You’ve probably heard of red roses being symbols of love. Or diamonds – but a palace? Yet the Taj Mahal essentially is a symbol of love! It is a beautiful palace and gardens that stands proudly alongside the River Yamuna in Arga, India. It was built by the fifth Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan as a magnificent tomb for his third and most beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Mumtaz was a Muslim Persian princess who died after giving birth to the couple’s 13th baby. It is said the emperor was so sad when she died that his hair and beard turned white soon after.
Before she died, the princess had asked the emperor to promise he would visit the palace on the anniversary of her death. Sadly, he was unable to keep the promise as his own son who was next in line for the throne kept him prisoner in the emperor’s own home for eight long years! Legend says that the emperor who was of poor health, used to stare longingly at the Taj Mahal through a special diamond he placed on his wall.
One big project!
As well as showing the world how much he loved his wife, Shah Jahan also wanted the Taj Mahal to represent purity and spirituality to mankind. Made from white marble and decorated with semi-precious stones which glitter in the moonlight, construction of this UNESCO World Heritage Site began way back in 1631 and ended in 1653 — a period of 22 years! In fact, it was such a huge project that it took 20,000 workers and 1,000 elephants to transport the materials to the building site!
A wonder of the world
The Taj Mahal is also classed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and as such attracts a whopping 7-8 million visitors a year! Why not find out about the other Wonders of the World — both old and new. If you could visit some of them one day, where would you go?
By Deborah L. Caine (Whyzz writer)