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Mumtaj Mahal


Arjumand begum was born in 1593 April in Agra to Asaf Khan. She was an unrivalled beauty, which caught the heart of Shahjahan, the fifth Mughal emperor at first sight. He was completely drawn towards her beauty. After her marriage with Shahjahan she was entitled with the name of Mumtaz Mahal. The name, Mumtaz Mahal comes from Persian meaning “beloved ornament of the palace”.

Shahjahan instantly fell in love with Arjumand Bano while he was strolling down in the private market, Meena bazaar. She was sitting at her shop with her silks and glass beads. Arjmand was so pretty that her unrivalled beauty caught the heart of Shahjahan at the very first sight. This was the beginning of their love. He was so impressed by her beauty that Prince Khurram (later Shahjahan) asked for Arjumand’s hand for marriage from the Emperor and received his acceptance. They got married after five years; in the meanwhile he was married to Quandri Begum, a Persian princess, for political reasons.


They got married in 1612, it was an extravagant grand affair. Prince Khurram was entitled as “Shahjahan” when he became the emperor in 1628 and entitled Arjumand bano his wife as “Mumtaz Mahal”. Shahjahan built beautiful palaces for her like, the Khas mahal in Agra. Desplite being the third wife of Shahjahn , Mumtaz mahal was his favourite throughout her life. She was conferred by the Emperor with the highest honor of the land-the royal seal - Mehr Uzaz. Mumtaz was so compassionate and generous and always intervened on behalf of petitioners. However it is also believed that she even enjoyed the spectacle of man in combat with animals.


Mumtaz was of great support to Shahjahan and accompanied the Emperor to all his conquests. During one such trip to Deccan where emperor went to war with Khan Jahanb Lodi, Mumtaz breathed her last breath on 17 June, 1631 during her fourteenth childbirth. It is said that Mumtaz on her deathbed asked for four promises to the Emperor. The four promises were, that the emperor build a monument of their love, second- that he should marry again, third- that he be kind to their children and the fourth one being that Shahjahan visit the tomb on her death anniversay.



Shahjahan kept the first and second promise and keeping his first promise began the construction of the splendid beauty, the Tajmahal in the year 1631.Mumtaz was given a temporary burial at Zainabadi garden in Burhnpur. After six months the body of Mumtaz Mahal was exumed and brought to Agra for final burial. Thus with the construction of Tajmahal, Shahjahan immortalized their love. However there is another school of thought, which denies any such conversation and believes that the grief stricken emperor himself decided to build the Tajmahal as a tribute to his beautiful wife.

It took 22 years to build this symbol of love. The beauty of Tajmahal depicts that Shahjahan surely had his beautiful wife in mind while planning the construction of Tajmahal. It is the masterpiece of Shahjahan’s reign erected in the memory of Mumtaz Mahal. Thus Tajmahal is a legendary story etched in stone and has become an epitome of a man’s love for his beautiful wife.