Agra, in the Indian city of Agra, is the location of the ivory-white Taj Mahal, a mausoleum made of marble. Designed by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1632, the tomb houses the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, the favourite wife of Shah Jahan; as well as the tomb of the emperor himself. Located in the heart of a 17-hectare complex, the tomb is set in formal gardens bordered on three sides by a crenellated wall, which includes a mosque and a guesthouse.
Mausoleum construction was essentially complete by 1643, but other phases of the project remained unfinished for another 10 years. Approximately 32 million rupees was estimated to have been spent on Taj Mahal’s construction in 1653, or approximately 70 billion rupees today. An architect board led by the court architect of the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, oversaw the construction of the construction project, which employed some 20,000 artisans. To reflect natural beauty and divinity, the Taj has been decorated with various types of symbolism.
The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”. The monument is regarded as the best example of Mughal architecture and an indication of India’s rich history. In 2007, the Taj Mahal was selected as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World initiative and attracts more than six million visitors each year.