraphers from Syria and inlayers from south India and stone cutters from Baluchistan have worked for the beauty of the monument (ASI, 1983).

                     The main architect of the Taj Mahal is believed to be Ustad Ahmad Lahauri or Iran. The Quran verses were designed by poet Ghyasuddin and Ismaail Khan Afridi of Turkey was the architect of the main dome. Amanat Khan Shirazi was believed to be the calligrapher.  Muhammad Hanif was the architect of the masons. There are also arguments that an Italian architect coordinated the pietra dura architectural work. It was estimated that a total of 32 million rupees at that time were spent o this monument (Asher,1992).

Taj Mahal- A Hindu Temple:

Few historians believe that Taj Mahal was Hindu temple which has its origin as Tejo Mahalaya, lord Shiva temple palace. Famous historian Shri PN Oak have argued in that same lines and have some publications related to this in the year 1945. He writes in his book , “ It is pity that the Taj mahal is believed to have originated as a sombre tomb in the 17th century when it was perhaps built in the 4th century to serve a palace.”(PN Oak)   Other important evidences are from that produced in Badshahnama that a Hindu temple was taken from Raja Man Singh for the construction of Taj Mahal by the writer Abdul Hamid. “ An Architect Looks at the Taj Mahal Legend” by Marvin Mills, also provides some interesting facts about Taj’s  year of existence. This suggests a construction date of 1359 AD, about 300 years before Shah Jahan.(PNOak) 


  • PS Bhat, and ALAthawake. The question of the Taj Mahal. Itihas patrika, Vol 5,1985.
  • The Taj Mahal is a Temple palace.
  • Jai Maharaj. “Taj Mahal- A Hindu Temple-palace.” 2008 <http://www.flex.com/~jai/satyamveajayate/tejo.html>
  • Archaeological Survey of India ASI.”World Heritage sites- Agra-Tajmahal.” 1983 <http://asi.nic.in/asi_monu_whs_agratajmahal.asp>
  • Taj  Mahal- The Mugal dynasty-Agra(1632-1654).<http://insecula.com/us/musee/M0249.html>
  •   An historical acocunt of Taj Mahal  <http://www.envocare.co.uk/taj_mahal_history.htm> 
  • Taj Mahal: A tribute to beauty.   <http://www.anglefire.com/in/myindia/tajmahal.html>
  • De Laet, Joannes. The Empire of the Great Mugul, trs. byHoyland and Banerjee, Bombay 1928.
  • Asher, Catherine B. Architecture of Mughal India. New Cambridge History of India I.4 (Cambridge University Press) 1992
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