As a homage to Valentines Day, I thought it fitting to feature one of the most exotic and romantic places on earth, Agra, India, with its towering testament of one’s love, fidelity, and faithfulness, even after death, to another person.
The Taj Mahal is considered as the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired edifices in the world, combining Indian, Persian, and Islamic influences into one historic mausoleum. The Taj Mahal was built 400 years ago by its emperor, Shah Jahan, the leader of India during the time of the country’s golden age when it was at its greatest prosperity. He fell hopelessly in love with Arjumand Banu that he bestowed to her the title of Mumtaz Mahal, which literally means “Jewel of the Palace”. Though Shah Jahan had other wives, it was Mumtaz Mahal whom he favored. In the year 1631, Mumtaz Mahal died of complications while giving birth to their 14th child. While Mumtaz was on her deathbed, Shah Jahan promised that he would never remarry and that he will build her the grandest mausoleum to house her grave.
Shah Jahan was so heartbroken after her death that he ordered the whole court to go into mourning as well for the next two years. He then undertook the greatest task of his life – which was to erect the world’s most beautiful monument in honor of his beloved. The building was meant to be the final resting place of the emperor’s most beloved wife. It is said that the towers standing on the four corners of the building were designed to tilt slightly outwards, so that should an earthquake take place, the Taj Mahal would remain undamaged. It took him 22 years and 22,000 workers to construct this edifice. When Shah Jahan died in 1666, his body was placed next to that of Mumtaz Mahal.
To date, this building is one of the 7 Wonders of the World and is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
That’s the many wonders of love!