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the taj mahal was built by the mughal emperor shah jahan (reigned 1628–58) to immortalize his wife (“chosen one of the palace”). the name taj mahal is a derivation of her name. she died in childbirth in 1631, after having been the emperor’s inseparable companion since their marriage in 1612. taj mahal wallpapers. the plans for the complex have been attributed to various architects of the period, though the chief architect was probably ustad ahmad lahawri, an indian of persian descent. the five principal elements of the complex—main gateway, garden, mosque. jawab (literally “answer”; a building mirroring the mosque), and mausoleum were conceived and designed as a unified entity according to the tenets of mughal building practice, which allowed no subsequent addition or alteration. taj mahal wallpapers. building commenced about 1632. more than 20,000 workers were employed from india, persia, the ottoman empire, and europe to complete the mausoleum itself by about 1638–39; the adjunct buildings were finished by 1643, and decoration work continued until at least 1647. in total, construction of the 42-acre (17-hectare) complex spanned 22 years.

resting in the middle of a wide plinth 23 feet (7 metres) high, the mausoleum proper is of white marble that reflects hues according to the intensity of sunlight or moonlight. it has four nearly identical facades, each with a wide central arch rising to 108 feet (33 metres) at its apex and chamfered (slanted) corners incorporating smaller arches. taj mahal wallpapers. the majestic central dome, which reaches a height of 240 feet (73 metres) at the tip of its finial, is surrounded by four lesser domes. the acoustics inside the main dome cause the single note of a flute to reverberate five times. the interior of the mausoleum is organized around an octagonal marble chamber ornamented with low-relief carvings and semiprecious stones. therein are the cenotaphs of mumtaz mahal and shah jahan. those false tombs are enclosed by a finely wrought filigree marble screen. beneath the tombs, at garden level, lie the true sarcophagi. taj mahal wallpapers. standing gracefully apart from the central building, at each of the four corners of the square plinth, are elegant minarets.

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