The Story Behind the Taj

Taj Mahal is not only the epitome of beauty but also the emblem of eternal love. The beautiful marble structure of Taj Mahal has been described by poets in different ways. Like Rabindranath Tagore described Taj Mahal as a 'teardrop on the cheek of eternity.' Let us unfold the fairytale of love that expressed itself through Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal is the love story of Prince Khurram (later know as Shah Jahan) and Arjumand Banu Begum (later known as Mumtaz Mahal). Khurram was born to Mughal emperor Jahangir and was the grandson of the great Mughal emperor, Akbar while Arjumad Banu Begum was the princess of Persian nobility. Prince Khurram met Arjumand Banu at the age of 14 and they got married in 1612. Impressed by the grace and intelligence of Arjumand, Shah Jahan honoured her with the name Mumtaz Mahal which meant Jewel of the Palace, in Persian language.

Mumtaz Mahal accompanied Shah Jahan in every campaign, be it wars or hunting trips; in one word, she was the friend, philosopher and guide of the emperor. The love story came to an end when Mumtaz Mahal left for abode in 1631 while giving birth to their 14th child and the emperor was left in dismay. Shah Jahan wished to keep their love living through years by erecting an astounding memorial in name of his beloved; the monument came to be known as Taj Mahal.

Shah Jahan gathered the best artisans, calligraphers, painters and stone cutters from his entire empire and also from Central Asia and Iran for this massive venture, which took 22 years, 22000 workers and 1000 elephants to be completed. Taj Mahal, the richest mausoleum ever built, stood at the banks of River Yamuna, amidst lush green meadows. The silver gateways, gold leaves, motifs, floral paintings, engravings of semi-precious stones and Arabic inscriptions of Quran made the edifice a celestial tomb of love.

The end years of Shah Jahan were unhappy as he was captivated within the Agra Fort by his son, Emperor Aurangzeb. As per court histories Shah Jahan kept staring at Taj Mahal for long hours during his exile and after his demise he was placed at Taj Mahal, beside his beloved.

Taj Mahal is a time tested edifice as it has faced lot of turmoil; from threats of being broken down by the British rulers to threats of being shattered during Indo-Pak wars. It still stands as the pride of India, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The heart rending story of Taj Mahal makes it a pilgrimage for lovers. Rest over the soft grass of the octagonal garden or explore the monument to experience the golden era of Indian architecture.

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