The Taj Mahal is the most photographed and discussed building in history. This impossibly beautiful marble monument, the Poem in Marble, took over 22,000 laborers 22 years to build and was built to commemorate the love of Emperor Shah Jahaan for his empress, Mumtaz Mahal.
One of the finest examples of Indian workmanship to be found in marble, it is superbly decorated with abstract designs, floral decorations, calligraphy, marble inlay work and shallow sculpted marble panels. Stone inlay was a special technique developed in India to decorate stone and wall surfaces. Even today, in Agra, you can find artisans making miniature models of the Taj in marble and preparing decorative plates, tables and boxes with fine inlay work.
Shah Jahan intended to build a black marble replica of the Taj on the other side of the river but he was imprisoned by his son before the work could start. He was buried beside Mumtaz Mahal because the Emperor Aurangzeb, his son and successor, did not wish to spend excessive mounts of money on building another Taj for his father. Aurangzeb, later built the Bibika Maqbara as a dedication to the memory of his first wife, which is a replica of the Taj Mahal.