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Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of river Yamuna in Agra, Uttar Pradesh.
It was commissioned in 1632 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal.
The tomb is the centrepiece of a 17-hectare complex, which includes a mosque and a guesthouse, and is set in formal gardens.
Taj Mahal was designated as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”.
Described by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore as “the teardrop on the cheek of time”, it is regarded by many as the best example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India’s rich history. It attracts around eight million visitors a year. In 2007, it was declared a winner of the New 7 Wonders of the World (2000—2007) initiative.
— By Karuna Madan, Correspondent