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5 Fascinating Facts about the Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is an Islamic tomb located in Agra, India. Construction began in 1631 and was completed in 1653, and the site is a favourite tourist destination. Here are some facts about the Taj Mahal that you may, or may not, know.

#1.)    It’s basically a memorial

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Emperor Shah Jahan had the Taj Mahal built in memory of his third (and favourite) wife, Mumtāz Mahal. If I had to guess, I’d say he missed a few birthdays and wanted to go big at the end. It is said that her death affected him so deeply that within months his hair and beard had turned pure white. That’s love.

Oh, also, she died giving birth to their, um, 14th child. There was no TV back in those days.

#2.)    The workforce was, well, ridiculous

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It took 22 000 people and more than 1 000 elephants twenty-two years to complete the structure. That workforce includes labourers, painters, stonecutters and who knows what else. And 1 000 elephants!

#3.)    The British were disgusting

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At least 28 different types of semi-precious and precious stones were used to line the walls with inlay work. In 1857, during the Indian Rebellion, the British stripped its walls of the many varieties of precious and semi-precious stones.

#4.)    It varies in colour

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Depending upon what time of the day it is and, sometimes, whether or not the moon is in the night sky, the walls of the Taj Mahal appear to be a different colour at every visit. Some believe it represents the changing moods of a woman, but probably not.

#5.)    Shan Jahan wasn’t going to stop there

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According to legend, Shah Jahan was not satisfied with just his white creation, and planned to construct a black version of the Taj Mahal across the river. Unfortunately, this plan was interrupted by a war with his sons, and we never got the whole night-and-day, yin-and-yang thing he was going for there.

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