The Taj Mahal was built in the year 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.
The Taj Mahal stands on the southern bank of the Yamuna River in Agra, India.
It took 22 years to build the Taj Mahal.
It is one of the most outstanding examples of Mughal architecture; a combination of Indian, Persian and Islamic influences.
The Taj Mahal is built out of white marble that seems to change color depending on the sunlight or moonlight hitting its surface.
The marble was inlaid with semi-precious stones (including jade, crystal, lapis lazuli, amethyst and turquoise)
It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.
It has a central dome and is surrounded by four smaller domes; four slender towers, or minarets, stood at the corners.
Inside the mausoleum, an octagonal marble chamber adorned with carvings and semi-precious stones housed the cenotaph, or false tomb, of Mumtaz Mahal. The real sarcophagus containing her actual remains lay below, at garden level.
Shah Jahan lived out the last years of his life under house arrest in a tower of the Red Fort at Agra, with a view of the majestic resting place he had constructed for his wife; when he died in 1666, he was buried next to her.
As the Mughal power crumbled, the Taj Mahal suffered from neglect and disrepair in the two centuries after Shah Jahan’s death.
Lord Curzon, the British viceroy of India, ordered a major restoration of the mausoleum complex as part of a colonial effort to preserve India’s artistic and cultural heritage.
Air pollution from nearby factories and automobiles poses a threat to the mausoleum’s gleaming white marble façade.
In 1998, following the Supreme Court's ruling, a number of such polluting factories were closed and vehicular traffic banned from the immediate vicinity of the complex.
It is a prominent monument that attracts visitors from all over the world. Today, around 45,000 people a day, during peak tourist season, visit the Taj Mahal.