Taj Mahal: How a mausoleum in India became one of the world’s most famous landmarks

The Taj Mahal, located in Agra, India, is one of the most renowned buildings in the world. Built in 1648, the massive palace easily became one of mankind’s greatest architectural achievements. However, the monument was not admired for just its design. The Taj Mahal was mainly built to serve as a magnificent tomb as part of a love story involving a royal couple.

The breathtaking palace was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to immortalize his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, an accomplished political practitioner, who died during childbirth. After her death, the emperor built the magnificent mausoleum to entomb his late wife.

The mausoleum is also recognized as one of the world’s greatest achievements in Indo-Islamic architecture. The Taj Mahal is made of ivory-white marble and was constructed with perfect symmetry from all four sides of the building. Its walls also feature Islamic calligraphy and intricate botanical carvings inlaid with gemstones sourced from different parts of the world.

The rest of the Taj Mahal complex include three large entrance buildings made of red sandstone, vast gardens with fountains, and even a mosque. The Taj Mahal also sits next to the Yamuna River and faces another extensive garden on the other bank. Myth suggests that the garden was supposed to be the site of a Black Taj Mahal identical to the original white mausoleum and would act as a tomb for the emperor himself. However, Jahan died before he could complete it.

Nearly four centuries after the Taj Mahal was erected, the mausoleum is still highly revered as one of the most beautiful buildings ever created. The Taj Mahal attracts over seven million visitors annually, with almost one million from overseas.