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Taj Mahal

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The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is a tomb built in the 17th century by Mughal ruler Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. She is the 3rd wife of Shah Jahan.

It is in the city of Agra, Utter Pradesh,. Widely thought of as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, it is one of India's biggest tourist attractions.

It was chosen as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.[1] It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, together with the Agra Fort, 2.5 kilometers away.[2]


A view of the Taj Mahal from the east

The Taj Mahal is an example of Mughal architecture – a mixture of building design ideas from Islamic Indian, Persian (old Iran), and Muslim arts.

Shah Jahan was going to build an identical black tomb for himself, but he died before he even began to build, and was entombed in the Taj Mahal with his wife.

The Taj Mahal was constructed with materials from all over the world, and over 20,000 people were used to move building materials. It is generally thought that Ustad Ahmad Lahauri was in charge of the construction.[3] The construction was finished in 1653.[4]


Many people think it is one of the most beautiful buildings ever built. However, it is slowly being damaged by acid rain.[5] A nearby oil refinery has been blamed for some of the damage. In 1996, the Indian Supreme Court said that local industry was harming the Taj Mahal.[6] The court set up an area of 10,400 square kilometers around the Taj Mahal called the Taj Trapezium Zone. Industries within this zone must use natural gas instead of coal.[7]

There have also been concerns about the effect of visitors on the site. Rajan Kishore, a conservationist from Agra, has said that visitors walking through are putting too much pressure on the Taj Mahal, and suggested that the number of people allowed in be limited.[8]

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This article is about a World Heritage Site