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Here is some general information about the Taj Mahal, India’s most popular tourist attraction. The monument is located on the banks of the Yamuna River in Agra, India.
The Taj Mahal was built in the 17th century by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to honor his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in childbirth.
“Taj Mahal” means “crown of palace” in Urdu and Persian.
In fiscal 2018, nearly 6.5 million people visited the Taj Mahal, according to statistics from Indian Ministry of Tourism.
The site is maintained by the Archaeological survey of India, who organized multi-year clean-up projects to restore the discolored areas of the Taj Mahal’s facade caused by air pollution and insect excretions from the adjacent Yamuna River.
The most recognizable feature of the Taj Mahal is the large, domed white mausoleum, which is surrounded by four tall minarets at each corner. The exterior is white marble.
The main building contains two cenotaphs commemorating Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. A cenotaph is a Greek word meaning “empty tomb”. The couple are actually buried in sarcophagi below.
The cenotaphs and the screen that surrounds them are covered with intricately designed mosaics in semi-precious stones.
On either side of the Taj Mahal are two red sandstone buildings: a mosque and a meeting room.
The grounds also include gardens and a long, reflective swimming pool.
1628 – Shah Jahan becomes emperor as part of the Mughal dynasty, ruling northern India.
1631 – His wife, Mumtaz Mahal, dies in childbirth.
1632 – Start of construction of the Taj Mahal. It is estimated that around 20,000 workers participated in the construction of the structure.
1648 – The main mausoleum of the Taj Mahal has been completed.
1653 – Additional features including a mosque, guest house and courtyard are completed.
1666 – Shah Jahan dies and his remains are buried next to Mumtaz Mahal under the Taj Mahal complex.
1861 – The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is founded to help preserve and restore Indian monuments and historic sites.
1899-1905 – British Lord Curzon serves as viceroy of India. During his tenure, he ordered the restoration of certain historic places, including the Taj Mahal.
1983 – UNESCO designates the Taj Mahal as a world heritage site.
July 7, 2007 – the The Taj Mahal is named one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”. as part of a online marketing campaign.
October 2017 – The Taj Mahal is one of many sites excluded from a brochure issued by the Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department. Referring to Yogi Adityanath’s explanation, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh that the monument does not “reflect Indian culture,” Swapan Dasgupta, a BJP member of the upper house of the Indian parliament, told CNN that any controversy had been exaggerated.
April 1, 2018 – A three hour limit for Taj Mahal visitors is implemented.
May 9, 2018 – The Supreme Court of India orders ASI to do a better job with its restoration plan, as the discoloration and stains on the exterior of the Taj Mahal have not been addressed as promised.
March 17, 2020 – ASI orders the closure of all monuments and museums due to the threat of coronavirus, including the Taj Mahal.
June 14, 2021 – ASI issues statement that monuments and museums closed due to coronavirus pandemic will reopen June 16, with protection guidelines in place.
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