Asian Historical Monuments: Taj Mahal

With an extensive array of religions, rulers, and empires, India has a multitude of ancient site and attractions for tourists visiting the Asia. For starters, the Taj Mahal is a stunning example of architecture, which leads many to forget the true purpose of this historical attraction.

Containing the body of Mumtaz Mahal , the third wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, the Taj Mahal was actually a tomb. The emperor built the structure to pay homage to the love he felt for his wife. With a history that traces back to 1630 AD, the Taj Mahal is comprised of marble. Before it was complete, it took 22 years of labor with the help of 20,000 workers. Visitors to this site often marvel at the fascinating manner in which the Taj Mahal’s color seems to gradually change with varied amounts of daylight.

8 Facts About the Taj Mahal

1.    One of the most striking features of the Taj Mahal is the white domed appearance.

2.    The nickname of the Taj Mahal is ‘the Taj.’

3.    Many feel that the Taj Mahal represents one of the best examples of Mughal architecture, which blends various styles of design, such as Persian, Islamic, and Indian.

4.    The Taj Mahal was granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1983, as it was seen as one of the most stunning examples of Muslim art in India.

5.    The tomb serves as the primary focus of the complex, showcasing an arch-shaped doorway with a large dome and finial overhead.

6.    Exterior decorative features include paint, stone inlays, carvings, and stucco. Flowerbeds, reflecting pools, trees, and fountains are just some of the elements found in the surrounding gardens. In earlier times of the Taj Mahal, roses, daffodils, and fruit trees grew in abundance, but soon declined as the upkeep of the Mughal Empire suffered.

7.    Sadly, Shah Jahan’s wife (Mumtaz) never got a chance to see the Taj Mahal, as it was built in tribute of her life. In 1631, she died while giving birth to their 14th child, Gauhara Begum. Almost immediately after the completion of the Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan was overthrown by his son Aurangzeb, who placed the ruler under house arrest until his death, where the same son buried his body in the mausoleum next to his beloved wife.

8.    The following passage attributed to Shah Jahan depicts how he felt about the Taj Mahal:

“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.”