The construction of this marble masterpiece
is credited to the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan
who erected this mausoleum in memory of his
beloved wife, Arjumand Bano Begum, popularly
known as Mumtaz Mahal, who died in AH 1040 (AD
1631). Her last wish to her husband was "to
build a tomb in her memory such as the world
had never seen before". Thus emperor Shah
Jahan set about building this fairytale like
marvel. The construction of Taj Mahal was started
in AD 1632 and completed at the end of 1653
twenty thousand workmen are said to be employed
on it daily, for their accommodation a small
town, named after the deceased empress-'Mumtazabad,
now known as Taj Ganj, was built adjacent to
it. Amanat Khan Shirazi was the calligrapher
of Taj Mahal, his name occurs at the end of
an inscription on one of the gates of the Taj.
Poet Ghyasuddin had designed the verses on the
tombstone, while Ismail Khan Afridi of Turkey
was the dome maker.
Muhammad Hanif was the superintendent of Masons.
The designer of Taj Mahal was Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.
The material was brought in from all over India
and central Asia and it took a fleet of 1000
elephants to transport it to the site.
The central dome is 187 feet high at the centre.
Red sandstone was brought from Fatehpur Sikri,
Jasper from Punjab, Jade and Crystal from China,
Turquoise from Tibet, Lapis Lazuli and Sapphire
from Sri Lanka, Coal and Cornelian from Arabia
and diamonds from Panna. In all 28 kind of rare,
semi precious and precious stones were used
for inlay work in the Taj Mahal. The chief building
material, the white marble was brought from
the quarries of Makrana, in distt. Nagaur, Rajasthan.
Soon after the Taj Mahal's completion, Shah
Jahan was deposed by his son Aurangzeb and put
under house arrest at nearby Agra Fort. Upon
Shah Jahan's death, Aurangzeb buried him in
the Taj Mahal next to his wife.
Other Places of Interest In Agra