At the palace of Itimad-ud-Daula in 1612, Mumtaz-uz-Zamani (as she came to be known) became the wife of 15 year old Shah Jahan and began their inseparable life together. Eventually Shah Jahan inherited the throne and together they became a much loved Royal couple, gaining fame for their compassion and generosity. Tragically, in 1631, the Empress died just after giving birth to a daughter. The Emperor Shah Jahan was with her to the end and vowed to remember her forever.
It is said that his hair turned gray overnight with grief. Six months later the remains of the Empress were moved from Burhanpur to Akbarabad where a temporary dome was erected over her final resting place while a more suitable monument was built around it. It took twenty two years to complete the Taj Mahal (Crown Palace) and it gained the reputation of being the most splendid tomb in the whole of Agra. An estimated 20,000 people helped in its construction. It was built close to the Tasimacan, a bazaar where many foreigners would visit to buy cotton, so that the whole world could marvel at the magnificent palace.

The building was covered in white marble and positioned at the end of a large water-course. Surrounded by gardens, the water reflects the palace offering splendid views from any angle. Fountains add a touch of movement to a location that seems frozen in time. Inside we can find the tombs of the Emperor and his bride. Made of the purest marble they are carved and inlaid with precious stones and gems.

One of the first westerners to write about the Taj Mahal was the Frenchman Bernier. He visited the palace five years after its completion. Since then there have been many distinguished visitors, helped along the way by the road that was constructed in 1838. Lord Curzon presented an Egyptian lamp to the Taj Mahal in 1909 and it can be seen above the tombs illuminating the dim interior. To date there have been millions of visitors and all go away with a sense of awe and the hope that the Taj Mahal will last for all time as one of the world's true wonders.