taz Mahal, “Chosen one of the Palace,” about whom it is said, “The moon hid its face in shame before her.” The two were inseparable, so it was not unusual that she accompanied him to subdue a rebellion even if she was on the ninth month of her pregnancy. During the birth of their fourteenth child, the queen suffered complications, but it is said that just before she died she made her husband promise that he would build a mausoleum for her, one of outstanding beauty not before seen.
It is said of the queen that she was a kind and wonderful woman who helped hundreds of women in distress (Wijesinha, 2010), so her death was deeply mourned by the nation. Six months after her death, Shah Jahan, still grieving, built her mausoleum across the Jamuna River, near the royal palace. It was the Taj Mahal, made of white marble and described as delicately ethereal, pearly pink during the dawn and opalescent in the moonlight. As a work of art, the structure evoked harmony, grace and purity.
The Taj Mahal is the finest example of Mughal architecture which is a combination of Persian, Ottoman Turkish, and Indian architectural styles (Hasan, 1994; Du Temple, 2003). The tomb is a perfectly symmetrical building with an iwan or arch-shaped doorway, framed by a large pishtaq and topped by a huge marble dome and finial. The base structure is a multi-chambered cube with chamfered corners and forming an unequal octagon. Four minarets stand at the four corners surrounding the tomb.
The Taj Mahal is an architectural wonder of the world because of its one of the world’s most beautiful buildings. It is a “poem in marble” which is stunning if viewed under a full moon (Wijesinha, 2010); however, it is renowned not only because of its resplendent and intricate beauty, but because it is a monument to a deep and undying love by a king for his beautiful and well-loved queen. Even after four and a half centuries, is still today India’s most popular tourist site.