What is the Taj Mahal?

Quck answer

The Taj Mahal is a world-renowned mausoleum located in Agra, India. It was built in the 17th century by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a tribute to his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is considered a masterpiece of Mughal architecture and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is made of white marble and features intricate designs, including minarets, domes, and beautiful gardens. The Taj Mahal is a symbol of love and is visited by millions of tourists from around the world each year.


Let’s solve a puzzle! What is the similarity between leaves, mood rings, and the Taj Mahal?

Here’s a clue: We can include chameleons in the list as well.

That’s correct, all the items on the list change their colors!

Wait, isn’t the Taj Mahal a building? You might wonder how a building can change colors. We had the same question!

The Taj Mahal (which means “Crown of the Palaces”) is a palace situated in northern India. It is constructed using white marble adorned with jade, sapphire, and turquoise stones. As the sun’s position changes throughout the day, the light reflects differently on the stones, giving an illusion of color change.

Visitors who go to the Taj Mahal in the morning perceive a pink hue. During noon, the color appears bright white. Those who visit at night claim that the Taj Mahal has a hint of gold. Additionally, some people who visit on foggy days mention that the palace appears almost transparent!

Who commissioned the construction of the Taj Mahal? In the early 1600s, a man named Shah Jahan ruled over northern India. He deeply loved his wife, whom he referred to as Mumtaz Mahal (meaning “Chosen One of the Palace”). According to legend, Shah Jahan promised his wife that he would build her the greatest tomb in the world. When Mumtaz Mahal passed away in 1631, Shah Jahan instructed builders to create the Taj Mahal.

More than 20,000 people and 1,000 elephants labored on the project for 22 years. By 1653, Shah Jahan had spent 32 million rupees on the construction of the Taj Mahal. In today’s currency, this would be equivalent to 70 billion rupees (over one billion US dollars)!

Shah Jahan buried Mumtaz Mahal deep underground beneath the dome of the Taj Mahal. After a few years, when Shah Jahan himself died, his children buried him beside his wife. Subsequently, Shah Jahan’s empire disintegrated.

For two centuries, the Taj Mahal was neglected and left uncared for. During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, British soldiers stole numerous valuable stones from its walls. The condition of the Taj Mahal deteriorated until the Indian government cleaned and restored it at the end of the 19th century.

Today, the Taj Mahal is one of the most popular tourist destinations globally, attracting over three million visitors annually! The United Nations declared the Taj Mahal a World Heritage site in 1983. Moreover, in 2007, the palace was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

However, the future of the Taj Mahal is endangered due to air pollution. The Indian government is taking measures to protect the palace. With proper care, the Taj Mahal can continue to mesmerize visitors with its color-changing illusions for many years to come!

Give It a Go

Remember to seek assistance from a friend or family member when engaging in these activities!

  • Want to learn more about the Taj Mahal? Explore these Eight Secrets! Are any of these facts new to you? What is the most fascinating piece of information you have discovered about the Taj Mahal?
  • The Taj Mahal is renowned as one of the top tourist destinations across the globe. Discuss with a friend or family member the popular tourist spots in your city or state. Which places would tourists visit if they were in your city or state? If a traveler asked for your recommendation, where would you suggest they go?
  • Would you be interested in virtually visiting the Taj Mahal? Take a look at these photographs of the Taj Mahal and other UNESCO World Heritage sites. What stands out to you about the Taj Mahal’s architecture? Are there any other sites you would like to visit?

Sources of Wonder

  • https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/world-heritage/taj-mahal/ (accessed on January 29, 2019)
  • https://www.tajmahal.org.uk/history.html (accessed on January 29, 2019)
  • https://www.history.com/topics/india/taj-mahal (accessed on January 29, 2019)
  • https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/08/the-taj-mahal-is-wasting-away-and-it-may-soon-hit-the-point-of-no-return (accessed on January 29, 2019)

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