The Jewel of Muslim Art

The Taj Mahal

The Crown of Palaces

The Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. A mausoleum is a big burial chamber that is usually above the ground. It was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The emperor was filled with grief when his wife died after the birth of their fourteenth child. Construction on the building started in 1632, and the main mausoleum was completed in 1648. It took another five years for the surrounding buildings and gardens to be finished. The whole structure took about twenty years to build. Shah Jahan wanted the Taj Majal to be the greatest and most unique mausoleum on Earth so it took a lot of planning.

Construction Timeline

@1592 Shah Jahan was born on January 15.

@1593 Mumtaz Mahal was born.

@1612 Shah Jahan married Mumtaz Muhal.

@1627 Shah Jahan became emperor.

@1631 Mumtaz Mahl died following childbirth.

@1632 Construction of the Taj Mahal, Mumtaz Mahal's tomb, began

@1643 The mausoleum and some of the surrounding buildings were completed.

@1653 The rest of the surrounding buildings and gardens were completed.

@1666 Shah Jahan died and is buried next to Mumtaz Mahal, his favorite wife.

@1861 The Archeological Survey was created to preserve monuments of India and to

restore the Taj Mahal and other buildings.

A Beautifufl Tribute

No one knows for sure who designed the Taj Mahal, but Mir Abd al-Karin and Makramat Khan's names are often associated with the structure. In 1642, Father Sebastian Manrique, a monk traveling around India, wrote that the Italian Geronimo Veroneo was the architect. Later in 1844, many believed that the Frenchman Austin de Bordeaux was the architect. The land was given by Raja Jai Singh. It is said that the land is one of the most beautiful in India and that the honor would have been just for a man to donate it to the emperor, but Raja Jai Singh was given a mansion in return for the land that would house one of the greatest showing of love to date. When Mumtaz Mahal first died, a processional that would take her body about 435 took her body near the sight of the Taj Mahal, where she was temporarily buried until the "structure of love" could be erected. The mourners were dressed in white, which is the Muslim color of mourning, and rode on elephants covered in gold and velvet cloth. The people of India came out to pay their respect to the deceased wife of the emperor and to show his gratitude the poor were given food, gold, and silver along the way. Shah Juhan knew that this would make his wife happy because she was a champion of the poor.

Inside and Out

There are so many great things to see at the Taj Mahal. There is a garden, a pool, and the many designs that make up the intricate rooms of the mausoleum. The central chamber is located underneath the main dome. It is shaped like an octagon. Each of the eight sides is an entrance into the room. In the center of the room is two cenotaphs, which represent the graves of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. The crypt is really where the two are buried. This room is plane because Muslims don't believe in decoration in death, but their cenotaphs are decked out in jewels. There are connecting champers for the two floors. During World War II, the Taj Mahal was guarded because there was a fear that the Japanese would bomb it. Then,