Once upon a time there was the greatest love story. It happened a long time ago in a far-off beautiful land of precious gemstones, tigers, elephants and a Mughal King named Shah Jahan.
Now if you are Shah Jahan you are the ruler of a great land in what we now call India. If you are Shah Jahan you are the fifth King in a line of great rulers of the Mughal dynasty, with a spectacular palace fort in what is now called Agra.
As ruler of this empire, you have the world on a platter, food and comforts at your disposal, as well as courtesans and as many wives as you might want. You believe you have everything you need, until one day, as you are walking through the Meena Bazaar you spy a beautiful girl selling silks and glass beads.
You are only 14 years old but you are smitten and you want this girl for your wife. She is called Arjumand Banu and is a Persian Muslim Princess. And she will be your wife, five years later when you come of age.
You will name her Mamtaz Majal, which means “Jewel of the Palace” and you are madly in love. She is your favorite wife and you lavish her with anything she can possibly desire. You love her not only for her exquisite beauty but her intelligence, management skill and humor. You love her often, and she bears you 14 children.
But your world will come crashing down when Mamtaz Majal dies after giving birth to your 14th child. On her death-bed you promise her you will never remarry and you will build a monument in her memory.
You will mourn your beloved for two years and then undertake the most ambitious and remarkable construction project of its kind to date and you will spend the next 22 years building the grand Taj Mahal “Crown of the Palace”. The white marble mausoleum, still so stunning nearly 400 years later continues to bear witness to your great love as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
In the mausoleum your one true love Mamtaz Mahal will lie, and you will join her many years later. But only after spending the last few years of your life imprisoned in your own palace by your own son. After spending more than 32 million rupees (one billion dollars) to build the Taj Mahal your son imprisons you when you begin construction on a similar mausoleum for your own tomb, just across the river where you can spend eternity next to your beloved wife.
But your dream of another mausoleum will never come to fruition. You will die, broken-hearted and be laid to rest next to your one true love inside the Taj Mahal.
The greatest love story. The story of the Taj Mahal.