The Taj Mahal is situated in Uttar Pradesh state of India. It is located in Agra city around 210 kms away from New Delhi, the capital of India. Taj Mahal is well known as the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Islamic and Indian architectural styles. It has been declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983 and is one of the 7 wonders of the world! It is made of pure white marble. The marble shimmers in silvery white color in the moonlight and at the end of day reflects the fiery tints of the setting sun. The Taj Mahal in all its timeless beauty still remains an inspiration for writers, poets, painters and photographers. Lovers still meet here in the full moon nights in the shadow of the world’s most famous monument of love.
The Taj Mahal stands on the banks of the Yamuna River. It was built in the memory of the stunningly beautiful Mumtaz (Arjumand Bano Begum) by Shahjahan (Prince Khurram). In 1631, Shahjahan went on an expedition to the south India and as always, Mumtaz Mahal accompanied him. But unfortunately she died in childbirth at Burhanpur. It is interesting to know she had given birth to fourteen children, of whom only four sons and three daughters survived. When Mumtaz Mahal died, she was just 39 years old. Shahjahan did go into the deep sadness. Historical documents say that, there was no music, no celebration and no feasting of any kind in those 2 years.
Shahjahan then decided to erect a memorial to his queen in pristine marble that the world would never forget. The site selected for the tomb was a garden on Yamuna River’s bank. The site was also chosen because it could be seen from Shahjahan’s personal palace in Agra Fort.
Work on the museum began in 1633 and 22,000 workers labored for 17 and half years to build it! The most skilled architects, calligraphers, inlay craftsmen, stone-carvers and masons came from all across India and abroad. An expert in building the double dome came from Persia, The master mason was from Baghdad and an inlay specialist from Delhi was invited. The building material was also imported from different places. The corals came from Arabia, Onyx and amethyst from Persia and the garnets from Bundelkhand. Mumtaz Mahal’s final resting-place was ornamented like a jewel-box of a Queen. The construction of Taj Mahal took 22 years and as much as 32 crore rupees to complete! It is said that Shahjahan wanted to build the replica just on the opposite river bank but with black marble. But the estimated cost was around 4 times the construction cost of Taj Mahal.