The Taj Mahal in is one of the best examples of Mughal architecture. It was built between 1632 and 1653, next to the Yamuna river in Agra, (read more about what to do in Agra) in the memory of beloved wife Mumtaaz of Emperor Shah Jahan.
From the 1983 it is recognized as UNESCO World Heritage and attracts around 7–8 million visitors a year. It is definitely one of the most impressive monuments in the world. It symbolizes the purity, love and pain. The Taj Mahal’s fascinating history hides many secrets that you have probably never heard about:
- The Taj Mahal is a tomb. The Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, commissioned to build the Taj Mahal when his third (and favorite) wife, Mumtaz Mahal died in 1631. Mumtaz Mahal died giving birth to the fourteenth child of the emperor.
- It took 22 years and 22,000 people to build this structure. The Taj Mahal was completed in 1653. Unfortunately the emperor Shah Jahan was not there to see it.
- The architect behind this piece of architecture was Ahmed Lahauri.
- The Taj Mahal is constructed only with white marble, brought from Rajasthan (North India), Afghanistan, Tibet and China.
- The Taj Mahal appears pink in the morning, white in the day and changes its color to golden in the moonlight.
- Another Taj Mahal was supposed to be built in black marble instead of white. The base of it still can be seen across the river.
- Over 1,000 elephants were used to transport building materials during the construction of the Taj Mahal.
- 28 types of precious and semi-precious stones were inlaid into the white marble that was used to construct this building.
- The Taj Mahal is perfectly symmetrical in every way, except for one thing: the two tombs inside are not equal in size. It’s because the male tomb had to be larger than the female tomb.
- The Taj Mahal cost about 32 million RS, which in today’s money would probably exceed $1 billion!
- The emperor Shah Jahan ordered every worker’s hand chopped off immediately after construction, so that no one could ever recreate the Taj Mahal.
- Despite being the creation of a Moghul king, the architecture of the Taj Mahal was globally inspired. It’s a fusion of Persian, Central Asian and Islamic architecture.