Wednesday, September 20, 2023

The History of the Taj Mahal

 Taj Mahal is a mausoleum complex in Agra, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh West, constructed by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. A masterpiece of Mughal architecture, the Taj Mahal combines Islamic, Persian, and Indian design elements. It contains twin mosque structures, gardens, and a museum as tourist attractions. The history of the Taj Mahal is an interesting and love-driven one.

In 1607 Shah Jahan, grandson of Akbar the Great, first met his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, at sixteen years old when he wasn't yet the Mughal emperor. Although they fell in love, he couldn't marry her initially as he was already betrothed to Kandahari Begum, making Mumtaz Mahal the second of three wives. Their wedding took place on March 27, 1612, and Mumtaz was named The Chosen One Of The Palace by the young prince.

During her lifetime, Mumtaz Mahal was a gorgeous and intelligent queen. She was adored by the public largely because she was kind. She painstakingly prepared lists of widows and orphans to ensure they received food and money. Only seven of her 14 children survived through infancy, and the birth of the 14th child ultimately led to Mumtaz Mahal's death.

Her death happened in 1631 when Emperor Shah Jahan led a rebellion against Khan Jahan Lodi. Despite being in battle, the emperor joined her in the labor room when he heard about complications, and Mumtaz Mahal died in his arms. Her body was first buried in Burbanpur, and Shah Jahan cried for eight days, aging considerably.

Later, Shah Jahan requested that Mumtaz Mahal's remains be excavated and transported 435 miles to Agra in December 1631 after the battle with Khan Jahan Lodi was won. Thousands of the emperor's troops escorted her body back to their hometown in a huge parade, and mourners lined the streets to see her. Her bones were reburied on land given by the noble Raja Jai Singh when they reached Agra on January 8, 1632, not far from the site of the Taj Mahal.

During his mourning, Shah Jahan invested all his time and energy into creating an elaborate tomb to surpass all others and put them to shame. The fact that it was the first sizable mausoleum devoted to a woman added to its distinction. Although the Taj Mahal's original architect is unknown, it is assumed that Shah Jahan, who had a passion for architecture, worked on the blueprints himself with the assistance of some of the top architects of the day. The Taj Mahal, known as the Crown of the Region, was meant to stand in for Jannah, or Heaven, on Earth.

The emperor Shah Jahan desired to construct the Taj Mahal fast and magnificently, so 20,000 laborers were dispatched to Mumtazabad in 1632. The auxiliary structures were finished by 1643, and decorating work lasted four more years until 1647. The Taj Mahal was built as an octagonal, marble-covered 42-acres brick building with a distinctive scaffolding layout. Till today, the architectural structure remains grand, and in 1983, the complex received the UNESCO World Heritage designation.

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