The Taj Mahal which is one of the highly admired structures of world's heritage was built by a Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is considered to be one of the finest structures of Mughal and Persian architecture.
Shah Jahan was born in 1592, while his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal was born in 1593. They married in 1612 and had seven children. In 1628 Shah Jahan became the Mughal Emperor. Only three years later his beloved wife died shortly after childbirth. In 1632 Shah Jahan began the project of building a mausoleum, or tomb for his wife, the Taj Mahal. The grief stricken Shah Jahan decided to make this beautiful structure in the memory of her beloved wife Mumtaz. Thousands of craftsmen and artisans were employed for the construction of Taj Mahal.
The Taj Mahal is located on the banks of the Yamuna River. It took twenty-two years to complete with an estimated 20,000 workers. The building is surrounded by four 138 ft. minarets and sits on a 315 ft. square marble platform. Each side has a 110 ft. arch and center dome is around 200 ft. high. The building is built in an Islamic style of architecture.
Centered in the building is a tomb for Mumtaz Mahal. Next to her tomb, is the tomb for Shah Jahan. The tombs in the building are empty. The bodies of the two are buried in a crypt below the building. The entire plan of the Taj Mahal is symmetrical, with one exception. Symmetrical means that one side of the building could mirror the other side if cut down in the middle. The only exception is the tomb of Shah Jahan which was added later to the building.
There is a story which suggests that Shah Jahan was planning on building a replica of the Taj Mahal for himself on the other side of the river, though no evidence or plans of this has ever been found. Shah Jahan was overthrown by his own son and imprisoned in the Red Fort within sight of the Taj Mahal. He was forced to spend the last eight years of his life in prison till his death in 1666.
In the year 1893, Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.