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India Tourism » Discover Taj Mahal » Story of Making Taj Mahal
Story of Making Taj Mahal
A yellowish copy of an old portrait appears in every travel booklet in India. The portrayed lady gently gazes upon tourists from all over the world.
Her dark eyes were once softly shining like deep water in moonlight. Her exquisite beauty once cast a spell on a king. She married him in 1612, when he was still Prince Khurram. He fell for her at first sight when they were both 15 in 1607. Ever since that time, it had been Khurram’s dream to marry her. But before his wish came true, he had to marry a Persian princess first for political reasons. His beloved, therefore, had to settle for the strange role of second wife in his harem.
In Khurram’s heart, however, she was always first. Even before Prince Khurram became King Shah Jahan, he had changed her name from Arjmand Banu Begam to Mumtaz Mahal, which meant “the most beautiful crown of the palace.”
Once in a war, Shah Jahan missed Mumtaz so much that he wrote a poem to her :
When my mind and body hungered for you My spirit burned to death Your love reaching from a far Breathed life into my dead ashes. As the love of God once did to create men Visitors pass through the gate house to enter the Taj Mahal. The gate is made of red sandstone and marble. He was more and more attached to her through the years of marriage. War had been the only cause of his departure from her. But later, even war could not separate them anymore. She began to go to the battlefield with him, even when she was pregnant.
She was the only woman that bore him children. She gave birth to 14 children in 19 years of marriage. However, the 14th childbirth took her life.
For seven days and seven nights after her death, the King didn’t eat. On the eighth day, he finally walked out of his chamber. The servants and guards were all shocked to see that his hair had turned from black to gray. He put on white mourning clothes and ordered the construction of a most beautiful monument. The chosen material was pure white marble, symbolizing his flawless memory of her.
After 17 years of toil by more than 20,000 craftsmen and laborers, the miraculous construction of the mausoleum was completed. The year was 1648. Mirrored by a crystal clear manmade pond in front and the slate blue Yamuna River behind, the peerless monument was named the Taj Mahal.
In 1666, when Shah Jahan was on his deathbed, his last wish was to be carried to a window facing the Taj Mahal, to whisper again the name of his lifelong love. With the flow of the Yamuna River, hundreds of years have passed. Now, in 2006, the Taj Mahal is still located in Agra, the kingdom’s old capital city.
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