By Michael Preston Diana Preston
In 1631, the heartbroken Moghul Emperor, Shah Jahan, ordered the development of a monument of unsurpassed splendour and majesty in reminiscence of his cherished spouse. Theirs used to be a rare tale of passionate love: even supposing virtually continually pregnant - she bore him fourteen young children - Mumtaz Mahal her husband on each army crusade. yet then Mumtaz died in childbirth. Blinded by way of grief, Shah Jahan created a good looking and indulgent memorial for her at the banks of the river Jumna. The Taj Mahal took two decades to construct and depleted the Moghul treasuries. yet Shah Jahan used to be to pay a better expense for his obsession. He ended his days imprisoned by way of his personal son in Agra castle, watching around the river on the monument to his love. The construction of the Taj Mahal had set brother opposed to brother and son opposed to father in a savage clash that driven the 17th century's strongest empire into irreversible decline.
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Extra resources for A Teardrop on the Cheek of Time: The Story of the Taj Mahal
He was not overly impressed: ‘Hindustan is a place of few charms … The cities and provinces are all unpleasant. The gardens have no walls and most places are flat as boards. There is no beauty in its people, no graceful society, no poetic talent, no etiquette, nobility or manliness … There are no good horses, meat, grapes, melons or other fruit … no ice, cold water, no good food, no baths, no madrasas … no running water in their gardens or palaces and in their buildings no pleasing harmony or symmetry’.
More silver coins were piled up than had ever been seen before in one place. ’ Humayun means ‘fortunate’, but by no means all his fortune would be good. Other sons from different wives followed: Kamran in 1509, Askari in 1516 and Hindal in 1519. Beginning in 1519, Babur made four preliminary expeditions into Hindustan before unleashing a full invasion in the autumn of 1525. At this time the Muslim sultanate of Delhi, who had dominated much of northern India for over three hundred years, was riven by internal feuding against the ruling sultan Ibrahim.
The English East India Company was chartered in 1600 and began trading on India’s west coast where the Portuguese had been established since 1510. The English and the Portuguese were, however, mere lowly observers at the court of the Moghuls. A miniature portrait of Shah Jahan’s father, Jahangir, shows him ruling the world while an insignificant James I of England is pictured beneath in a subordinate position looking somewhat sour even if he is wearing only slightly fewer pearls and jewels on his person and clothes than Jahangir.