This is perhaps amongst the most known love stories of the world. A story that refuses to fade away with time and a story that gave the world one of its most beautiful monuments – the Taj Mahal. So how is it possible that we have a story section in this blog and we leave out this story? Well then, let’s turn the pages of history and recount the beautiful love story of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal.
They were not always known by these names. Shah Jahan was Prince Khurram and Mumtaz Mahal, Arjumand Banu. She was the daughter of Asaf Khan, brother of emperor Jahangir’s consort, Noorjahan.
The two met each other in the Meena Bazaar, the private market of royal harem. As Prince Khurram made his way to the market along with his companions, he caught a glimpse of a face that fascinated him tremendously. He approached her and inquired about the price of the glass on display. Arujumand Banu had not recognised him and hence was not impressed by this youth who called her diamond, glass. She quoted her price and was sure that the young man would not be able to shell it out. But he did, quiet obviously. He took away the piece of diamond and along with it carried back the beautiful image of his beloved.
Jahangir was more than happy with his son’s choice but the royal union had to wait for five years before it went official. Political situations during this time resulted in Khurram taking another wife. However, the auspicious day did come and that day saw an extravagant wedding ceremony. Jahangir himself blessed the union.
The love story that began at a tender age continued after marriage as well. The two were inseparable. Even after Jahangir’s death, when Khurram became emperor and had to go for military conquests, Arjumand Banu was almost always with him. This was also the time when after being crowned emperor, Khurram became Shah Jahan and Arjumand, Mumtaz Mahal.
In nineteen years that followed their marriage, Mumtaz bore Shah Jahan fourteen children. However, unfortunately seven of them died at a very young age. Mumtaz Mahal herself died in childbirth. In her last moments, she asked the emperor for a wish that made their love story immortal. She wished the emperor build her a monument as a symbol of their beautiful relationship.
Mumtaz Mahal died and a part of Shah Jahan died along with her. It is said that he closed himself in a room for week post Mumtaz’s death, and when finally he emerged, his hair had gone white!
Shah Jahan now summoned his best men to fulfil the last wish of his wife and thus began the construction of the Taj Mahal, a work that took 22 years to be completed. But when it was completed, it fulfilled Mumtaz’s dream in every way. The white marble used to construct the tomb gave the Taj the elegance that till dates fascinates visitors.