TheÂ Taj MahalÂ (/ËŒtÉ‘ËdÊ’Â mÉ™ËˆhÉ‘Ël,Â ËŒtÉ‘ËÊ’-/;Â meaning “Crown of the Palace”) is an ivory-white marbleÂ mausoleumÂ on the south bank of theÂ YamunaÂ river in the Indian city ofÂ Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by theÂ Mughal emperor,Â Shah JahanÂ (reigned from 1628 to 1658), to house the tomb of his favourite wife,Â Mumtaz Mahal. The tomb is the centrepiece of a 17-hectare (42-acre)Â complex, which includes aÂ mosqueÂ and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by aÂ crenellatedÂ wall.
Construction of the mausoleum was essentially completed in 1643 but work continued on other phases of the project for another 10 years. The Taj Mahal complex is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653 at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32Â millionÂ rupees, which in 2015 would be approximately 52.8Â billion rupees (U.S. $827Â million). The construction project employed some 20,000 artisans under the guidance of a board of architects led by the court architect to the emperor,Â Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.
The Taj Mahal was designated as aÂ UNESCOÂ World Heritage SiteÂ in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”. It is regarded by many as the best example ofÂ Mughal architectureÂ and a symbol of India’s rich history. The Taj Mahal attracts 7â€“8 million visitors a year. In 2007, it was declared a winner of theÂ New7Wonders of the WorldÂ (2000â€“2007) initiative.