The Most Worthy of Love


When she brought out the last pearl

She emptied her body like an oyster


On this day June 17, 385 years ago, large populace of India joined their emperor and the royal family to mourn the untimely death of Arjumand Banu Begum, popularly known as Mumtaz Mahal, the 38-year old favourite second wife of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan.


Famed as much for her charity as for her beauty, Mumtaz (The Chosen One of the Palace), was pregnant with her fourteenth child (daughter named Gauhara Begum) when she succumbed to death in childbirth in 1631, leaving her husband heartbroken.


Just as he had promised to her dying prayers, Shah Jahan erected Taj Mahal, the mausoleum of unsurpassed splendour and flawless symmetry on the right bank of the River Yamuna at Agra. In memory of Mumtaz Mahal, Taj Mahal was so named from an abbreviation of her name.


Built of milk-white marble, rose sandstone and studded with precious jewels, the Taj Mahal remains the pride of India from Shah Jahan’s day. I have walked in and around it on five different occasions and I always loved its grand sight – it’s magnificence as it looms proudly within a large interconnected complex of gardens and buildings. Until next time. Jo


How shall I understand the magic of Love the Juggler?

For he made thy beauty enter at that small gate the pupil of my eye,

And now – and now my heart cannot contain it!” – medieval Indian poet Faizi


(©Joseph Sébastine/Manningtree Archive)

21 thoughts on “The Most Worthy of Love

  1. I will never forget the walk up to the Taj Mahal and those glorious gardens as well. Magificent!! Still get goosebumps thinking about it.

    • Thank you, Fransi. Yes, I remember you mentioning earlier about your visit to India and to Taj. I could still remember the very first time in mid-1984 I walked through the main gateway into the outer ornamental gardens and was captivated by the dazzling view of the Taj Mahal looming right in front of me. Marvellous!

    • Thanks for your comments. When we look back on history and think of the people who lived before us, we could find many stories of true love and romance – stories like that of Mumtaz and Shah Jahan that inspire us. Its good that such stories continues to prop up !

    • Thank you. That’s a wonderful idea, Carolyn. Taj is a wonderful piece of architecture. A common opinion is that everyone who has seen the Taj finds something unique in it, something difficult to define or analyse. This differentiates it from other monuments in the world. By the way, there are many other interesting monuments from the Mughal period located in that region.

  2. Love is great…. as great as this mausoleum !
    What a beautiful love story!
    Thank for sharing such beautiful stories
    Have a nice wekend ♥

    • Thank you, Lucia. I greatly admire your poems on love. Plato said, “at the touch of love everyone becomes a poet”. From the romance and love of Adam and Eve at the Garden of Eden down to the modernised love finding expressions through cross-platform mobile messaging texts on WhatsApp, love can be heaven or love can be hell. I am glad I tend to believe that love takes you in, holds you close, and will never let you go. Lovely weekend to you, too.

  3. Pingback: Mughal Kadhai Tender Mutton…… | Anyone 4 Curry & Other Things

  4. Wonderful post. I have visited Taj recently.. and I must confess, every time I visit Taj, it just revives my memory again & again. Splendid beauty it is! I had visited Taj Mahal 7 years back. My husband was a new-comer. He had never been to Taj. So I took the initiative to be his guide & hostess, & made sure to make him visit everything… he missed to see in these past years. Taj Mahal is truly an epitome of beauty. Your pictures made me revise memory of my present visit. I’m scrolling through my album while writing this to you.
    Thank u for this spellbound share !!

  5. We visited a few years and I was blown away by its beauty. And you’ve been there 5 times! I’m sure each time you must see further details and experience the beauty anew.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s