The most beautiful building in the world. In 1631 the emperor Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal in memory of his wife Mumtaz, who died in child birth. The white marble mausoleum at Agra has become the monument of a man's love for a woman.
Most travelers call this wonder the world's most beautiful building - ever. Some say it's worth a trip half way around the world just to see it. The Taj Mahal costs in todays money about US $100 million. It also cost Shah Jahan dearly. Because it acutely drained the treasury, Jahan was dethroned and imprisoned for the last nine years of his life. From his prison quarters, he could poignantly see the wonder where his love lay and where he himself would eventually be.
This wonder is truly priceless. No one could today assemble craftsman in or outside of India with the same skills and talent levels of those who toiled on the monument. The craftsman (and materials) came from India and beyond, as far away as China and Italy.
Many architects have rated it as the most perfect of all buildings standing on earth. Three artists designed it: a Persian, an Italian, and a Frenchman. But the design is completely Mohammedan. Even the skilled artisans who built it were brought in from Baghdad, Constantinople, and other centers of the Muslim faith. For 22 years more than 20,000 workmen were forced to build the Taj. The Maharaja of Jaipur sent the marble as a gift to Shah Jahan. The building and its surroundings cost more than $200,000,000 in todays currency.
Construction of the Taj Mahal began in the same year and was completed after 22 years in 1653 at a cost of 32 Million Rupees. Twenty thousand workmen and master craftsmen- from Persia, France, Iran, Italy and Turkey worked on the building. Although no one knows who planned the Taj, the name of a Persian architect, Ustad Isa, was involved the construction of this marble monument. The material red sandstone, silver and gold, carnelian and jasper, moonstone and
jade, lapiz lazuli and coral were brought in from all over India and central Asia and white Makrana marble from Jodhpur took a fleet of 1000 elephants to transport. Precious stones for the inlay came from Baghdad, Punjab, Igypt, Russia, Golconda, China, Afghanistan, Ceylon, Indian ocean and Persia. The unique mughal style architecture combines elements and styles of Persian, Central Asian, and Islamic architecture.