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A symbol of eternal love, Taj is one of the world's most famous and beautiful buildings. Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built Taj in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. In 1631, Mumtaz Mahal died during the birth of their 14th child, Gauhara Begum, when Shah Jahan was on an expedition to the south and, like always, Mumtaz Mahal accompanied him. When Mumtaz Mahal died, she was just 39 years old. She was the emperor's beloved wife and Shah Jahan's trusted companion, travelling with him all over the Mughal Empire.
Initially known as Prince Khurram, Shah Jahan met Persian Princes ‘Arjumand Banu’ and fell in love with her. After five years, in 1612, they got married. In 1628, Shah Jahan became emperor, and he bestowed her with the title ‘Mumtaj Mahal’, meaning ‘Jewel of Palace.’
On the death of Mumtaj, Emperor was so heartbroken that he ordered the court into mourning for two years. Sometime after her death, Shah Jahan decided to erect the world's most beautiful monument in the memory of his beloved. Before she passed, she had her husband promise to build something unique in her memory.
Taj Mahal stands in the city of Agra, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, on the banks of the Yamuna River. It took 22 years and the labour of 22,000 workers to construct the monument, which is also said to be the last wish of Mumtaz Mahal.
Built as the ultimate expression of love, Taj remained a fascination for many poets and lovers.
Here are lines from a very beautiful song written by Shakeel Badayuni:
"Ek Shahanshaah Ne Banavaa Ke Hasi.N Taajamahal
Saarii Duniyaa Ko Muhabbat Kii Nishaanii Dii Hai"
(In having the beautiful Taj Mahal built, an emperor has given the whole world a token of love."
Rabindranath Tagore described Taj as "a teardrop on the cheeks of time".
Emperor Shah Jahan himself described the Taj in these words:
Should guilty seek asylum here,
Like one pardoned, he becomes free from sin.
Should a sinner make his way to this mansion,
All his past sins are to be washed away.
The sight of this mansion creates sorrowing sighs;
And the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes.
In this world, this edifice has been made;
To display thereby the creator's glory.
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."
Located in Agra, once the capital of the Mughal Empire during the 16th and early 18th centuries, Taj is the centre of pilgrimage. Tourists from all over the world visit Agra to see Taj. It is 125 km south of New Delhi, the capital of India. Travelling through the road route takes you approx 4 hours to reach Agra from Delhi. There are regular luxury bus and coach services between Delhi and Agra. If you catch a flight from Delhi to Agra, in just 30 minutes, you find yourself at the Kheria Airport of Agra, 7 km from the city centre and 3 km from the railway station.
There are different entrance gates to visit Taj. The main entrance gate is made of red sandstone. It is 150 ft. wide and nearly 100 ft. high and consists of a lofty central arch with double-storeyed wings on either side. The whole courtyard of the Taj is framed in symmetrical. The only asymmetrical object in the Taj is the casket of the emperor, which was built beside the queens as an afterthought. The symmetry of the structure is there even in the flowerbeds and the small gardens dotting the place.
The real tragic part of the love story lies in the final years of Shah Jahan. When he was 65, his son Aurangzeb imprisoned him in Red Fort at Agra and became the throne's successor. While he was in prison, he somehow managed to gaze at Taj from the grill of prison.
Surrounded by beautiful gardens and fountains Taj attracts you to see the ultimate beauty designed in stones. A green carpet of the garden runs from the main gate to the foot of the Taj Mahal. According to the holy Koran, a garden is symbolic of paradise.
I visited Taj while my recent visit to Delhi on the 23rd of February. I went to Delhi to receive Bhawana, who was coming from Australia, and we planned to visit Agra before coming back to our place. It was an all-time fascination for me to be there and breathe in the air touching Taj. The beauty of the Taj has everything to create lifelong impressions on everybody's mind. I still feel all vibrations; I felt being over there. Though it was a concise visit, we really enjoyed being there. Our 'guide boy' described all details related to Taj. The monument's size looked huge as we entered, but as we approached it, it just receded to its actual size. This is called geometric illusion.
Very interestingly, Taj changes colours with changing daylight. It is built to reflect the sky, pinkish in the morning, milky white in the evening, and golden by moonlight. As the day turns to night and the sun completes its journey, and the moon comes to heal the world; Taj becomes a mystery in itself. You may even forget to breathe or blink, wondering it to be real or some illusion. Changing the colours of the Taj is said to signify the changing moods of a woman.
Impressed by the flawless beauty of the Taj, I wish to visit Taj again and again. Long live Taj and long live feelings of undying love, it is made for.
The article is written in 2011, so the dates mentioned regarding my visit to Taj belongs to 2011
Taj Mahal: Music of Ancient India
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2011 Jaspal Singh
Jaspal Singh (author) from India / Australia on May 04, 2020:
Muhammed Saleem. Thanks for your valuable comments.
Mytravelcon from India on August 12, 2018:
Good write up. But visitors have lots of confusion about the history and Myths about Taj Mahal.
