The world-renowned Taj Mahal is one of most popular tourist destinations in India. Known for its outstanding architectural style and size, the Taj Mahal is known to be the greatest legacy of the Mughal dynasty. This amazing structural masterpiece was built by Shah Jahan, the once Mughal emperor. When his wife named Mumtaz Mahal died, out of love, the emperor had this spectacular mausoleum built in her memory.
Mumtaz Mahal was known to be the beautiful wife of the emperor. In a sign of love and devotion, the Mughal emperor built a monument as tribute to her. The maiden name of Mumtaz was Arjumand Banu Begum. She was born in Agra, India in the month of April in 1953. Mumtaz was the daughter of Abdul Hasan Asaf Khan, a nobleman of Persia. The father of Mumtaz served the Mughal emperor as an adviser. His sister was also the wife of the then emperor during that time.
Growing up, Mumtaz was a religious Muslim girl with unique virtue and beauty. She sold glass beads and silk fabrics at the market where she met the prince of the Mughal empire. The prince fell madly in love with her and sought the approval of the emperor to make her his wife. His father agreed and a grand royal wedding was held on May 1612.
Mumtaz was only 19 years old when she got married. She became the second wife of the prince and heir to the throne. Mumtaz Mahal became the future emperor’s most beloved wife. According to historic accounts, Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal shared an intense relationship. Their love for each other never wavered. Since she was known for her great beauty, Mumta Mahal became an inspiration for many poets in their various works.
Mumtaz Mahal was also known as a compassionate ruler and worked to provide the needs of women and the poor people in her kingdom. As the queen, she would go with the emperor to oversee the entire state. Mumtaz Mahal had 14 children with the emperor. Seven of them died when they were still babies. In 1631 however, Mumtaz Mahal died from childbirth. On her deathbed, she requested for her husband to build a monument to symbolize their great love for each other.
The Taj Mahal combines architectural styles of the Persians, Islamic, Indian and Turkish architecture. In 1983, the Taj Mahal was named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Indian mausoleum was known as the ‘Jewel of Muslim art’. It is also considered as one of the world’s most admired architectural masterpieces in the world.
The tomb of Mumtaz Mahal is made of pure white marble. The marble stones were shipped from different parts of India while some were taken from Central Asia. The Taj Mahal contains five major portions: the main gateway, the mosque, the gardens, the rest house and the mausoleum of Mumtaz Mahal.
Aside from the many tombs inside the Taj Mahal, there are also a number of false tombs. This feature is typical of the Mughal dynasty. For light to enter central room of the mausoleum, perforated marble screens were installed.
Taj Mahal is definitely a must-see when visiting India. More and more visitors are then amazed to know that such a spectacular architectural masterpiece was started by one woman alone — Mumtaz Mahal.