Emperor Shah Jahan married Mumtaz Mahal in 1612 in an unusual love match. Jahan involved his wife on all matters of state, and she followed him on all his military campaigns in spite of being almost constantly pregnant. She bore him 14 children, but her sudden death in childbirth caused Jahan inconsolable grief. His only solace was in creating the perfect memorial to his lost love on the banks of the Jumna River at Agra.
The mausoleum, made from milk-white marble and studded with a fortune in precious jewels, took 20 years to complete, involved over 20,000 labourers, and incurred catastrophic costs which led to bloody rebellion by the offspring of his own great love match. Shah Jahan spent his final years in captivity, imprisoned by his own son.
The Moghul Empire, irrevocably weakened by anarchy, fratricide and savage warfare, was eventually destroyed by the British Empire while the Taj itself lived on, surviving to this day as a monument of unparalleled beauty.