Fast facts about the Taj Mahal – CNN

The Taj Mahal was built in the 17th century by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in honor of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in childbirth.

“Taj Mahal” means “crown of palaces” in Urdu and Persian.

Site maintained Archaeological Survey of Indiawhich organized multi-year clean-up projects to restore discolored areas on the facade of the Taj Mahal caused by air pollution and insect emissions from the nearby Yamuna River.


The most recognizable feature of the Taj Mahal is the large white domed mausoleum flanked by four towering minarets at each corner. The exterior is made of white marble.

The main building houses two cenotaphs commemorating Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. Cenotaph is a Greek word meaning “empty tomb”. The couple are actually buried in sarcophagi below.

The cenotaphs and the screen surrounding them are covered with a bizarre mosaic of semi-precious stones.

On either side of the Taj Mahal are two red sandstone buildings: a mosque and an assembly hall.

The grounds also include gardens and a long reflecting pool.


1628 – Shah Jahan becomes emperor as part of the Mughal dynasty ruling northern India.

1631 – His wife Mumtaz Mahal dies in childbirth.

1632 – Start of construction of the Taj Mahal. An estimated 20,000 workers helped build the structure.

1648 – The main mausoleum of the Taj Mahal is completed.

1653 – Additional features including a mosque, guest house and courtyard are completed.

1666 – Shah Jahan dies and his remains are buried next to Mumtaz Mahal under the Taj Mahal complex.

1861 – The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was founded to help preserve and restore Indian monuments and historical sites.

1899-1905 – British Lord Curzon serves as Viceroy of India. During his tenure, he ordered the restoration of some historical sites, including the Taj Mahal.
1983- UNESCO grants Taj Mahal status as a World Heritage Site.
October 2017 The Taj Mahal is one of many places excluded from the brochure. issued by the Department of Tourism of Uttar Pradesh. Citing an explanation by Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, that the monument does not “reflect Indian culture,” Swapan Dasgupta, BJP member of India’s upper house of parliament, told CNN any controversy was blown out of proportion.
April 1, 2018 – BUT three-hour limit for Taj Mahal visitors is being implemented.

May 9, 2018 – The Supreme Court of India is ordering ASI to better carry out its restoration plan as the discoloration and stains on the outside of the Taj Mahal were not fixed as promised.

March 17, 2020 – ASI orders to close all monuments and museums because of the threat coronavirus, including the Taj Mahal.