India at a Glance
Taj Mahal Attractions
Taj Mahal has a story that has been touching the hearts of millions of people ever since it was built. A story that is considered a living example of ‘eternal love’. The love story of the mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (Prince Kurram) and Mumtaz Mahal (Anjumand Banu Begum). Their love story began in 1607, in the streets of Meena Bazaar. While walking down Meena Bazaar, Shah Jahan caught a glimpse of a girl selling some silk wares. It was love at first sight and the girl was Mumtaj Mahal, known as Anjumand Bau Begum, at that time. Shah Jahan was 14 at that time and she, a Muslim Persian princess, was 15. After meeting her, Shah Jahan went to his father and told him that he wanted to marry her. The marriage was solemnized after five years, in 1612.
It was in the year 1628 that Shah Jahan became the Emperor and entrusted Arjumand Banu with the royal seal. He also bestowed her with the title of Mumtaz Mahal, meaning the "Jewel of the Palace". Though Shah Jahan had many wives, Mumtaj Mahal was his favorite.In 1631, Shah Jahan, during the Mughal empire's period of greatest prosperity, was grief-stricken when, Mumtaz Mahal died during the birth of their fourteenth child due to some complications. While Mumtaz was on her deathbed, Shah Jahan promised her that he would never remarry and will build the richest mausoleum over her grave. The construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1632, one year after her death..The principal mausoleum was completed in 1648 and the surrounding buildings and garden were finished five years later.
Myth About Black Taj Mahal
According to the Black Taj myth, Shah Jahan had planned to build mirror image of the Taj Mahal he built for Mumtaz, albeit in black, on the other side of the river and connect the two by a bridge. This Black Taj was to be dedicated to Shah Jahan himself. The legend of the Black Taj further goes on to suggest that it could not be erected, because, before this could happen, Shah Jahan got toppled by his son, Aurangzeb. Some ruins of a black marble structure are said to have been found across the river. These ruins are believed to be those of the alleged Black Taj Mahal. However, later, it was discovered that the marble that was used had become black from staining.
Interesting Facts about Taj Mahal
The tomb is the central focus of the entire complex of the Taj Mahal. This large, white marble structure stands on a square plinth and consists of a symmetrical building with an iwan (an arch-shaped doorway) topped by a large dome and finial. Like most Mughal tombs, the basic elements are Persian in origin.
The exterior decorations of the Taj Mahal are among the finest in Mughal architecture As the surface area changes the decorations are refined proportionally. The decorative elements were created by applying paint, stucco, stone inlays, or carvings. In line with the Islamic prohibition against the use of anthropomorphic forms, the decorative elements can be grouped into either calligraphy abstract forms or vegetative motifs. Throughout the complex, passages from the Qur'an are used as decorative elements.