This is the history of Shah Jahan and the Taj Mahal.

Shah Jahan gave India its most precious jewel, the Taj Mahal. One of the seven wonders of the world, Taj is the biggest symbol of love in the world. It represents the love between Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz. Like the white marble of the Taj, the Mughal empire shone at its brightest under the rule of Shah Jahan.

Shahab-ud-Din- Muhammad Khurram was the seventh child and the third son of the Mughal king Jahangir. He got the name Khurram from his grandfather, the great Akbar. Akbar had raised Khurram in his house instead of Jahangir’s.

During his childhood, Khurram spent most of his time with Akbar learning about politics and war strategies. Akbar once told Jahangir that Khurram will emerge as his successor even though he was not his firstborn.

Rightly so, after the death of Jahangir, Khurram started a war of succession with his own brother. Their father had died on his way to visit Kabul. The news of his death came to Khurram first. He started preparing for the battle that would follow. According to tradition, the first son of a king was chosen as the next king. Khurram’s elder brother Shahryar was to be coronated once the death of Jahangir was declared officially and a period of mourning was observed.

During this period, Shah Jahan raided the city of Agra and arrested his brother and his supporters. Remembering the teachings of his grandfather, he executed them, leaving no future chances of rebellions. He was coronated as the new King and given the title of Shah Jahan, meaning the King of the world.

Shah Jahan was a brilliant military tactician, thanks to his mentor Akbar. Shah Jahan’s first conquest was Mewar. Mewar was desired by the previous Mughals as well. But Mewar not only had great fortresses but even greater Rajput warriors to defend itself. The military might of Akbar and the diplomacy of Jahangir have both failed to conquer Mewar. Shah Jahan used both, he displayed his immense army as well as held a dialogue with their king. As a result, the Mewar king surrendered himself to Shah Jahan.

By winning over Mewar, Shah Jahan took the Mughal empire to its biggest. This move also opened a clear pathway between Delhi and the ports of Gujarat. Soon, the Mughals gained a lot of income through exports. As a result, Shah Jahan commissioned many architectural reforms throughout the country. Two of India’s most iconic buildings, the Redfort and the Taj Mahal were constructed under his rule. The Taj Mahal was actually named Mumtaz Mahal and was made as a mausoleum for his wife Mumtaz. He also constructed major trading routes between port cities and mainland capitals.

Life came full circle as Shah Jahan was brought under house arrest by his own son Aurangzeb. Shah Jahan remained locked up in the house for six years before he passed away. In the solitude, he was reminded of the wrongdoings he did for the throne. After his death, he was laid side by side with his most beloved wife in the Taj Mahal.

Shah Jahan’s life is full of ups and downs. Such an illustrious span of the rule is full of life lessons. But he will always be associated with the marvellous Taj and the love story behind it.

  • Some more facts that you have missed in your narrative:
    Mumtaz was Shahjahan’s 4th wife out of his 7 wives. Shah Jahan killed Mumtaz’s husband to marry her. Shah Jahan eventually married Mumtaz’s sister as well.

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