The Taj Mahal is one of the most grandiose buildings located on the territory of India; annually the number of visitors to the majestic mausoleum exceeds 5 million people. Tourists are attracted not only by the beauty of the structure, but also by the beautiful history associated with it. The mausoleum was erected by order of the padishah of the Mughal Empire, who wished to tell the whole world about his longing for his dead wife Mumtaz Mahal. What is known about the Taj Mahal, declared the pearl of Muslim art, as well as about the love thanks to which it was created?
Shah Jahan: Biography of the Padishah
"Lord of the World" - this is the meaning of the name that one of the most famous Mughal kings received from his father, who loved him more than other children. Shah Jahan, the famous creator of the Taj Mahal, was born in 1592, he headed the Mughal Empire at the age of 36, seizing the throne after the death of his father Jahangir and getting rid of his rival brothers. The new padishah quickly declared himself as a resolute and ruthless ruler. Thanks to several military campaigns, he managed to increase the territory of his empire. At the beginning of his reign, he belonged to thethe most powerful men of the 17th century.
Shah Jahan was interested not only in military campaigns. For his time, the padishah was well educated, took care of the development of science and architecture, took care of artists, appreciated beauty in all its manifestations.
Legend says that the ruler of the Mughal Empire met his future wife Mumtaz Mahal by chance, it happened while walking through the bazaar. From the crowd of people, his gaze snatched a young maiden holding wooden beads in her hands, whose beauty captivated him. The padishah, who was still the heir to the throne at that time, fell in love so much that he decided to marry the girl.
Mumtaz-Mahal, an Armenian by nationality, came from the family of the vizier Abdul Hassan Asaf Khan, who was part of the circle of close associates of Padishah Jahangir. The girl, who at birth was named Arjumand Banu Begam, was the niece of Jahangir's beloved wife Nur-Jahan. Consequently, she could boast not only an attractive appearance, but also a noble origin, so there were no obstacles to the wedding. On the contrary, such a marriage strengthened the position of the heir as a contender for the throne, but he still married for love.
Jahangir gladly allowed his beloved son to marry the girl he liked Mumtaz Mahal, the bride's nationality was also not perceived as an obstacle, given the noble origin of her father. The betrothal ceremony took place in 1607, when the bride,born in 1593, was no more than 14 years old. For unknown reasons, the wedding was postponed for 5 years.
It was during the wedding that she received her beautiful name Mumtaz Mahal. The biography of the famous wife of the ruler of the Mughal Empire says that his father-in-law Jahangir, who still ruled at that time, invented it. The name is translated into Russian as "pearl of the palace", which is proof of the extraordinary beauty of the girl.
The spouse of the "pearl", as befits the heir to the throne, had a huge harem. However, not a single concubine managed to win his heart, forcing him to forget about the charming Arjumand. Even during her lifetime, Mumtaz Mahal became the favorite muse of the famous poets of that time, who praised not only her beauty, but also her kind heart. The Armenian woman became a reliable support for her husband, accompanied him even on military campaigns.
Unfortunately, it was Arjumand's devotion that cost her her life. She did not consider pregnancy an obstacle in order to be close to her beloved husband during all his travels. In total, she gave birth to 14 children, which was typical up to that time. The last childbirth turned out to be difficult, the empress, exhausted by a long campaign, was unable to recover after them.
Mumtaz Mahal passed away in 1631, just short of her fortieth birthday. The tragic event took place in a military camp located near Burkhanpur. The emperor was with his beloved wife, with whom he lived together for 19 years, in her lastminutes. Before leaving this world, the Empress took two promises from her husband. She forced him to swear that he would not remarry, and also to build a grandiose mausoleum for her, the beauty of which the world could enjoy.
Shah Jahan until the end of his life could not come to terms with the loss of his beloved wife. For 8 whole days he refused to leave his own chambers, rejected food and forbade talking to him. Legend has it that grief even pushed him to attempt suicide, which, however, ended in failure. By order of the ruler of the Mughal Empire, mourning in the state continued for two years. During these years, the population did not celebrate holidays, music and dancing were banned.
