India's Nobel Laureate, Tagore, once said that Taj Mahal is a "tear drop on the face of humanity".
A building that echoes the cry "I have not forgotten, I have not forgotten, O beloved!"
A female Dutch backpacker I met told me how she was the second person to enter the gate at 6am in the morning. How did she feel of having Taj Mahal almost to herself? She wanted to cry. Such is the spell Taj Mahal has to everyone who sets his eyes on it.
Shah Jahan, fifth of the Great Mughals, was so devoted to his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal (Jewel of the Palace) that he could not bear to be parted from her and insisted that she always travel with him, in all states of health. While accompanying him on a military campaign, she died at the age of 39 giving birth to their 14th child. On her deathbed, it is said, that she asked the emperor to show the world how much they loved one another.
The grief-stricken emperor went into mourning for two years. He turned away from the business of running the empire and dedicated himself to architecture, resolving to build his wife, the most magnificent memorial on earth. On the right bank of the river Yamuna, in full view of his fortress palace, it was to be known as the Taj-i-Mahal, The Crown of the Palace.