Perhaps the greatest love story is that which saw Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan build a magnificent monument, the Taj Mahal, as a tribute to his wife and Queen, Begum Mumtaz Mahal, a Persian princess who died giving birth to their 14th child.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World because of its immense beauty, the Taj Mahal was constructed on the banks of the Yamuna River in Agra between 1631 and 1648. Universally admired, the Taj Mahal is considered the greatest architectural achievement of all Indo-Islamic architecture.
Solids and voids, concave and convex, light and shadow rhythmically merge while tall arches and domes flow freely into one another. Lush lawns and reddish pathways line the reflections in the mirrored water, and the blue sky frames the monument and its ever-changing mood. Relief works in marble, with precious and semiprecious stone inlays, set the structure apart.
A marvel of Mughal architecture and at the crossroads of Islamic, Iranian, Persian, and Indian styles, Begum Mumtaz Mahal’s tomb is the central focus of the entire complex of the Taj Mahal. A large, white marble structure mounted on a square plinth with an arch-shaped doorway topped by a large dome. Beyond, discover a set of buildings, gardens, lakes, and fountains perfectly contained within the rectangular grounds, including two mosques, one not in use because it doesn’t face Mecca.
Visiting at different times of day means witnessing the white marble of the Taj Mahal take on different shades of pale, while during a full moon the dome seems to glow from the inside out in the moonlight. A symbol of dedication and love, the Taj Mahal stands as the pride of India and has been melting the hearts of millions with its story since its completion, leaving its viewers awestruck by its grandeur.
The Taj Mahal is India’s emblematic monument, like the Statue of Liberty for the United States, the Eiffel Tower for France, and the statue of Christ the Redeemer for Brazil.
Taj Mahal is not just a monument, but a symbol of love. ― Suman Pokhrel
** This post forms part of my 100x Magical Places series which offers an introduction to my favourite destinations.