The famous padishah found some consolation for himself in the execution of Arjumand's dying will. He really refused to marry again, he finally lost interest in his huge harem. By his order, the construction of the mausoleum began, which today is one of the most magnificent buildings in the world.
Location of the Taj Mahal
In which city is the Taj Mahal located? The city of Agra, located approximately 250 km from Delhi, was chosen for the construction of the mausoleum. The padishah decided that the tribute to the memory of his beloved wife would be located on the coast of the Jumna River. He was attracted by the beauty of this place. This choice gave the builders some inconvenience due to the instability of the soil next to the water.
The unique technology helped to solve the problem, earliernot used anywhere. An example of its application in modern construction is the use of piles in the construction of skyscrapers in the UAE.
Six months after the death of Mumtaz Mahal, the inconsolable husband ordered the construction of the mausoleum to begin. The construction of the Taj Mahal took a total of 12 years, construction work began in 1632. Historians are unanimous that no building in the world has required such costs as this one. The fulfillment of the will of the deceased wife, according to the palace chronicles, cost the padishah approximately 32 million rupees, today it is several billion euros.
Shah Jahan made sure that the builders did not save on materials. The cladding of the building was made using the purest marble, which was supplied from the province of Rajasthan. Interestingly, according to the decree of the ruler of the Mughal Empire, the use of this marble for other purposes was banned.
The cost of building the Taj Mahal turned out to be so significant that a famine broke out in the state. The grain that was supposed to be sent to the provinces ended up at the construction site, used to feed the workers. Work ended only in 1643.
Secrets of the Taj Mahal
The majestic Taj Mahal gave immortality to the king and his beautiful beloved Mumtaz Mahal. The story of the ruler's love for his wife is told to all visitors to the mausoleum. Interest in the building cannot be surprising, because it has amazing beauty.
The builders were able to make the Taj Mahal unique thanks to the optical illusions that were used in the design of the mausoleum. You can enter the territory of the complex only after passing the arch of the entrance gate, only then the building opens before the eyes of the guests. To a person who approaches the arch, it may seem that the mausoleum is decreasing, moving away. The opposite effect is created when moving away from the arch. Thus, it may seem to every visitor that he is taking the grandiose Taj Mahal with him.
The trick has also been used to create the building's striking minarets that appear to be strictly vertical. In reality, these elements are slightly deviated from the building. This decision helps to save the Taj Mahal from destruction as a result of an earthquake. By the way, the height of the minarets is 42 meters, and the height of the mausoleum as a whole is 74 meters.
For the decoration of the walls, as already mentioned, snow-white polished marble was used, shining under the influence of sunlight. Malachite, pearls, corals, cornelian served as decorative elements, the elegance of the carving makes an indelible impression.
Mumtaz Mahal Burial Site
Many people who are interested in history and architecture know in which city the Taj Mahal is located. However, not everyone knows exactly where the burial place of the Empress is located. Her tomb is not at all under the main dome of the building erected in her honor. In fact, the burial place of the ruler of the Empire of the Great Mongols is a secret marblehall, for which a plot was allocated under the mausoleum.
The tomb of Mumtaz Mahal was located in a secret room for a reason. This decision was made so that visitors do not disturb the peace of the “pearl of the palace.”
End of story
Having lost his beloved wife, Shah Jahan practically lost interest in power, no longer undertook large-scale military campaigns, and had little interest in state affairs. The empire weakened, mired in the abyss of the economic crisis, riots began to break out everywhere. It is not surprising that his son and heir Aurangzeb found loyal supporters who supported him in an attempt to take power away from his father and crack down on his pretender brothers. The old emperor was imprisoned in a fortress, in which he was forced to spend the last years of his life. Shah Jahan left this world in 1666, being a lonely and sick old man. The son ordered to bury his father next to his beloved wife.
The emperor's last wish remained unfulfilled. He dreamed of building another mausoleum opposite the Taj Mahal, exactly repeating its shape, but finished with black marble. He planned to turn this building into his own tomb, connecting it with the burial place of his wife was supposed to be a black and white openwork bridge. However, the plans were not destined to come true, the son Aurangzeb, who came to power, ordered the construction work to be stopped. Fortunately, the emperor still managed to fulfill the will of his beloved woman and build the Taj Mahal.