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Brief History Of Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is famous throughout the world as the ultimate symbol of love. It is also deemed as one of the Seven Wonders in existence in the world. Its beautiful white marble shines in the moonlight evoking feels of love, adoration and desire. However, there is more to Taj Mahal than its beauty. If you look into the history of Taj Mahal, you will realize that though this structure was built to symbolize eternal love, it also has remorse and loss associated with it.
The history of the Taj Mahal lies in the love that Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor of India, had for his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal. Prior to her marriage, this Persian beauty was known as Pricess Arjumand Banu Begum. Shah Jahan was the son of Jehangir and the grandson of the famous Mughal emperor Akbar. He was just fourteen years old when he fell in love Mumtaz Mahal and this was one love that culminated in marriage when Shah Jahan was 19 years old. The couple got married in 1612.
It is said that the couple were inseparable. They were constantly together and when she died in child birth in 1631, Shah Jahan was heart broken. Mumtaz Mahal at that time was in labor for the couple's fourteenth child. After his wife's death, Shah Jahan was inconsolable. He could not imagine a life without the love of his life. In order to ensure that her memory never faded from his life, he decided to build a monument. This monument of course was the Taj Mahal.
The construction for the monument began in 1631 and artists and craftsman from all over the empire were called to build it. In addition, the emperor also called upon masons, inlayers, stone cutters, painters, carvers, dome builders and calligraphers from central part of Asia as well as Iran. He wanted the monument to be as beautiful and magnificent as his wife, and hence, the construction of Taj Mahal took twenty-two years. It is claimed that around twenty-two thousand workers and a thousand elephants were required to pull the marble slabs and work on them. The whitest of white marble slabs were sourced from across India and the central part of Asia. It is estimated that in 1653 when the Taj Mahal was finally completed, it had cost the emperor and his empire around $68,000, which was a huge amount during those days.
It is really ironic that the moment the Taj Mahal was completed, Shah Jahan's son, Aurangzeb, overthrew him and took over the empire. Poor Shah Jahan was arrested and place in Agra Fort, which was located close to the mausoleum, but on the other bank of Yamuna River. According to legends and stories, when Shah Jahan was placed in the Agra Fort, he requested for cell that had a window overlooking the Taj Mahal, and he would spend his entire day gazing out of the window staring at the white structure of the mausoleum that symbolized his eternal love for his wife.
When the British occupied India, it was a British viceroy named Lord Curzon who ordered that the mausoleum undergo restoration. This occurred at the end of the nineteenth century and the restoration was finished in 1908. The restoration was undertaken as during the rebellion in 1857, British soldiers had defaced the mausoleum by removing the precious and semi-precious stones embedded in the walls. It was during this time that the British also laid gardens around the Taj Mahal, a fact that is visible even today.
Today, the Taj Mahal is threatened by environment pollution and worries are there that by 2016 the structure may collapse. So, efforts are being to ensure that this marvelous and beautiful structure that symbolizes love all over the world is preserved and protected.
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