I’m a sucker for a good love story. In fact, that’s what brought me here to India. I had to lay eyes on the sad, yet amazingly beautiful ending to one of the greatest love stories there ever was.
It’s the story of the Taj Mahal, one of the new seven wonders of the world.
Shah Jahan was the fifth Mughal emperor, who reigned during the early 1600s. Like many rulers, he married multiple women for political reasons. However, one woman truly captured his heart. She became his third wife, and was the only one he ever married for love.
He gave her the title Mumtaz Mahal, which means “jewel of the palace.” She outshined other women with her beauty, intelligence, and confidence. Basically, she had that “sauce.”
He also gave Mumtaz the world - as well as 14 children.
Sadly, she died in 1631 while giving birth to the last child, a girl. (Shah Jahan never saw this daughter because he forever blamed her for her mother’s death.) However, before Mumtaz died, she made Shah Jahan promise three things: 1) take care of their children, 2) never marry again, and 3) build a monument in her honor.
He did his best on the first two promises (it is believed he eventually remarried, again for political reasons), but he SHOWED OUT on the last promise.
He brought in architects and designers to help him create one of the world’s most beautiful monuments in her memory. Made out of ivory-white marble and a variety of precious and semi-precious stones, the Taj Mahal took 22 years to build, and 22,000 workers to build it.
In the years leading up to his death, he sat in a fort for hours (where he was imprisoned), tearfully staring across the river at the monument.
Words cannot truly describe how stunning this place is. The entrance gate, the monument itself, the inside of it where both of them now rest side by side (no pictures allowed inside), the lush grounds...my God. What a sight to behold.
Shah Jahan adored Mumtaz Mahal, and because of his promise to her, she - as well as their love- continues to live centuries later, and leave millions of visitors from all over the world in awe.
(Custom made choli and saree: Jaipur Handicrafts)