Taj Mahal is one of the symbols of India and a tribute to a great love.

It is located in the state of Uttar Pradesh, in the city of Agra, near the south bank of the Yamuna River.

The story begins with a prince who fell in love with a princess, whom he married later on. The princess was called Arjumand Banu Begum, but she ended up being known as Mumtaz Mahal, which means “the chosen of the palace”, because she was the King’s favorite wife (among several). He was called Shah Jahan Bahadur, “The King of the World”, alluding to his military prowess.

When he was 39 years old, the Queen died during the birth of their fourteenth child. However, before that, she may have said that she would like to rest in a great mausoleum. Thus, the King ordered to build the Taj Mahal complex in a tribute to his favorite wife.

White marble was used to construct the mausoleum and several semiprecious stones were inlaid in it. The construction was supervised by the King himself, between 1631 and 1652, with more than 20000 workers.

The white marble used was almost in its entirety sculpted with drawings and passages from the Qur’an, the holy book of the Muslims. The mausoleum’s dome, 25 meters tall and with a bulbous shape, is the structure that stands out.

The King wanted to build his own mausoleum across the river, but this plan was never actually materialized.

When he lost his power, he was imprisoned and after his death he was placed in the Taj Mahal as well, so the mausoleum holds the mortal remains of both.

According to the legend, the King ordered to cut the right hand of the chief mason so that the monument could never be recreated. Even though the mausoleum is the main building, currently you have:

  • The great gate: also known as the “Gate of Heaven”, because symbolically speaking it represents the entrance into the spiritual world;
  • The garden: there’s a garden with 320 x 320 meters, between the great gate and the mausoleum. It’s divided into 4 areas by water channels. For Muslims, this garden represents the imaginary paradise;
  • Mosques: there’s a mosque in one of the sides of the Taj Mahal, turned to Mecca, and another one which is a replica, one that may have been built in order to keep the complex’s symmetry;
  • 4 Minarets surround the mausoleum in order to call the faithful to prayer.
  • Walls that enclose three sides of the complex, along with 8 watchtowers.

Taj Mahal is really a gorgeous place and tells a beautiful and tragic love story. I recommend visiting it at different times of the day, in order to see the various shades that it gains with brightness variation.