The Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Located in the Northern Indian city of Agra in the state of Uttar Pradesh, near the capital New Delhi, the Taj Mahal is the world’s most splendid mausoleum which houses the tombs of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (1592-1666) and his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Built in the 17th century, the Taj Mahal is an architectural marvel, surrounded by lush green gardens. It also houses a mosque and guest house inside the complex.
Here are some interesting facts about the Taj Mahal
Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal
The Mughal empire was the most powerful and wealthy empire in the world during the reign of Shah Jahan (the Emperor of the World). He extended the empire into deep south of India, and in the north it stretched to as far as Central Asia. It wasn’t, however raw power, the empire also commanded a lion’s share of world’s commerce. This was a period when poetry and arts flourished in India. Shah Jahan, besides being an efficient administrator, is said to have admired poetry. One of his wives, Mumtaz Mahal (the selected one in the palace) shared many of his interests and thus became his favourite wife.
Mumtaz Mahal’s death
Medical technology hadn’t advanced much in the 16th century. So Shah Jahan found himself helpless when he saw Mumtaz Mahal dying during childbirth. Legend has it that the queen, made Shah Jahan promise her at deathbed that he would make the most spectacular tomb in the world for her. The emperor promised and he would stay true to his words.
Mumtaz Mahal died in 1631. The same year marks the beginning of the construction of the Taj Mahal. The emperor poured in a vast amount of resources in the construction. Architects and skilled workers were hired from as far as Iraq and Turkey, and more than 20,000 artisans worked on the construction of this magnificent monument during 18 years. Although the marble building is widely recognised for its external beauty, the interiors and the walls boasts of one of the most beautiful examples of calligraphy and designs.
How to get to the Taj Mahal?
It has been four centuries and this monument of love still stands erect, enchanting people from all over the world with its beauty. Over a million tourists come to witness this beauty every year in Agra. The city is accessible by air, train and road.
There are no international flights to Agra Airport but some domestic airlines offer flights from other Indian cities. You can check websites, including MakeMyTrip or Yatra to check if there is a flight from your city. You can always fly to Delhi and then take a coach, train, taxi or pre-booked government trips to Agra from the capital.
Virtually all cities in India are connected directly or indirectly to Agra. There are more than twenty trains a day from Delhi alone. You can check timings and book a ticket to Agra at the website of the Indian Railways (http://www.indianrail.gov.in). Here’s how to book train tickets in India.
There are two main ways to get to Agra through road: bus (coach) and taxi. The bus service has a relatively poor representation on the internet (you will have to ask locals) but you can book a taxi or ask your hotel to help you out and arrange pre-booked transport.
Taj Mahal construction, specification and history