“The Taj Mahal rises above the banks of the river like a solitary tear forever suspended on the cheek of time.” These are the famous words of Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore about the Taj Mahal quoted in history textbooks. Indian history often speaks of the Taj Mahal as an epitome of romantic love. Built by the Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his third wife Mumtaz Mahal, the monument holds the tomb of the king’s beloved queen. The aspect which doesn’t get spoken about often is the spiritual legacy this grand work of art embodies. Indeed, the Taj stands as a palpable visual depiction of romantic love transcending into an expression of devotional zeal.
Devotion of a kingdom
The process of transforming a barren piece of land on the banks of River Yamuna into a tangible monument as it stands today was not a single-handed task. Taj Mahal’s construction was a daunting mission of over 22,000 craftsmen, workers, sculptors, calligraphers and architects. They gave to it 22 years of their lives as an expression of devotion to their king whom they considered the ‘shadow of God on earth’. It took over a decade for them to fathom the dedication and grit it would require to erect this marvel. Several of them had to stay away from their families, putting in relentless hours of work.