Complete Art Index
Next Travel page
"Taj Mahal at Agra" ©2001 photo Elroy Christenson
The Taj Mahal is a spectacular building in virtually any kind of light. Its transluscent stone glows under moonlight and sparkles in sunlight. Built 1634-54 by Shah Jehan (r1628-1658) as a tomb for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It was undoubtedly built as an act of love. She was certainly just no ordinary "Ornament of the Palace" as her name indicated. She had died in childbirth but had already given birth to 14 children in 18 years. The building project probably added to the list of reasons that his son, Aurangzeb, finally overthrew Shah Jehan and locked him in Agra Fort for nine years. Shah Jehan is buried next to her although the original plan was for another tomb for himself across the river. The Taj is one of the Seven Wonders of the Architectural World and as such is one of the greatest monuments of the Mogul Empire.