The Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful and costly tombs in the world. It is built in memory of Shah Jahan's wife, an Indian emperor. Taj Mahal is shortened from her title Mumtaz-i- Mahal which means 'pride of the palace'. The tomb stands at Agra in the northern India.
When his beloved wife died, Shah Jahan was so brokenhearted and to show his love he decided to build her a beautiful tomb that had never been seen. Then he summoned the best artists and architects from India, Turkey, Persia and Arabia. The building materials came from many countries, including Arabia, Egypt, Tibet and various parts of India.
It took more than twenty thousand men working over period of 18 years to build the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is made of white marble. It rests on eight-sided platform of red sandstone. Each side is 130 feet ( 39.6 meters ) long. At each corner of the platform stands a slender minaret ( prayer tower ). Each tower is 133 feet ( 40.5 meters high ). The building it self is 186 feet ( 56.7 meters ) square. A dome covers the center part of the building.
It is 70 feet ( 21.3 meters ) in diameter and 120 feet ( 36.6 meters ) high. Passages from the Moslem holy book, the Koran, decorate the outside. A central room contains two cenotaphs ( monuments ). Visitors can see the monuments through a screen of carved alabaster. The bodies of Shah Jahan and his wife lie in a vault below. The tomb stands in a garden, where pools reflect the building.