When his beloved third wife Mumtaz Mahal died while giving birth to their 14th child, Emperor Shah Jahan decided to build the world’s largest mausoleum to honor her memory. Today, the Taj Mahal is revered as one of the Seven Wonders of the World and is India’s most visited, iconic tourist destination. Everyone recognizes the Taj Mahal, but not everyone knows some of these interesting facts about the famous Islamic tomb.
1. Taj Mahal means “crown of places” in English.
2. The mausoleum took approximately 20 years to complete and cost the empire around $1 billion in modern US currency.
3. In addition to the more than 20,000 laborers, there were also 1,000 elephants that helped build the structure.
4. The color of the Taj Mahal changes throughout the day from pink in the early morning to white in the afternoon, and golden at night.
5. Around 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. 200,000 of these people are tourists from overseas.
6. According to legend, it was rumored that emperor Shah Jahan cut off the hands of workers that helped construct the mausoleum so that nobody would be able to build something as beautiful as the Taj Mahal ever again.
7. During the 1857 Indian Rebellion, many of the 28 different types of precious and semi-precious stones used to build the Taj Mahal were stripped from the walls of the tomb. These stones included marble from Rajasthan, emeralds from Sri Lanka, blue stones from Tibet, crystals from China and jasper from Punjab.
8. The Taj Mahal is 561 feet tall. The middle dome alone stands at 115 feet tall.
9. During the British rule of India, the gardens of the Taj Mahal were reconstructed to look more like the gardens in London. Before the British came, the gardens were filled with roses and daffodils.
10. The chief architect of the Taj Mahal, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, was in fact a Persian from Iran, not an Indian.
There are many reasons to go to India and we cover them all in our nine day trip to India and Dubai. Remember these facts and you’ll be more knowledgeable than the tour guides once you stand before one of the greatest wonders of the world.