***NON-ENGLISH AUDIO ***TAJ MAHAL: INDIAThe Taj Mahal
is a mausoleum located in Agra, India. The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned it as a mausoleum for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Construction began in 1632 and was completed in approximately 1648. Some dispute surrounds the question of who designed the Taj Mahal; it is clear a team of designers and craftsmen were responsible for the design, with Ustad Ahmad Lahauri considered the most likely candidate as the principal designer.
The Taj Mahal (sometimes called "the Taj") is generally considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements of Persian, Turkish, Indian, and Islamic architectural styles. While the white domed marble mausoleum is the most familiar part of the monument, the Taj Mahal is actually an integrated complex of structures.
In 1983 the Taj became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was cited as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage."