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The Taj Mahal is found in Agra, which is in the state of Uttar Pradesh, and is situated about 200 km south of New Delhi. Agra was the capital of the Mughals, Muslim emperors who ruled Northern India between the 16th and 19th centuries.

Not only is the Taj Mahal one of the most beautiful and famous buildings in India, it is also the most romantic. As such, it is one of the favorite sites for wedding photo shoots. it is also a popular spot for honeymooners, who are thrilled by the story of undying love between an emperor and his empress.

According to the legend, the dashing prince met the lady, Arjumand Banu Begum, when he was 14 and she was 15 years old. The lovely girl was tending her stall of silks and glass beads at a bazaar when he spotted her. pointing to a piece of glass at her stall, he asked its price. She naughtily replied that it was diamond and not glass, and that he could not afford it. In response, he handed her 10,000 rupees, picked up the piece of glass and left. After that meeting, the prince could not stop thinking of her. It was love at first sight. He went to his father and announced his desire to marry the pretty young stall keeper.

Their wedding only took place five years later, in 1612. From that moment, they were inseparable and, over the next 18 years, she bore him 14 children. After becoming emperor in 1628, Shah Jahan entrusted Arjumand Banu with the royal seal. He changed her name to Mumtaz Mahal, meaning "the jewel of the palace."

Mumtaz Mahal was a woman of legendary beauty. Even during her lifetime, poets would write about her beauty and gracefulness, saying that even the moon would hide in shame from her beauty. Mumtaz was also a strong woman. She accompanied her husband all over the Mughal empire and even on military campaigns. On top of this, she was tender-hearted, giving allowances tot he poor people, especially widows and orphans.

In 1631, in Burhanpur, Mumtaz Mahal gave birth to her last child, for she died in childbirth. As her dying wish, she asked her husband to build a beautiful tomb for her, as a monument t their love. Her husband was so heartbroken at her death that he remained behind closed doors for a week. When he emerged, his hair had turned white, his back was bent and his face aged. He spent the next two decades and much of the money in the royal treasury, fulfilling her dying wish: creating the most beautiful mausoleum on Earth.

It is believed that an Indian architect, Ustad Ahmad Lahori, was the architect of the Taj Mahal. as soon as construction began, masons, craftsmen and sculptors were summoned from Persia, the Ottoman Empire and Europe to work on the monument.

The Taj Mahal stands amid acres of beautifully designed gardens, consisting of trees, pools and fountains. The most famous part of the monument is the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, with its white marble dome, but the complex also includes mosques, and other buildings.

The style of the Taj Mahal combines elements of Persian, Central Asian, and Islamic architecture. most impressive are the black and white chessboard marble floor of the main tomb, the four tall minarets at the corners of the structure and the white dome in the middle. The beautiful artwork on the walls of the tomb is made of inlaid gemstones.

In 1657, Shah Jahan fell ill, and, in 1658, his son Aurangzeb took the opportunity to imprison his father and seize the throne. Shah Jahan remained in captivity until his death in 1666. It is said he spent the last days of his life weeping and staring into a small piece of glass at the reflection of the Taj Mahl; and, in fact, he died with the mirror in his hand. His body now lies buried in the Taj Mahal with the believed lady he could not forget.

From paragraph 1-2 :
  1.

(a) Where is the Taj Mahal located ?

(b) Why do honeymooners like to visit the Taj Mahal ?

   

From paragraph 3 :

  2.

(a) According to this account, where and when did Shah Jahan meet Mumtaz Mahal ?

(b) "It was love at first sight." Explain this sentence in your own words.

    From paragraph 4-5 :
  3.

Was Mumtaz Mahal a good wife ? State two points to support your answer

    From paragraph 6 :
  4.

(a) How did Mumtaz Mahal die ?

(b) Why did she ask Shah Jahan to build a beautiful tomb for her ?

    From paragraph 8-9 :
  5.

Which is the most famous part of the Taj Mahal complex ?

 
Answers
 

1.

(a) In Agra, which is in the state of Uttar Pradesh

(b) There is a very romantic love story attached to this monument.

 

2.

(a) The prince met her at a bazaar when he was 14 an she was 15.

(b) He fell in love with her from the moment he saw her.

 

3.

Yes she was.

i. She accompanied her husband on military campaigns

ii. She advised him on affairs of the state.

 

4.

(a) She died in childbirth.

(b) As a monument to their love.

 

5.

The tomb of Mumtaz Mahal

 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

 

 
 
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