So this video might answer their questions:
Day Trip Taj Mahal from Delhi from Agra on July 17, 2017:
in India every indian has dream to visit once in thier life. so Taj Mahal become Makka for every citizen of India. We ( Taj Mahal Cabs ) fullfill thier Dream - tajmahalcabs.com
Muhammed Saleem on September 29, 2016:
LOVE you Paji
You write so easily for the Beautifull History of the world Understanding to the simple and Better
Sunil Kumar Kunnoth from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on June 27, 2014:
Good one. Informative and prompting to make a visit there. Though I went to Delhi and nearby place, I've never been to this beautiful monument of India. But surely, it is my target and I will land here in the near future. Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world, and everyone especially, we the Indians should at least visit the beauty spot once in our life time. Thank you for sharing.
Jaspal Singh (author) from India / Australia on September 16, 2012:
Dear Rusti. Thanks for reading and adding your appreciating words. Your words are really valuable. Thanks again.
Ruth McCollum from Lake Oswego, Oregon on September 07, 2012:
I just read an article about Princess Diana, she was pictured sitting in front of it. i couldn't help but be amazed by the beauty of it. I would like to see it someday for real. Thankyou for explaining the meaning of it and why it is there. It truly is spectacular ,as was your article on it!
Jessee R from Gurgaon, India on April 21, 2012:
A great hub and an amazing tribute to the world's most prized possession according to me..
Great work Sir!
Subhas from New Delhi, India on April 19, 2012:
You have rekindled the passion inside me to visit this masterpiece again. I have visited this place eight times and would like to visit it at least 92 more times to make it a 100.
Sushmita from Kolkata, India on April 07, 2012:
Jaspal, Taj is something that probably the Indians fantasize about and the foreign tourists consider as the one tourist spot on their map of 'must visit'. I have been several times to the Taj,and Agra is one of my favorite cities. The beauty of Taj to me is in the stupendous ability of science and engineering that is displayed in this monument, combined with the playfulness and aesthetic excellence, that only a very Romantic and creative person can visualize. As the actual designer of the Taj is not known, the praise cannot be bestowed where it belongs; but the Mogul emperors, particularly Akbar onwards were men who were not just the 'conqueror emperors' as the rest in the world. These men did have a strong sense of pure beauty and grandeur; that has been our inheritance.
Also, if you will allow me, I will like to tell @Aamna Aamad that the sense of Romantic love, as we understand it today, is a very western concept. Love in the eastern and the Mediterranean was a Divine feeling, mostly ascribed to religion or institution or guru or parent and for the Procreator, in whatever form we were thinking of him. Judging the love of Shah Jahan and Mumtaj by our standards may not be very appropriate, the historical perspective needs to be there. If a man today was to dedicate a mausoleum to his third wife who died in childbirth due to negligence of the husband would definitely not be applauded. Jaspal, the Hub has been value added by the two videos and I hope people will take some time out to listen and view both to get the ambiance you have tried to create. Well written and voted up- interesting and beautiful.
dinkan53 from India on February 28, 2012:
@Jaspals Beautiful pictures and interesting article. Please take care of the spelling of the heading, I think it is Taj Mahal and not Mehal. Rated as interesting.
Angela Kane from Las Vegas, Nevada on February 27, 2012:
Very good hub and information, thank you. I voted it up and useful.
Mahaveer Sanglikar from Pune, India on February 26, 2012:
It is a great Hub. Thank you for sharing it. Voted up and shared with my followers and facebook friends.
Jaspal Singh (author) from India / Australia on February 26, 2012:
Dear Ruchira. Thanks for reading and adding your valuable comments. Taj Mahal is one of the best preserved and definitely one of the greatest man-made structures in the world. It is widely considered as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world and stands as a symbol of eternal love.
Ruchira from United States on February 26, 2012:
A beautiful monument indeed. I got the opportunity to see this couple of years back. Wonderful write up.
Jaspal Singh (author) from India / Australia on January 30, 2012:
@DilipChandra. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder! But in regard to Taj Mahal, the axiom is just the other way round.The Taj is the beauty personified! The Taj displays its different moods through its varied shades. The Taj has as many shades as any kind of beauty can ever have! The Taj is pinkish in the morning, milky white in the evening, golden when the moon shines and the intermediary variants during different hours of the day and during different seasons in a year. It certainly belongs to Lovers.
Jaspal Singh (author) from India / Australia on January 30, 2012:
@angelladywriter. Thanks for your valuable and encouraging comments. Taj, surely, deserves your visit once and more.
Claudette Coleman Carter from Media, Pennsylvania on August 17, 2011:
Jaspals, you write beautiful hubs full of information and history. Keep up the good work. These are places I will probably never get to travel to. It is encouraging to see your professional looking photos and interesting information.
