Arjumand Bano Begum, entitled Mumtaz Mehal, “the ornament of the palace”, was the daughter of Asif Khan, brother of Nur Jehan, wife of Mughal emperor Jehangir. In 1612, Arjumand Bano married Shah Jehan, ruler of the Mughal Empire. They had 14 children.
In 1631, Mumtaz Mehal died in childbirth at the age of 39. The Mughal emperor, Shah Jehan ordered the building of a marvelous tomb for his beloved wife. The tomb of Mumtaz Mehal is popularly known as Taj Mehal. It is commonly considered as the most perfect example of the Mughal style and the most beautiful building in the world.
The entire mausoleum is made of marble. The exterior is paved with semiprecious stones arranged in Arabic inscriptions and floral designs. The interior is lavishly decorated in lapis, turquoise, agate, jasper, and colored marble. The surrounding garden contains four water channels. It took 20,000 workers, 1,000 elephants and nearly 20 years to complete this monument.
Little is known of personal character of Mumtaz Mehal. She must have possessed uncommon charm and character to merit a magnificent memorial, such as no other lady in the world has ever won.
This article was last updated on Sunday, June 01, 2003