Black taj mahal
The Black Taj Mahal, also known as the Black Taj, Kaala Taj, or The Second Taj, is a legendary black marble mausoleum that is said to have been planned to be built across the Yamuna River opposite the Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. Mughal emperor Shah Jahan is said to have desired a mausoleum for himself similar to that of the one he had built in memory of his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
French traveller by the name of Jean Baptiste Tavernier who visited Agra in 1665 first mentioned the idea of Black Taj in his fanciful writings. The writings of Tavernier mention that Shah Jahan began to build his own tomb on the other side of the river but could not complete it as he was deposed by his own son Aurangzeb. However, many modern archaeologists believe this story to be myth.
The first mentions of the supposed monument were found in the writings of Jean Baptiste Tavernier, who visited the area around the time of the Taj Mahal’s construction while working on his Les Six Voyages De Jean Baptiste Tavernier. In the publication, he wrote that the construction of the mysterious black tomb had begun sometime between 1640 and 1655 A.D. At this time, the emperor was locked in deep conflict with his children. It’s understandable, then, that any ambitious building projects Shah Jahan may have had to celebrate himself would have come to an abrupt end.
After being deposed and imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb in Agra Fort, it is said that he spent his last few years as a prisoner, gazing at the Taj Mahal from his prison window. Shah Jahan died in 1666 A.D. and was entombed with his late queen, Mumtaz Muhal.
In the early 1870s, archaeologist A.C.L. Carlleyle believed he had discovered the ruins of the Black Taj Mahal’s foundations, but they proved to be nothing more than the remnants of a pond. Over a century later, the once-majestic Mahtab Bagh (Moonlight Garden) and the surrounding area had almost entirely been reclaimed by nature. Any further evidence, had any ever existed, has been made that much more difficult to unearth.
Upon the emperor’s death, his cenotaph was placed alongside that of Mumtaz Mahal, though the proportions of the two were very different. With a building as meticulously designed as the Taj Mahal, nothing tends to be left asymmetrical by design. Perhaps the emperor’s remains may never have been intended to find a home alongside his wife.