In the 1630s, the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan wanted to build a perfect memorial to his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal after she died giving birth to their 14th child. He employed twenty thousand workers, and a thousand elephants to complete the structure, which still reflects the greatest talents of Persian design.
The main focus is the white marble tomb (photography is prohibited inside) which has a spectacular marble dome. At the corners of the plinth stand four minarets, each more than 40 metres tall, and perfectly symmetrical. Because of the Islamic prohibition on the depiction of human forms, the Taj Mahal is decorated with flower and leaf motifs (inlaid with semi-precious stones), geometric patterns and Arabic calligraphy which depicts passages from the Qur'an.
The garden is meant to symbolize paradise. In contrast to the white marble of the tomb, the mosque, guest house and gatehouse are made of dark, red sandstone.