Sunday, December 03, 2006

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is a monument located in Agra, India, constructed in 22 years by a workforce of 22,000. The Muslim Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned its construction as a mausoleum for his favourite wife, Arjumand Bano Begum, who is better known as Mumtaz Mahal.

The Taj Mahal is generally considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements of Indian, Islamic and Persian architectures. The Taj Mahal has achieved special note because of the romance of its inspiration. While the white domed marble mausoleum is the most familiar part of the monument, the Taj Mahal is actually an integrated complex of structures.

Shah Jahan, who commissioned the monument, was a prolific patron with effectively limitless resources. He had previously created the gardens and palaces of Shalimar in honor of his wife, Mumtaz. After her death in childbirth Shah Jahan was reportedly inconsolable; the court chronicler 'Abd al-Hamid Lahawri tells us that before her death the emperor had but twenty white hairs in his beard, but thereafter many more. The contemporary court chroniclers paid an unusual amount of attention to Mumtaz Mahal's death and Shah Jahan's grief at her demise, and it may well be that the traditional "love-story"

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