The Taj Mahal
- Tragic Deaths
- Ask a group of people to name a wonder of the modern world, and no doubt someone would say the Taj Mahal. This stunning piece of architecture, made entirely of white marble, is situated in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Do you know why the Taj Mahal was built? Did you know it is actually a mausoleum? Well let me tell you about it… it’s a love story.
Arjumand Banu Begum was born into Persian nobility. Her connections were extremely high, with aunty’s being Empresses and sisters marrying Governors.
In 1607, when she was just 14 years old, a political alliance was made, and she was betrothed to a 15 year old Prince, known as Shah Jahan. This boosted the families esteem even higher. Even though the Prince had two other wives before he married Arjumand, the honour was still great.
Five years later, their betrothal was finalised and they wed in 1612. The date of their wedding was selected by the court astrologers as being the most conducive to ensuring a happy marriage, and it appears those court astrologers were spot on! Arjumand went on to become the absolute love of Shah Jahan’s life!
They were not married for long before she was given the title Mumtaz Mahal – an extremely honoured title which means “Chosen One of the Palace”. Shah fell head over heels in love with Mumtaz! When he did wed again, it was said that he had no interest at all in his other two wives, and visited their bedchamber only to do the proper thing and procreate. Once one child was sired with each, he stopped visiting them. According to an official court recorder, his relationship with his earlier wives was nothing but the status of marriage. A direct quote being: “The intimacy, deep affection, attention and favour which His Majesty had for the Cradle of Excellence (Mumtaz) exceeded by a thousand times what he felt for any other.”
As their marriage continued, their love grew deeper. Poets frequently spoke of her beauty, her compassion and her grace. He trusted her so much that she was the only other person to have access to his imperial seal, and would influence him to be a better person to the poor and the unlucky in India.
Shah and Mumtaz were married for nineteen years, and chroniclers go to great lengths to speak of their love and the erotic nature of their relationship. In those nineteen years, Mumtaz gave birth to fourteen children. Sadly, seven of those children did not make it to adulthood. Even though she was frequently pregnant Mumtaz would travel with Shah and his entourage on all military campaigns.
Sadly, while giving birth to their fourteenth child in 1631, Mumtaz died from complications of childbirth. Shah went into a deep depression at her death, and locked himself away for an entire year to mourn her passing. By all reports he was inconsolable and the only person who managed to bring him back to the world was his eldest daughter. When Shah reappeared in front of his court, his hair had turned white, his back was bent, and he had aged at least a decade. Although he lived for over 30 years following Mumtaz’s death, he never recovered from it.
Shah would think of nothing but building a fitting monument to the memory of his beloved wife, and so, a few months after her death, he began planning the construction and design of a grandiose mausoleum and funerary garden.
It took twenty-two years to complete. Seventeen of those twenty-two years saw twenty thousand workmen employed on it daily. It is said that it took a fleet of 1000 elephants to transport the marble to the site.
When Shah passed away in 1666, his son Aurangazeb had him interred in the Taj Mahal, right next to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.
By Peet Banks from APPI - Australian Paranormal Phenomenon Investigators
Picpost by Ashley Hall 2013
Photo: The Taj Mahal.
Inset Left: Mumtaz Mahal.
Inset Lower: The tombs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal.
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