27 May 2016
Taj Mahal, the symbol of eternal love 16.12.2004
For centuries, the Taj Mahal has inspired poets, painters and musicians to try and capture its elusive magic in word, colour and song. It is one of the most flawless architectural creations of the world. People from all over the world visit Agra, not to see the ruins of the red sandstone fortress built by the Mughal emperors, but to make a pilgrimage to Taj Mahal, the ultimate memorial to love. In a land where magnificent edifices abound bearing testimony to an ancient and rich civilisation, the beauty of the Taj Mahal remains incomparable.
Taj Mahal stands in the city of Agra, on the banks of the Yamuna River. It was built in the memory of the beautiful Arjumand Banu Begum, who won the heart of a Mughal prince. She was married at 21 to Emperor Jahangir’s third son PrinceKhurram and stayed loyally by his side through good times and bad, in the luxurious royal palaces of Agra as well as the transient tents of war camps. In 1628 AD, Khurram became King after a bloody battle of succession. He took the name of Shah Jahan or “King of the World”, and showered his beloved begum with the highest titles. She became Mumtaz Mahal, the exalted of the palace, andMumtaz–ul–Zamani, the exalted of the age. But Mumtaz Mahal was not destined to be Queen for long.
In 1631, Mumtaz Mahal, the favourite wife of Shah Jahan died at the age of 39, atBurhanpur. The grieving emperor vowed to build a memorial that would surpass anything ever created in the world. The construction of the Taj Mahal started in 1632, and was completed by 1654 AD. A fleet of 1000 elephants were used to transport the construction materials to the site. In all 28 types of precious and semi-precious stones were inlaid into white marble to create this wonder of the world.
It is best described by the English poet, Sir Edwin Arnold, as “Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passions of an emperor’s love wrought in living stones”.