A Legendary Love Story
One of the most beautiful buildings in the world is a monument of love. We know it as the Taj Mahal.
This is the story of the love between Khurram and Arjumand or, as we know them today, Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal.
The Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world, is a monument to the memory of Mumtaz.
The Mughal, or Mogul (also Moghul), Empire was an imperial power in the Indian subcontinent from about 1526 to 1757. The emperors were Muslims and direct descendants of Genghis Khan. They became essentially Persianised and transferred the Persian literary and high culture to India.
Khurram was the third son of the Mughal emperor Jahangir and the Rajput princess Manmati. He became emperor in February 1628, four months after Jahangir's death, and took the name Shah Jahan.
A Princess of the Persian nobility, Arjumand Banu Begum was born in 1593, the daughter of Abdul Hasan Asaf Khan.
It is said that Prince Khurram fell in love with her at the first sight. It was in 1607 that she was betrothed to Prince Khurram and soon became the unquestionable love of his life. Five years later in 1612, they were married and so started one of the most popular love stories of the world.
Although she was one of the three wives of Shah Jahan, she was his favourite and he bestowed her with the name Mumtaz Mahal meaning "Jewel of the Palace",
The Death of Mumtaz
Shah Jahan was grief-stricken when Mumtaz Mahal, died In 1631 during the birth of their 14th child,
Construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1632 as a mausoleum
A Legendary Love Story
The Koh-i-Nor Diamond
The Koh-i-Nor diamond was a treasure of the Moghul dynasty. Once the largest diamond known (originally 793 carats), Shah Jahan had this jewel set into his throne.
Jahan was dethroned by his own son and then imprisoned in Agra Fort, a walled city just a little to the north of the Taj Mahal. He had now lost his beloved Mumtaz, his rulership and his freedom, but he had the Koh-i-Nor with him.
It is said that the diamond was placed near a window of his prison in such a way that the stone could be used as a mirror to see the reflection of the Taj Mahal. So Shah Jahan had the most costly mirror in the world to see his equally priceless creation.
The Curse of The Koh-i-Nor
Legend tells us that Krishna wore the Koh-i-Nor on his sleeve, from where it was stolen one night. It is also said that the diamond bestows the power to rule the world, yet it carries a curse.
Over centuries, the diamond travelled through many hands, leaving havoc and chaos in its wake: Every empire to ever hold the diamond has fallen.
In 1850, the Koh-i-Nor Diamond was seized by the British forces as they took control of the Punjab, the last stronghold in India. The gemstone headed east, to England. Queen Victoria , hearing of the curse, first refused it, but eventually was persuaded otherwise, and since then, one by one, her colonies fought, and gained, independence. It took India 300 years.
The Taj Mahal
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Could you be a Legendary Lover?
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Have you ever visited the Taj Mahal?
© 2012 Susanna Duffy