History of Taj Mahal

The construction of Taj Mahal is credited to the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan who erected this mausoleum in memory of his beloved wife, Arjumarid Bano Begum; popularly known as Mumtaz Mahal, who died in A.H. 1040 (A.D. 1630).

Mumtaz Mahal last wish to her husband was "to build a tomb in her memory such as the world had never seen before". Thus emperor Shah Jahan set about building this fairy tale like marvel.

The construction of Taj Mahal was started in A.D. 1632 and completed at the ended in 1648 A.D. For seventeen years, twenty thousand workmen are said to have been employed on it daily, for their accommodation a small town, named after the deceased empress- 'Mumtazabad', now known as Taj Ganj, was built adjacent to it.

Taj Mahal calligrapher was Amanat Khan Shirazi, his name occurs at the end of an inscription on one of the gates of the Taj. Poet Ghiyasuddin had designed the verses on the tombstone, while Ismail Khan Afridi of Turkey was the dome maker. Muhammad Hanif was the superintendent of Masons.

Taj Mahal was designed by Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. The material was brought in from allover India and central Asia and it took a fleet of 1000 elephants to transport it to the site. The central dome is 187 ft. high at the centre.

Red sandstone was brought from Fatehpur Sikri, Jasper from Punjab, Jade and Crystal from China, Turquoise from Tibet, Lapis Lazuli and Sapphire from Sri Lanka, Coal & Comelian from Arabia and Diamonds from Panna. In all 28 kind of rare, semi precious and precious stones were used for inlay work in the Taj Mahal.

The white marble was brought from the quarries of Makrana, in distt. Nagaur, Rajasthan. Copies of orders (farmans) issued to Raja Jai Singh, for the purpose by Shah Jahan, can be seen in the Taj Museum.

Taj Mahal's outer court, also known as Jilo Khana, was formerly used both as a bazar and a caravansarai (Rest house). On the south-east and south-west comers are the tombs of Sirhindi Begum and Satiunnisa Khanum. The Taj has a jewel-like quality.

Some feel the Taj is best seen on a full moon night, others find it ethereal at dawn while some insist that it is sensuous at sunset.

The shadow and light play demonstrates its many moods.