The history of the Taj Mahal begins with the death of emperor Shah Jahan’s third and favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. She died after giving birth to the couple’s fourteenth child, and so stricken was the emperor that he decided to build a grand mausoleum in her honor. Thus work on the Taj Mahal began. The first stone was laid in 1632, and it would take approximately 20 years to finish the project.
Shah Jahan was the emperor of the Mughal empire between the years of 1628 and 1658. This empire was founded in 1526 and was the main power on the Indian subcontinent between the mid-1500's and the early eighteenth century. 1612 was the year that Shah Jahan married Mumtaz Mahal, and the two went on to enjoy a very intimate and intense relationship. This relationship produced fourteen children, only seven of which made it past child birth or early childhood. Coincidentally, the child that Mumtaz died after giving birth to was one of the children that went on to live past early childhood. Her name was Gauhara Begum, and she lived until the age of 75 to be more exact.
More than 20,000 laborers helped build the Taj Mahal, and when it was finished, the famous structure introduced a whole new level of refinement. Its design incorporates elements of both the Persian style of architecture and the Mughal style, though there are departures from the norm. The use of white marble instead of red sandstone is one such example. The success of the Mughal empire allowed for only the finest materials to be used, and to this day the mausoleum has little trouble impressing those who lay eyes on it. Taj Mahal facts see the amazing structure being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, and it is understandably one of India’s greatest tourist attractions.
Taking a Taj Mahal tour is the best way to get in touch with the history of the famous mausoleum. Official guides that speak English can be hired, and this is the best way to go. More often than not, those who are staying at one of the Agra hotels should have little trouble arranging such tours through the hotel staff.