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Travel to Taj Mahal
No eastern prince for wealth or wisdom famed,
No mortal hands this beauteous fabric framed
In death's cold arms the fair Mumtaz slept
And sighs over Jumna's winding water crept
Tears such as angels weep with fragrance filled
Around her grave in pearly drops distilled
There fixed for ever firm, congealed they stand
A fairy fabric, Pride of India's land.
The poet calls the Taj the pride of India but this wonder is now the pride of the world- pride of love, memory and immortality. This picturesque mausoleum at Agra executed over the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal the beloved devoted wife of Emperor Shah Jahan is a crystallized drop of tear which for the richness of material, the chasteness of design and the effect at once brilliant and solemn is not surpassed by any other edifice either in Europe or Asia.
Described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love, this poignant Mughal mausoleum is India's pride. Many have tried to sum up its beauty, but even the poets of the time were unable to do this magnificent building justice.
The spectacular white marble mausoleum seems as immaculate today as when it was first constructed. The Taj was built by Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal who died in child birth in 1631. The Emperor had pledged himself in a spirit of gay banter to raise over the Begum's grave a structure of deathless fame, inimitable and unenviable and that he did and for all times to come. When fate snatched her away in the full bloom of her beauty the bereaved husband found solace in rearing this monument.
The death of the Empress left the Emperor so heart broken that his hair is said to have turned grey overnight. Construction of the Taj began in the same year and was not completed until 1653. It took seventeen years of hard and incessant labor during which 20,000 workmen from India and Central Asia worked on the building. It is also a conjecture of history rather improbable that the hands of the architects from Persia, Arabia and Turkey were cut off at the end, lest Taj should have a rival monument. The main architect is believed to have been Isa Khan who was from Shiraz in Iran but other specialists were brought in from as far Europe to produce the exquisite marble screens and 'Pietra Dura' made with thousands of semiprecious stones.
Seeing Taj Mahal at sunset can be exciting experience as the white marble first takes on a rich golden sheen, then slowly turns pink, red and finally blue with a changing light. People from all parts of globe visit Taj to feast their eyes over this marvel of human skill. It is the fulfillment of a lover's promise. In the words of our love -poet Shelley, who aptly sang:
Love's very pain is sweet
But its reward is in the other world divine
Which, if not here, it builds beyond the grave.