Myths and Legends about the Taj Mahal
Mughal emperor Shah Jahan commissioned a beautiful pearly white mausoleum in 1632 to commemorate his beloved wife Arjumand Bano Begum, who tragically died because of complications while delivering their 14th child. The sudden sad demise of his favourite wife was a great personal loss for the emperor.
Inspired by the great sorrow that enveloped him, Shah Jahan dedicated the next 22 years of his life and entire resources of his empire in building this monumental building, which we know today as Taj Mahal. It took relentless efforts of more than 20,000 workers, who laboured on the site day and night for 22 years straight, and finally, Taj Mahal was accomplished in 1653.
Such is the magnificence and admiration of Taj Mahal in the Indian subcontinent that this UNESCO world heritage site is frequented by millions of tourists from around the world every year. The immense popularity of Taj Mahal across the globe has rendered it the most iconic monument of India. Indeed, like many other popular buildings around the world, Taj Mahal is also associated with many myths that refuse to die.
So, let us explore the top five myths associated with Taj Mahal in this blog, some of which you are anyways likely to hear from people on your way to visiting the Taj Mahal!
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Taj Mahal workers hands cut
Myth No. 1: It is said that Shah Jahan was so blinded by his obsession to build something absolutely celestial and unique in the memory of his wife that as soon as construction of Taj Mahal finished, he ordered to cut off the hands of each sculptor, artisan and architect who contributed in building the monument.
He did so to ensure that they would not be able to build another building as magnificent and as beautiful as Taj Mahal. In extension to this story, it is maintained that Shah Jahan also ordered to pull out the eyes of all the labourers, sculptors, artists and architects who worked on Taj Mahal so that they would never again witness anything more glorious and exquisite than the Taj Mahal.
Taj Mahal Mystery
Myth 2: According to another myth, the construction of the monument is precariously sinking in the riverside.
According to a letter from Aurangzeb to Shah Jahan in 1652, cracks actually developed in the foundation of Taj Mahal barely four years after the completion of its construction.
The architects of Taj Mahal had exercised all possible precautions and taken all measures to have a strong, stable and evenly distributed foundation.
The best of building material was used throughout its construction. Nonetheless, cracks developed in its foundation, which were, but of course, readily repaired, but the reason for cracks was not investigated. Later on, in 1810, cracks were yet again discovered at hazardous levels and an advisory committee was constituted to restore and conserve the monument.
During this survey, it was also gathered that the plinth of the mausoleum is tilting on the Northern side, which is the riverside, by around 3.5 cm. This gave rise to the myth that Taj Mahal is sinking, which sails on to this day.
Taj Mahal facts shiva Temple
Myth 3: Another myth that haunts the Taj Mahal is that the structure was originally a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
It is believed that the building was obtained from a Rajput King named Mirza Jai Singh. Emperor Shah Jahan seized the Hindu temple to convert it into a beautiful mausoleum for his wife.
It is believed that the Shiva temple was originally known as “Tejo Mahalaya” and Shah Jahan renamed it to Taj Mahal, deriving the name from its original name only.
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Taj Mahal love myth
Myth 4: According to another faction, however, Shah Jahan named the monument Taj Mahal, after his beloved wife whose another name was Mumtaz Mahal. Taj Mahal literally speaking though means the “Place of the Crown”.
Hidden Truth of Taj Mahal
Myth 5: Another popular myth that surrounds Taj Mahal to this day is that it was much more glorious and opulent in its earlier form.
It is believed that the ivory-white monument was originally bedecked with authentic gold leaves, diamonds, several precious stones, and pearl blankets. However, the items were sadly stolen and looted away without a trace.
Even though not much could be found to substantiate any of these myths, each has become an integral part and parcel of Taj Mahal’s rich cultural heritage and history.
Each story tends to leave you in a state of wonderment; they sound so incredible but told with such conviction that each mention adds an air of mystique and intrigue to Taj Mahal.