Mumtaz Mahal or Arjumand Banu was the woman in whose memory the Taj Mahal was built. Perhaps, there is no better and grand monument built in the history of human civilization dedicated to love. Arjumand Banu was daughter of Asaf Khan and when she married Shahjahan at the age of 14 years, imperial city of Agra was already agog with the stories of her beauty. She was third wife of Prince Khurram or Shahjahan and the principle one throughout their life. She became Mumtaz Mahal in 1612 after her marriage and remained an inseparable companion of her husband till her death. As a symbol of her faith and love she bore Shahjahan 14 children and died during the birth of last child.
For the love and affection she showed to her husband, Mumtaz Mahal received highest honor of the land - the royal seal - Mehr Uzaz from Shahjahan, the emperor. According to the legends, stories of her virtue spread all over the Mughal Empire.
The emperor and his pregnant empress moved towards Maharashtra or Deccan in the year 1630 to suppress the Lodi Empire that was gaining strength at that time. This was going to be the last journey that Mumtaz Mahal ever took. She breathed her last after delivering their 14th child (a daughter) in the city of Burhanpur on June 17, 1631. It is said that Mumtaz Mahal on her deathbed asked Shahjahan to create a symbol of their love for posterity and her loyal husband accepted it immediately. Though many historians are not agree with this story saying that it was the grief-stricken emperor himself who decided to built the most memorable symbol of love in the world.
It took her husband 22 years and most of his royal treasury to built a monument befitting the memory of his beloved wife. In the name of Mumtaz Mahal stands the most beautiful building in the universe, that monument of love, purity and unparalleled beauty called the Taj Mahal.