Mumtaz Mahal Death Anniversary: All you need to know
New Delhi, Jun 17: One of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, also known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal, is something everyone has seen in their General Knowledge textbooks. Built as a mausoleum for the beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, this monument is considered a symbol of love in many parts of India. And today is Mumtaz Mahal's death anniversary. Here is a bit of history behind the wonderful woman that inspired the name, Mumtaz Mahal. Read on to find out more.
Life as an Emperor's wife
Born as Arjumand Banu on April 27, 1593, Mumtaz was the daughter of Abu'l-Hasan Asaf Khan and his wife, Diwanji Begum. She was the niece of Empress Nur Jahan, wife of Shah Jahan's father, Jahangir. She was known to be a very cultured woman, well-versed in both Persian and Arabic. She also wrote poems. Mumtaz was known for her beauty in Agra within the noble households and caught a lot of attention, prompting Jahangir to accept her betrothal to his son when she was just 14. She became Shah Jahan's second wife in 1612 when she was 19.
Smitten by her beauty, Shah Jahan reverently called her Mumtaz Mahal, meaning 'exalted one of the Palace.' Mumtaz is considered Mallika-e- Hindustani because she was one of the most beautiful queens. Despite having two other wives, Shah Jahan had little interest in exercising his polygamous rights over them except for having a child with each of them. Mumtaz was his confidant and trusted companion, his truest wife in all aspects of their marriage. She accompanied Shah Jahan on his conquests despite her constant pregnancies and childbearing. She was an art patroness and is said to have favoured many artists.
In their 19 years of marriage, Mumtaz gave birth to 14 children, although only seven survived to adulthood. She died due to a postpartum haemorrhage after giving birth to her 14th child, a daughter named Gauhar Ara Begum. The labour had lasted 30 hours in Burhanpur when Mumtaz had accompanied Shah Jahan as he fought a campaign in the Deccan Plateau. On June 17, 1631, Mumtaz breathed her last and was briefly buried in a pleasure garden in Burhanpur before being transported to Agra, and the mausoleum Taj Mahal's construction finished 22 years later. It is said that Shah Jahan went into a secluded mourning period, after which he visibly became weaker and appeared older before his oldest daughter Jahanara Begum resumed Mumtaz's place in his court and supported him.
The Taj Mahal
When initially buried at Burhanpur, Shah Jahan continued his military campaign. When he returned, he started planning the construction of a marble mausoleum with pristine gardens to honour his beautiful and beloved wife. After 22 years, the construction was complete, letting his late wife rest with her face towards Mecca. Some theories suggest Shah Jahan chopped off the construction workers' hands because he did not want them to build another structure as beautiful as the Taj Mahal.
Though no other tomb was planned to exist within the Taj Mahal, Aurangzeb buried his father Shah Jahan right next to his mother's tomb to keep them together even in death. This explains the asymmetrical placement of the tombs within the monument.
Mumtaz Mahal is a celebrated Mughal queen who will forever be remembered for her tomb, the Taj Mahal, one of India's most visited monuments today.