17 Feb 2014

The Taj Mahal

I think most of us know the history of the Taj Mahal. According to our guide Taj means a crown and Mahal means Palace. So translated the Taj Mahal meant Crown Palace. It was built by the emperor Shah Jahan who was the grandson of the man who founded the Mogul empire - Akbar the Great . Shah Jahan had three wives and any number of concubines but his favourite was his beautiful first wife- the lovely Mumtaz, or sometimes known as Noor Jahan or the light of Jahan.Together they had 14 children. The King loved her so much that he could not bear to be separated from her even for a day, so the story goes. However at the age of 39, she died while giving birth to her last child. The grieving king himself was still in his early 40s but he never remarried and he vowed that he would house her remains in the most beautiful palace in the world. 

And so the Taj Mahal was designed - as a palace to put his lovely queen. It was made completely of white marble obtained from a all over India and the architect was imported from Persia.  It took him almost 22 long years to build it with thousands of workers from all over India and also from Persia and from Bukhara were hired to design and build this most magnificent  palace for his wife as her final resting place. But the story did not end here, nor is it a beautiful story. In fact it was a very sad tale. 

The King's third son, Auranzeb, angry at the wastage of public funds by Shah Jahan his father,  deposed him and placed him under house arrest. The now sickly king no longer took interest in the kingdom anyway and spent his final years in what is known as The Red Fort or Lal Qilla , gazing longingly at his wife's  mausoleum opposite his palace just across the Yamuna River. After the Taj Mahal was completed Shah Jahan planned to build a similar mausoleum for himself but this time using black marble as his own resting place. However his plans were never fulfilled. 

The Taj Mahal itself is not just a beautiful building - there is simply no words to describe its splendor and it's magnificence. Built totally of white marble it's colour changes hue at different times of the day. We were there just about the time of the setting sun and looking at it one realises why it is called one of the 7 wonders of the world. 
The Taj Mahal 

REpin in front of the Taj Mahal 

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