There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who have seen the Taj Mahal and love it and those who have not seen the Taj and love it.~William J. Clinton
The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It is the synonymous with love and romance. The name “Taj Mahal” was derived from the name of Shah Jahan’s wife, Mumtaz Mahal, and means “Crown Palace”. The purity of the white marble, the exquisite ornamentation, precious gemstones used and its picturesque location, all make a visit to the Taj Mahal gain a place amongst the most sought-after tours in the world.
Taj Mahal, the pinnacle of Mughal architecture, was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (1628-1658), grandson of Akbar the great, in the memory of his queen Arjumand Bano Begum, entitled ‘Mumtaz Mahal’. The Taj Mahal is the mausoleum of both Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan.
Interesting Facts Of Taj Mahal
- Before his accession to the throne, Shah Jahan was popularly known as Prince Khurram.
- Shah Jahan fell in love with the beautiful Arjumand Bano Begum and married her, making her his third wife.
- Arjumand Bano Begum was christened by Shah Jahan as Mumtaz Mahal, meaning the “Chosen One Of The Palace” or “Jewel of the Palace”.
- Shah Jahan lost Mumtaz Mahal when she died giving birth to their 14h child.
- It was built by a whopping 22,000 laborers, painters, stonecutters, embroidery artists.
- As many as 28 different varieties of semi-precious and precious stones were used to adorn the Taj with exquisite inlay work.
- The Taj Mahal is a particular attraction when on full moon nights. The changing colors are said to be analogous to the moods of a woman – Mumtaz Mahal, to be specific.
- One of the common myths about the Taj Mahal is that Emperor Shah Jahan had the thumbs of the workers chopped off, to prevent them from constructing a replica of his masterpiece. However, this is not true.
- On the sides of the actual tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, 99 names of Allah can be found as calligraphic inscriptions.
- Taj Mahal was built in stages, with the plinth and the tomb taking up roughly 15 years. The building of minarets, mosque, jawab, and gateway took additional 5 years to be completed.
- Different types of marbles used in the construction of Taj Mahal were brought over from many different regions & countries: Rajasthan, Punjab, China, Tibet, Afghanistan, Srilanka, & Arabia.
- Many precious stones and Lapis Lazuli (a semi-precious stone) were ripped off from its walls by the Britishers during the Indian rebellion of 1857.
- It attracts 2-4 million visitors annually with over 200,000 from overseas.