What’s so magical about Taj Mahal that makes lovers from all over the world go weak in their knees? Mohita Saxena explores the history behind the world’s unparalleled and inimitable monument of love from Mughal India.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the architectural wonder Taj Mahal, which stands at the shore of river Yamuna in the ancient city of Agra, has since times immemorial played a monumental role in putting India on the world map. Renowned world over for its unparalleled beauty and architectural finesse, the Taj is included in the coveted Seven Wonders of the World.
Apart from the architectural glory and grandeur that the Taj is bestowed with, it is the immortal love story of its creator, the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, and his wife Mumtaz Mahal that attracts all and sundry. Never before had the world seen such an impeccable and ostentatious display of love until the Taj happened to the world. As the legend goes, Shah Jahan’s beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal while on her death bed extracted a promise from him to build a monument or mausoleum in her memory and visit it at least once every year on her death anniversary. So intense was Shah Jahan’s grief that he decided to fulfill his promise in the most ambitious and passionate manner. Without wasting any time, Shah Jahan delegated this building project to his entrusted board of architects that included the world-renowned architects of the likes of Abkul Karim Ma’mur Khan and Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.
It took almost 20 years and about 20,000 skilled artisans and craftsmen who were invited from different nook-and-corners of the world to complete this architectural wonder, which eventually came to be recognized as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.” Even after more than 300 years of its existence, the inevitably beautiful and inimitable Taj sits strong as the world looks upon it as an epitome of love. Every year, almost 3-4 million admirers visit Taj Mahal and find themselves at a loss of words looking at the insurmountable architectural grandeur and emotional piety with which the monument was created.
Lovers from all over the world regard it as a place of worship and, to immortalise their love, fancy a pilgrimage to this finest example of the Mughal architecture. In fact, almost all the coveted couples of the world, from Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk and wife Malgrozata, British actor Ben Kingsley and wife Daniela, England’s Prince Charles and Lady Diana, and former Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf and wife Begum Sehba have visited the Taj, imbibing the ‘love-is-in-the-air’ aura of this architectural beauty.
So the next time you plan to take some time off with your loved ones, do take a trip down to Agra to visit Taj Mahal and leave the rest to its unfathomable aura.
Interesting Facts about Taj Mahal
- The Taj Mahal seems to be changing its colors depending on what time of the day it is being seen and whether or not there is moon at night. Some people believe that this changing pattern of colors depicts the varying moods of a woman.
- 99 names of Allah are inscribed calligraphically on the sides of Mumtaz Mahal’s tomb.
- Shah Jahan fell in love with the beautiful Arjumand Bano Begum and married her, making her his third wife. She was christened by him as Mumtaz Mahal, meaning the “Chosen One Of The Palace” or “Jewel of the Palace”.
- Many jewels and semi-precious gems adorn the wall of the Taj Mahal. Over the years and through a number of wars and pillages these jewels have been removed, but their impressions can still be seen.
- Different types of marbles used in the construction of Taj Mahal were brought over from different regions and countries including Rajasthan, Punjab, China, Tibet, Afghanistan, Srilanka, and Arabia.