Dilip Chandra from India on August 10, 2011:
Beautiful Hub Jaspals.... Taj is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world and a symbol for love :)
professionalhub from Pakistan on July 31, 2011:
No doubt Taj Mehal is very beautiful.But we should not forget the dark side of it. It was constructed by using the money of poor people.The hands of all the masons were cut off soon after the completion of Taj Mehal so that they could not be able to built such a wonderful Mehal again.I don't believe that a person who love somebody is so cruel to other people
Ashraf Mir from Dhaka on July 27, 2011:
World people are divided into two groups-one has visited The Taj and the other hasn't. I'm in the second group. I wish some day I'll visit the wonderful monument in Agra. Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures.
Jaspal Singh (author) from India / Australia on July 24, 2011:
@Chanroth. Taj is really a wonderful monument. You must see it some time. Thanks for your comment.
chanroth from California, USA on July 24, 2011:
This is fascinating! I never knew about this, very interesting! Thank you! :)I would wish to go there someday!
Jaspal Singh (author) from India / Australia on July 21, 2011:
@ Lovaza. I wish your dream come true very soon. You are welcome to visit TAJ. Thanks for your VALUABLE comment.
lovaza on July 21, 2011:
What fascinating monument for a beloved one! I always marvel its beauty and hope one day to visit...right now it's in my dreams. Thank you for sharing about the Taj Mahal. :)
Mandeep Singh sachdev on July 16, 2011:
Jaspal the hidden talent of yours I never knew . Keep it up and keep me posted.
Jaspal Singh (author) from India / Australia on June 29, 2011:
@Saffim. Thanks for adding your valuable comments. The beauty of this astronishing monument is such that the words are not sufficient for its description. Standing majestically on the bank of River Yamuna, Taj Mahal is a second name of love and romance. This great structure is made up of pure white marble and red sandstone, with 28 types of precious stones.
saffim from Nigeria on June 29, 2011:
I agree with you the Taj is definitely one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. It looks like it was just lowered from the sky rather than built. I hope to visit it someday.
Aamna Aamad from Pakistan on June 22, 2011:
For sure i will keep searching coz this has ended up in confusion
Jaspal Singh (author) from India / Australia on June 22, 2011:
@Aamna Aamad. History is a subject we always get mixed and distorted views. Even then if some controversy arises, we should rely only on authentic source. Information taken from personal blogs without some authentic reference can't be taken to make some final verdict. Let't try to find more authentic source. I am also working on same. Be in touch to find TRUTH. Jaspal
Jaspal Singh (author) from India / Australia on June 21, 2011:
Dear Aamna. I never know this fact. Even tried to find this but nothing authentic is available. If you have some information, you are welcome to share. I appreciate your interest here in topic.
Aamna Aamad from Pakistan on June 21, 2011:
And jaspal dear i agree with the statements that she was dearer then the other two wives but what about the fourth wife? mumtaz's sister, did he marry her so that he could memorize her as mumtaz :-)
these kings were not aware of what love is dear me
Jaspal Singh (author) from India / Australia on June 20, 2011:
@Aamna Aamad. Thanks for adding your comments. Today, the Taj Mahal stands as the ultimate monument to love, and an homage to beauty of Mumtaj. She was Emperor's third wife and was his favorite. She was his constant companion and trusted confidante, and their relationship was intense.Although he was having two other wives and Mumtaj was third wife, he was having all attachments with Mumtaj only. According to the official court chronicler, Motamid Khan (as recorded in his Iqbal Namah-e-Jahangiri), the relationship with his other wives "had nothing more than the status of marriage".
Aamna Aamad from Pakistan on June 19, 2011:
Jaspal please correct me if i am wrong anywhere, what i have heard is Shah Jahan (then 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, their marriage was solemnized and from then on, started one of the most popular love stories of the world. Although she was one of the three wives of Shah Jahan.she died in 1631, while giving birth to their 14th child and soon after her death shah jahan married her younger sister.
no doubt there is no alternate for taj mahal but love was only in building a monument, i don't find love throughout her biography, third wife, fourteenth child and marrying her sister.
what do u say?
sonia05 from india on June 17, 2011:
great hub! We have admired Taj Mahal right from our childhood and feel proud that this majestic and beautiful monument which is symbol of love,is in our country! voted up awesome!
ParadiseForever from Chennai, India. on May 17, 2011:
Very minute historical details of Taj are very elaborate and unique. Great informative hub. Even though I am Indian, no chance of visiting this wonderful Love Monument so far. Keep writing!
Jaspal Singh (author) from India / Australia on May 02, 2011:
Dear Shampa Sadhya. Thanks a lot for your words. You are right. This monument belongs to feeling of undying love, so it has to be beautiful.Thanks for reading Hub.
Jaspal Singh (author) from India / Australia on May 02, 2011:
Dear Bhawana. Thanks for appreciating this hub. We visited this monument of Love together.
Shampa Sadhya from NEW DELHI, INDIA on May 02, 2011:
History students will definitely benefit from the minute details mentioned in your hub.
Other than history, this hub deals with "love monument" and quite naturally it's ought to be beautiful.
Bhawana from Australia on April 16, 2011:
Jaspal this monument is symbol of love and beleieve in eternity.And ur writng for this shows ur love for a heavenly abode.good luck.