Taj Mahal in the light of day: Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631 while giving birth. The child she bore was their fourteenth. Upon her death, his hair is said to have gone gray overnight.
That fourteenth child was a girl. Like her sisters, she was prohibited from ever marrying. Some say it was feared that daughters would marry men who would seek power and pose a threat to the Mughal empire.
Taj is the Persian word for crown. The mausoleum took 22 years and the labor of 22,000 workers to construct.
Shah Jahan was later deposed, not by an in-law or outsider but by his own son. Shah Jahan was imprisoned in nearby Agra Fort. Until his death, he looked out at the Taj Mahal from a window in the fort.
There’s only so much we can know about the love, the death. The 22,000 workers and the 22 years. The son, the struggle for succession, the imprisonment, a mausoleum seen from afar. The story is missing an incredible number of details, almost all of which surely matter. Just like most stories.