Taj Mahal History: The Taj Mahal may be a breathtaking white-marble mausoleum commissioned by Mughul Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Located on the southern bank of the Yamuna River near Agra, India, the Taj Mahal took 22 years to create and eventually reached completion in 1653.
This exquisite monument considered one among the New Wonders of the planet, astounds visitors for its symmetry, structural beauty, intricate calligraphy, inlaid gemstones, and luxurious garden. quite just a memorial within the name of a spouse, the Taj Mahal was a declaration of lasting love from Shan Jahan to his departed soulmate.
It was in 1607 that Shah Jahan , grandson of Akbar the good, first met his beloved. At the time, he wasn’t yet the fifth emperor of the Mughal Empire. Sixteen-year-old Prince Khurram, as he was then called, flitted round the royal bazaar, flirting with the women from high-ranking families that staffed the booths.
At one among these booths, Prince Khurram met Arjumand Banu Begum, the 15-year-old girl whose father was soon to be the prime minister and whose aunt was married to Prince Khurram’s father. Although it had been love initially sight, the 2 weren’t allowed to marry directly . Prince Khurram first had to marry Kandahari Begum. He later took a 3rd wife also .
On March 27, 1612, Prince Khurram and his beloved, to whom he gave the name Mumtaz Mahal (“chosen one among the palace”), were married. Mumtaz Mahal was beautiful also as smart and tender-hearted. the general public was enamored together with her, in no small part because she cared for the people. She diligently made lists of widows and orphans to make sure that they got food and money. The couple had fourteen children together but only 7 lived past infancy. it had been the birth of the 14th child that might kill Mumtaz Mahal.
The Death of Mumtaz Mahal
In 1631, three years into Shah Jahan’s reign, a rebellion led by Khan Jahan Lodi was underway. Shah Jahan took his military bent the Deccan, about 400 miles from Agra, so as to crush the usurper.
As usual, Mumtaz Mahal accompanied Shah Jahan’s side despite being heavily pregnant. On June 16, 1631, she gave birth to a healthy daughter in an elaborately decorated tent within the middle of the encampment. At first, all appeared to be, but Mumtaz Mahal was soon dying.
The moment Shah Jahan received word of his wife’s condition, he rushed to her side. Early within the morning on June 17, only one day after the birth of their daughter, Mumtaz Mahal died in her husband’s arms. She was buried directly consistent with Islamic tradition near the encampment at Burbanpur. Her body wouldn’t stay there long.
Reports say that in Shah Jahan’s anguish, he visited his own tent and cried for eight days without ceasing. When he emerged, he was said to possess aged considerably, sporting white hair and glasses.
Bringing Mumtaz Mahal Home
In December 1631, with the feud against Khan Jahan Lodi won, Shah Jahan asked that Mumtaz Mahal’s body be dug up and brought 435 miles or 700 kilometers to Agra. Her return was a grand procession with thousands of soldiers accompanying her body and mourners lining the route.
When the remains of Mumtaz Mahal reached Agra on January 8, 1632, they were temporarily buried ashore donated by nobleman Raja Jai Singh. This was near where the Taj Mahal would be built.
Plans for the Taj Mahal
Shah Jahan, crammed with grief, poured his emotion into designing an elaborate and expensive mausoleum that might bring all people who had precede it to shame. it had been also unique therein it had been the primary large mausoleum dedicated to a lady .
Although no primary architect for the Taj Mahal is understood , it’s believed that Shah Jahan , hooked in to architecture himself, worked on the plans directly with the input and aid of variety of the simplest architects of his time. The intention was for the Taj Mahal , “the crown of the region”, to represent Heaven, Jannah, on Earth. Shah Jahan spared no expense in making this happen.
Building the Taj Mahal
The Mughal Empire was one among the richest empires within the world at the time of Shah Jahan’s reign, and this meant that he had the resources to form this monument incomparably grand. But though he wanted it to be breathtaking, he also wanted it erected quickly.
To speed up the assembly , an estimated 20,000 workers were brought during a nd housed nearby in a town built especially for them called Mumtazabad. Both skilled and unskilled craftsmen were contracted.
Builders first worked on the inspiration then on the enormous , 624-foot-long plinth or base. this is able to become the bottom of the Taj Mahal building and therefore the pair of matching red sandstone buildings that might flank it, the mosque and guest house.
The Taj Mahal , sitting on a second plinth, was to be an octagonal structure constructed of marble-covered brick. As is that the case for many large projects, the builders created a scaffolding so as to create higher. Their choice of bricks for this scaffolding was unusual and remains perplexing to historians.
