History of Agra, History of Taj Mahal

History of Taj Mahal

Tajmahal Agra is as beautiful as the splendid story behind its construction and thus experiencing the Tajmahal without being cognizant with its history is irrelevant. Tajmahal is a legendary story etched in stone by an Emperor for his beloved wife. The history of Tajmahal is the history of love a Mughal emperor for his Queen. Construction of this alluring monument began with the tragic death of Shahjahan’s beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.
Thus the story of Tajmahal underlay a wild passion that led Shahjahan to erect a marvelous structure as a real tribute to his wife. The enchanting monument, Tajmahal is so constructed that each and every corner of the monument expresses the beauty of Mumtaz Mahal.
It took almost 21 years to build thismarvel of white marble; the construction began in 1632 and was completed in the year 1648. . Standing on the banks of river Yamuna, the enchanting Tajmahal houses the tombs of the emperor Shahjahan and his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal.


The splendid love story begins in the year 1612, when Shahjahan(then Prince khurram) married Ajumand Bano, who was later entitled as Mumtaz Mahal. Both of them were so intensely in love with each other that Mumtaz Mahal accompanied Shahjahn to all his conquests.
During one such trip to Deccan where emperor went to war with Khan Jahanb Lodi, Mumtaz breathed her last breath on 17 june, 1631 during her fourteenth childbirth. It is believed that on her deathbed Mumtaz asked for four promises, the first one being that Shahjahan build a monument of love for her. Keeping the promise, Shahjahan began the construction of Tajmahal meaning ‘crown plaza’. However one school of thought believes that there was no such conversation and the grief stricken emperor himself decided to build this monument of love for his beloved wife. Whatever be the reason its true that the Emperor was heart broken at the death of his beloved wife and the Mughal court went into mourning for a span of more than two years.
Her body received a temporary burial in the Zainabadi garden in Burhanpur and with six months time her body was shifted to Agra. A plot was acquired from Raja Man Singh on the riverside for the purpose of constructing the Tajmahal. It is believed that the site was chosen because it was located on a bend in the river and could be seen from Shahjah’s personal palace in Agra Fort, which is further upstream.


While Mumtaz was lying on her deathbed, she asked four promises from the Emperor: the first one being that he build a monument of their love, second- that he should marry again, third- that he be kind to their children and the fourth one is that he visit the tomb on her death anniversary. Shahjahan kept the first and second promises. With effect to the first promise he built the Tajmahal, as a mausoleum of his beloved wife.


Tajmahal Agra is located on the banks of sacred river Yamuna and attracts tourists from all over the world to view the majestic Tajmahal. The romantic story that inspired the construction of Tajmahal enhances the aesthetic beauty of this mausoleum. It is believed that the splendid beauty, the Taj was built to keep one out of the four promises that Mumtaz had asked Shajahan to fulfill. Thus the Tajmahal is epitome of a man’s love for his wife.
Therefore it is best described as a’ monument of love’. Even after more than 350 years of its construction, Tajmahal has not lost its romantic aura and attracts millions of visitors from all over the world to experience it. Since then the Tajmahal has spun its magic on the lovers, poets, painters, artists, authors who treats the Tajmahal as the ‘temple of love’.
It is a deserving resting place for an emperor’s empress. It is generally believed that the Tajmahal, meaning crown plaza is an abbreviated version of Mumtaz mahal’s name, which means ‘Exalted one of the palace’


Tajmahal is a real tribute to the beautiful wife by a loving husband. The construction of the structure is such that it becomes obvious that Shahjahan must have had his beautiful wife in his mind while constructing the beautiful mausoleum. The cenotaph of the queen is inlaid with beautiful jewels. The workmanship is so exquisite that it has been described as “designed by giants and finished by jewelers”.


It is believed that the Tajmahal is a result of some twenty thousand workers toiling day and night for almost twenty-two years. A small town named after the deceased wife of the emperor, ‘Mumatazabad’ was built for the laborers. Now the same town is known as Taj Ganj.
As soon as the construction work began sculptors, masons, craftsmen, and calligraphers were called from Persia, Ottoman Empire and Europe to work construction of the Taj. The calligrapher of Taj Mahal was Amanat Khan Shirazi whose name occurs at the end of an inscription on one of the gates of the Taj. The verses on the tombstone were designed by poet Ghyasuddin and Ismail Khan Afridi of Turkey was the dome maker. The superintendent of Masons was Muhammad Hanif. The structure is believed to be designed by an Iranian architect Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. However according to a legend an Italian architect coordinated the pietra dura architectural work but there is no proof regarding that.
The material for the construction was brought from all over India and central Asia and it took a fleet of 1000 elephants to transport the material to the site. Red sand stone was brought from Fatehpur Sikri, Jasper from Punjab, Jade and Crystal from china, Turquoise from Tibet, Lapis Lazuli and Sapphire from Sri Lanka, Coal and Cornelian from Arabia and diamonds from Panna. For inlay work 28 kind of rare, semi precious and precious stones were used. The white marble was brought from the quarries of Makrana, in Rajasthan.
The beautiful monument was build at a cost of about 32 million rupees that nearly bankrupted the Mughal treasury. It is believed that after the construction of this splendid structure, Shahjahan had the hands of the artisans of the Tajmahal amputated with the fear that they might not construct another structure to rival the mighty Tajmahal.


The Tajmahal incorporates many designs and is a perfect blend of Hindu, Persian and Mughal architecture. Many Mughal and Timurid buildings had specific influences on the architecture of the Tajmahal. Humayun’s tomb and the tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan-I-khanna in Delhi inspired the model for the Taj with their dome-topped structure raised on a high platform. The Gur-e Amir, Itmad-ud-Daula and Shajahan’s own Jama Masjid in Delhi inspired the construction of the beautiful Tajmahal.


Tajmahal Agra is synonymous with India and is the most beautiful marble structure of the world. This beautiful structure is one of the most popular world heritage monuments on earth. It is more than 350 years since the Tajmahal was built in Agra and is still an unrivalled beauty the world over.
In the year 1983 it was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site and was described as a “universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”. Tajmahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. No other monument in the world can match its beauty and elegance.