The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra.
A mausoleum is an external free-standing building constructed as a monument enclosing the interment space or burial chamber of a deceased person or people.
The Yamuna, also known as the Jumna or Jamna, is the second largest tributary river of the Ganges and the longest tributary in India.
Agra is a city on the banks of the Yamuna river in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
TAJ MAHAL (Agra, India): full tour by the Luxury Travel Expert
It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal; it also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan himself.
Mumtaz Mahal was the Empress consort of the Mughal Empire from 19 January 1628 to 17 June 1631 as the chief consort of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.
Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Khurram, better known by his regnal name Shah Jahan, was the fifth Mughal emperor, who reigned from 1628 to 1658.
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The tomb is the centrepiece of a 17-hectare complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall.
A battlement in defensive architecture, such as that of city walls or castles, comprises a parapet, in which gaps or indentations, which are often rectangular, occur at intervals to allow for the launch of arrows or other projectiles from within the defences.
Construction of the mausoleum was essentially completed in 1643, but work continued on other phases of the project for another 10 years.
The Taj Mahal complex is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653 at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees, which in 2015 would be approximately 52.8 billion rupees.
Rupee is the common name for the currencies of India, Pakistan, Indonesia, the Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Seychelles, and Sri Lanka, and of former currencies of Afghanistan, Tibet, Burma, British East Africa, German East Africa, the Trucial States, and all Arab states of the Persian Gulf.
The construction project employed some 20,000 artisans under the guidance of a board of architects led by the court architect to the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.
The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage".
A World Heritage Site is a landmark which has been officially recognized by the United Nations, specifically by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations based in Paris.
It is regarded by many as the best example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India's rich history.
Mughal Architecture is the type of Indo-Islamic architecture developed by the Mughals in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries throughout the ever-changing extent of their empire in the Indian subcontinent.
The Taj Mahal attracts 7–8 million visitors a year and in 2007, it was declared a winner of the New7Wonders of the World initiative.
Various lists of the Wonders of the World have been compiled from antiquity to the present day, to catalogue the world's most spectacular natural wonders and manmade structures.
New7Wonders of the World was a campaign started in 2000 to choose Wonders of the World from a selection of 200 existing monuments.