White marble is one among the foremost striking and prominent features of the Taj Mahal . The marble used was quarried in Makrana, 200 miles away. Reportedly, it took 1,000 elephants and an untold number of oxen to tug the extremely heavy marble to the vacant lot .
For the huge marble pieces to succeed in to higher spaces of the Taj Mahal , a giant, 10-mile-long earthen ramp was built. The Taj Mahal is topped with an enormous double-shelled dome that stretches 240 feet and is additionally covered in white marble. Four thin, at the corners of the second plinth, white marble minarets stand tall and surround the mausoleum.
Calligraphy and Inlaid Flowers
Most pictures of the Taj Mahal show only an outsized white building. Though still lovely, this does not do the important structure justice. These photos skip intricacies and it’s these details that make the Taj Mahal astoundingly feminine and opulent.
On the mosque, guest house, and enormous main gate at the southern end of the complex appear passages from the Quran or Koran, the holy book of Islam, written in calligraphy. Shah Jahan hired master calligrapher Amanat Khan to figure on these inlaid verses.
Masterfully done, the finished verses from the Quran are inlaid with black marble. they’re a stately yet soft feature of the building. Although made from stone, the curves mimic real handwriting. The 22 passages from the Quran are said to possess been chosen by Amanat Khan himself. Interestingly, Amanat Khan was the sole one that Shah Jahan allowed to sign his work on the Taj Mahal .
Almost more impressive than the calligraphy are the fragile inlaid flowers found throughout the Taj Mahal complex. during a process referred to as parchin kari, highly-skilled stone cutters carved intricate floral designs into the white marble then inlaid these with precious and semi-precious stones to make interwoven vines and flowers.
There are 43 different sorts of precious and semi-precious stones used for these flowers and that they came from round the world. These include lazuli from Sri Lanka , jade from China, malachite from Russia, and turquoise from Tibet.
Islam keeps the image of Paradise as a garden. Thus, the garden at the Taj Mahal was an integral a part of making it Heaven on Earth.
The Taj Mahal’s garden has four quadrants. These are divided by four “rivers” of water (another important Islamic image of Paradise) that take in a central pool. The gardens and rivers were filled by the Yamuna River via a posh underground water system. Unfortunately, no records remain to inform the precise plants in these gardens.
Shah Jahan’s Death
Shah Jahan remained in deep mourning for 2 years and never fully healed after the death of his favorite wife. This gave Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan’s fourth son Aurangzeb the chance to successfully kill his three elder brothers and imprison his father.
After 30 years as emperor, Shah Jahan was usurped and placed within the luxurious Red Fort in Agra in 1658. Forbidden to go away but with most of his usual luxuries, Shah Jahan spent his final eight years gazing out a window at the Taj Mahal .
When Shah Jahan died on January 22, 1666, Aurangzeb had his father buried with Mumtaz Mahal within the crypt beneath the Taj Mahal . On the most floor of the Taj Mahal above the crypt now sits two cenotaphs (empty public tombs). The one within the center of the space belongs to Mumtaz Mahal and therefore the one just to the west is for Shah Jahan .
Surrounding the cenotaphs may be a delicately-carved, lacy marble screen. Originally it had been a gold screen but Shah Jahan had that replaced in order that thieves wouldn’t feel tempted to steal it.
Destruction of the Taj Mahal
Shah Jahan was wealthy enough to support the Taj Mahal and its mighty maintenance costs, but over the centuries, the Mughal Empire lost its riches and therefore the Taj Mahal fell into ruins.
By the 1800s, British ousted the Mughals and took over India. The Taj Mahal was famous for its beauty. The Britch cut gemstones from its walls, stole silver candlesticks and doors, and even tried to sell the white marble overseas. it had been Lord Curzon, British viceroy of India, who put and to the present . instead of looting the Taj Mahal , Curzon worked to revive it.
The Taj Mahal Now
The Taj Mahal has once more become a powerful place with 2.5 million visitors annually . People can visit during the daytime and watch because the white marble appears to require on different hues throughout the day. Once a month, visitors have the chance to form a brief visit during a full-of-the-moon to ascertain how the Taj Mahal seems to glow from the within call at the moonlight.
The Taj Mahal was placed on the planet Heritage List by UNESCO in 1983, but this protection has not guaranteed its safety. it’s now at the mercy of pollutants from nearby factories and excessive humidity from the breath of its visitors.