The Taj Mahal is one of India’s most famous landmarks and universally acknowledged as a symbol of lasting love. Situated in the eastern part of Agra along the banks of the Yamuna River, the Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as the final resting place for the most beloved of his wives, Mumtaz Mahal.
Shah Jahan was the grandson of Akbar the great. He first met Mumtaz when he was sixteen and known as Prince Khurram and she was still called Arjumand Banu Begum, the fifteen year old niece of Empress Nur Jahan. They fell in love but the prince had to first marry Kandahari Begum. Arjumand Banu became his second wife and when he was crowned Emperor, given the title Mumtaz Mahal or “Chosen one of the Palace” and designated as his chief empress. She bore the emperor 14 children, only 7 of whom lived past infancy including the last Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb. Mumtaz was Shah Jahan’s closest confidant and trusted adviser – he sought her opinions on private matters and on the affairs of the state.