Previous Year - June 2013
Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions.
The Taj Mahal has become one of the world’s best known monuments. This domed white marble structure is situated on a high plinth at the southern end of a four-quartered garden, evoking the gardens of paradise, enclosed within walls measuring
305 by 549 metres. Outside the walls, in an area known as Mumtazabad, were living quarters for attendants, markets, serais and other structures built by local merchants and nobles. The tomb complex and the other imperial structures of Mumtazabad were maintained by the income of thirty villages given specifically for the tomb’s support. The name Taj Mahal is unknown in Mughal chronicles, but it is used by contemporary Europeans in India, suggesting that this was the tomb’s popular name. In contemporary texts, it is generally called simply the Illuminated Tomb (Rauza-i- Munavvara).
Mumtaz Mahal died shortly after delivering her fourteenth child in 1631. The Mughal court was then residing in Burhanpur. Her remains were temporarily buried by the griefstricken emperor in a spacious garden known as Zainabad on the bank of the river Tapti. Six months later her body was transported to Agra, where it was interred in land chosen for the mausoleum. This land, situated south of the Mughal city on the bank of the Jamuna, had belonged to the Kachhwaha rajas since the time of Raja Man Singh and was purchased from the then current raja, Jai Singh. Although contemporary chronicles indicate Jai Singh’s willing cooperation in this exchange, extant farmans (imperial commands) indicate that the final price was not settled until almost two years after the mausoleum’s commencement. Jai Singh’s further cooperation was insured by imperial orders issued between 1632 and 1637 demanding that he provide stone masons and carts to transport marble from the mines at Makrana, within his “ancestral domain”, to Agra where both the Taj Mahal and Shah Jahan’s additions to the Agra fort were constructed concurrently.
Work on the mausoleum was commenced early in 1632. Inscriptional evidence indicates much of the tomb was completed by 1636. By 1643, when Shah Jahan most lavishly celebrated the ‘Urs ceremony for Mumtaz Mahal’, the entire complex was virtually complete.
In the contemporary texts the Taj Mahal is known
B Mumtaz Mahal