History of Taj Mahal is the history of eternal love between Shah Jahan and Arjumand Banu Begum famous as Mumtaz Mahal who fell in love at first sight when they were at 15 and married at 20. After becoming emperor in 1628, Shah Jahan entrusted Arjumand Banu with the royal seal. He called her Mumtaz Mahal, "jewel of the palace." They were together on a military expedition south of Agra when she had their 14th child, a girl. Tragically she died soon after this birth when she was only 39. It was this event which inspired him to create this wonderful monument, the Taj Mahal, as a mausoleum in her memory. The focus of Taj Mahal is the white domed marble mausoleum which stands on a square plinth consisting of a symmetrical building with an iwan,an arch-shaped doorway. The white tomb is set against the plain across the river and it is in this background that the colors change at different hours of the day and during different seasons – pinkish in the morning, milky white in the evening and golden when the moon shines. The entire Taj Mahal complex consists of a number of buildings comprising of a mosque which stands to the west of the Taj Mahal is made from red sandstone, a guesthouse and the mausoleum, a long and beautiful walkway leads to the main mausoleum, four waterways divide the gardens that stand in front of the Taj into four parts and then, meet in a pool at the center .
I n 1612, Arjumand Banu Begam, a Muslim Persian princess better known by her other name, Mumtaz Mahal was married to Shah Jahan (then Prince Khurram), the fifth Mughal emperor. Mumtaz, the emperor's second wife, was her husband's comrade and counselor. An inseparable companion on all his journeys and military expeditions, she inspired the emperor to do acts of charity and benevolence towards the weak and the needy. Mumtaz bore 14 children, and when she died during childbirth in 1631, Shah Jahan was so heartbroken that all his hair and beard were said to have turned snow-white in a few months! Overpowered by grief, Shah Jahan decided to immortalize the memory of his beloved wife by building the finest sepulcher ever - a monument of eternal love. Herein lies the genesis of the Taj Mahal.
The construction documents show that its master architect was Ustad Ahmed Lahori, the renowned Islamic architect of his time. The much-celebrated saga of royal love was brought to life by dexterous and skilled artisans from places as far away as Delhi, Kannauj, Lahore, Multan, Baghdad, Shiraz and Bukhara.
Construction began in 1631, and over 20,000 workmen and master craftsmen worked laboriously for 22 years to give shape to the emperor's passionate dream! The material was brought in from all over India and central Asia and it took a fleet of 1,000 elephants to transport it to the site. The complex was finally completed in 1653 at a cost of 32 Million Rupees (approx USD 68000) on the banks of river Yamuna in Agra, the capital of the Mughal monarchs.
But the beauty of Taj Mahal is also tainted by the gory fact that the hands of some of the master craftsmen were amputated... to ensure that the perfection of the Taj could never be repeated ever again!.