Taj Mahal, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. The Taj Mahal is widely considered one of the most beautiful—and romantic—buildings in the world, but their are probably a few things you don’t know about India’s most ornate mausoleum.
Like many of his predecessors, Shah Jahan married several wives over the course of his adult life. Although Shah Jahan spread his heart around, none of these ladies found quite the same favor as his third wife (but first love), Arjumand Banu Begum, more famously known as Mumtaz Mahal.
Their union lasted 19 years and led to the birth of 14 children. Complications during the birth of the final child led to Mahal’s untimely passing at the age of 39.
Shah Jahan was so stricken by the loss of his longtime companion that he decided to memorialize Mahal with a spectacular tomb. Construction on the Mahal and its surroundings began in 1632, one year after her death, and continued for just over two decades.
2. THE ONLY PART OF THE MAUSOLEUM THAT IS NOT ORNATELY DECORATED IS THE ACTUAL GRAVE.
Per Muslim law, graves cannot be adorned with elaborate decoration, which would be an inappropriate expression of vanity. This rule explains the comparatively drab design of the lower level of the palace where Shah Jahan laid his wife to rest.