17 Jun: Build Me The Taj Mahal

India’s most famous building, Agra’s Taj Mahal, was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan – following the death in childbirth of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, on 17th June, 1631. 

Renowned for its stunning architecture – a blend of Indian, Persian, and Islamic styles – the mausoleum can be seen not only as a testament to the couple’s love (despite the fact the Shah had three other wives…), but also as an embodiment of his empire’s extraordinary wealth and power.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly reveal the scale of the workforce brought in to construct this pioneering palace; consider whether Mumtaz truly was a ‘Queen of Hearts’; and assess the various Taj Mahal replicas across the world…

Further Reading:

• ‘The History and Love Story of the Taj Mahal’ (ThoughtCo, 2019): https://www.thoughtco.com/the-taj-mahal-1434536

• ’A husband’s love built the Taj Mahal—but cost him an empire’ (National Geographic): https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/history-magazine/article/a-husbands-love-built-the-taj-mahal-but-cost-him-an-empire

• ‘Is this the most beautiful building in the world? – Stephanie Honchell Smith’ (TedEd, 2023):