• Melissa D. Goolsarran Ramnauth, Esq.

The Taj Mahal

Updated: Jul 13, 2021

By: Melissa D. Goolsarran Ramnauth, Esq. | Trademark Attorney

The Taj Mahal was commissioned by Shah Jahan in 1632 to honor his wife, Mumtaz.

Shah Jahan (formally known as Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Khurram) was the fifth Mughal Emperor. He was born in 1592, in modern-day Pakistan. He ruled from 1628 to 1658. This time period is also known as the golden age of Mughal architecture.

Shah Jahan and Mumtaz met in their youth and were engaged as teenagers. They married five years after their engagement because they had to wait for an auspicious date selected by court astrologers. In the interim, Shah Jahan married his first wife and would go on to have several wifes. The other marriages were primarily for political reasons.

Mumtaz and Shah Jahan allegedly shared a powerful and devoted love during a time when the Western European notion of romantic love was not prominent in India. He was taken with Mumtaz from their first meeting. Mumtaz and Shah Jahan always desired to be together. Mumtaz was also a brilliant political advisor to the emperor. She often made the journey with him on his excursions throughout India. They even journeyed together to quell locals rebelling against the Mughal Empire.

Mumtaz passed away of postpartum hemorrhaging, giving birth to their 14th child. Emperor Shah Jahan was overcome with grief after Mumtaz’s passing and commissioned the Taj Mahal in her honor.

The ivory marble mausoleum, located on the Yamuna River, took over 20 years to build, cost over $800 million dollars in today’s rate, and was created by 20,000 workers. The recognizable dome is about 115 ft. tall. Certain elements were constructed so that debris would fall away from the tomb in the event of a collapse (which was slightly common for tall buildings during that time). The false sarcophagi of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan are in the ornate chamber above while their actual tombs are below. This is likely because Muslim tradition forbids ornate decoration of graves.

The complex also includes a mosque, guest house, and formal gardens. The area fell into disrepair as Shah Jahan aged and was confined to house arrest. Jat rulers stole prominent chandeliers and screens. When the British Empire assumed control, they also changed the gardens to resemble the formal lawns in London. Nevertheless, this World Heritage site attracts millions of visitors each year.

Melissa D. Goolsarran Ramnauth, Esq. is a trademark and business attorney. She writes weekly articles on West Indian history and politics to raise awareness of the past, and educate the Caribbean diaspora on the need for legal contracts and trademarks.

She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, a minor degree in History that focused on the slavery and indentured servitude eras, a minor degree in Criminology, and a Juris Doctor degree.

MDGR Law, P.A.

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