The symbol of love, the Taj Mahal stands pridefully at the heart of Agra. The monument is the memorial of Mumtaj, the beloved wife of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. However, do you know how their romance blossomed? How did it become a tale of eternal love? Today we are sharing the love story of Shah Jahan and Mumtaj. 

Prince Khurram

Born in 1592, Shihab al-Din Muhammad Khurram, renowned as Shah Jahan, was the third son of Badshah Jahangir. Prince Khurram was also the favorite son of the emperor. As a child, he received martial training and cultural arts befitting of a prince. 

After the death of Jahangir, Shah Jahan inherited huge power and wealth. Rose to the top, the first thing he did as the fifth Mughal emperor was to execute most of his rival claimants to the throne. 

Shah Jahan was one of the prominent contributors to Mughal architecture. In his reign, the Mughal realm witnessed the golden age. He built several monuments, including the Taj Mahal, Red Fort, and more.

Banu Begam

Born in 1593, Arjumand Banu Begum orf Mumtaz Mahal was the empress consort of fifth Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. She was the daughter of Abu’l-Hasan Asaf Khan, brother of Empress Nur Jahan. 

Mumtaj Mahal got engaged to Shah Jahan at the age of 14. The favorite consort of the emperor was also his chief advisor. She died in 1631 during the birth of her 14th child. After her death, Shah Jahan made the Taj Mahal of his undying love for her.

Falling in Love

It was love at first sight for Shah Jahan. The 14-year-old Prince Khurram saw a beautiful girl on his stroll to the lanes of Mena Bazaar. The lively girl was making some silk items and glass beads. Without even realizing it, the prince found himself following her. When he looked through it, he came to her identity. Her name was Arjumand Bano Begum. She was the relative of his mother, Empress Nur Jahan.

The young prince immediately rushed to his father and declared that he wanted to marry that adorable lady. It was the year 1607. Emperor Jahangir granted his favorite son’s wish and allowed him to marry her. However, they were not old enough to wed. Thus he postponed their marriage to a later date. Five years later, in 1612, Shah Jahan tied the knot with the love of his life. 

A Thriving Wedlock of Shaj Jahan & Mumtaj

Banu Begam was like a lucky charm for Shah Jahan. Maybe that is why he showered her with the name of Mumtaz Mahal, which means the jewel of the palace. After a few years after their marriage, he took over the throne, ousting his brothers and becoming a rebel emperor.

Although he had other wives as an emperor, he was only devoted to Mumtaj Begam. His love for him was so deep that he could not let her go for even a second. He used to take her with him wherever he went somewhere. The emperor and his consort had a pleasant married life. They had 14 children within the 19 years of their married life. 

However, Banu Begam was not just her beloved wife. She was well-versed in many subjects and used to advise him on politics as well as the economy. 

A Tragic Separation

Unlike fairytales, this epic love story ended with a tragic separation. During the birth of their 14th child, Mumtaj Begam fell ill. As there were no modern technologies at that time, her body could not take the pressure, and she died during childbirth. 

The loss of the love of his life deeply affected Shah Jahan. The pain and grief were unbearable for him. The kingdom also got into turmoil as the emperor declared two years of mourning in the court. 

The Making of the Taj Mahal

Boring the pain in his heart, Emperor Shah Jahan focused on the pledge he took to Mumtaj Mahal. It was to build the most beautiful memorial for her. Taj Mahal took 22 years to get complete. This mausoleum was the outcome of the day and night effort of twenty-two thousand workers from India as well as Persia. And a few years later, in 1666, Shah Jahan went to her beloved to stay for eternity.

Photo by Rahul

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