Let’s Learn More about the Mughal Empire in India!
Global History and Geography I Name: ______
E. Napp Date: ______
The Taj Mahal: A Love Story in Marble
Once upon a time, there was a boy. When the boy was fourteen years old, he saw a beautiful woman. The boy fell madly in love with the beautiful woman. In fact, it was love at first sight. Now, this boy was the son of a Mughal Emperor and the beautiful woman was a Persian princess. Five years later, in 1612, the two married. These two lovers were Shah Jahan and his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. As the years passed, the couple remained in love and inseparable. But tragically, Shah Jahan’s beloved wife died in 1631 after giving birth to their 14th child. It is believed that before she died, she had her husband promise to build the world’s most beautiful monument in her memory. While there is no evidence that this promise was actually spoken, one of the world’s most beautiful buildings was constructed for the beloved wife of Shah Jahan. It is known as the Taj Majal. Shah Jahan, himself also, lies in this mausoleum or tomb along with his wife.
The construction of Taj Mahal started in the year 1631 and it took approximately 22 years to build it. An epitome of love, it made use of the services of 22,000 laborers and 1,000 elephants. It was built entirely out of white marble, which was brought in from all over India and central Asia. After an expenditure of approximately 32 million rupees (approx US $68000), the Taj Mahal was finally completed in the year 1653.
- Who was Shah Jahan? ______
- Who was Mumtaz Mahal? ______
- How does the reader know that these two individuals loved each other greatly? ______
- How did Mumtaz Mahal die? ______
- What did Shah Jahan build for his wife? ______
- List three facts about the construction of this glorious monument: ______
Let’s Review the geography of the Indian subcontinent!
Peninsula, Ganges, Indus, Himalayas, Monsoons, Asia, Arabian, Bengal, Indian, North, West, East, Hinduism, Islam
The Mughal Empire was a Muslim Empire that ruled much of the Indian subcontinent in the 16th and 17th centuries. However, most Indians were Hindus.
What differences exist between Hindus and Muslims?
Differences: Hindus and Muslims
- The belief in one God is the most important belief in Islam.
- Hindus worship many gods but these different gods are all part of the one God. Nonetheless, Hinduism is perceived as being polytheistic.
- Status of Man
- In Islam, all humans are created equal.
- Hinduism has a caste system. A person’s previous life determines his caste or fixed social class. A person must marry in his caste and must remain in his caste a lifetime. Therefore, humans are not equal.
- Dietary Differences
- Muslims cannot eat pork. Muslims cannot drink alcohol.
- Hindus cannot eat beef.
- The Afterlife
- Muslims believe in the existence of Heaven and Hell
- Hindus believe in reincarnation.
Hindus / Muslims
How do Hindus view God? / How do Muslims view God?
How do Hindus view man? / How do Muslims view man?
Beliefs or practices that are uniquely Hindu: / Beliefs or practices that are shared by the monotheistic traditions:
Abkar the Great
Who: A Mughal Emperor who ruled northern India from 1556-1605, grandfather
of Shah Jahan
What: An Emperor
Where: Northern India
Why: Why was he great?
Akbar was a Muslim ruler of a mostly Hindu land. However, Akbar had respect for all religions at a time when most people did not respect or tolerate other religions. Akbar understood that it was necessary for the different religious groups of his empire to work together. Respect and religious cooperation would help Akbar rule and help his empire to grow and prosper. Akbar invited religious scholars and teachers throughout his empire to come to his palace and share their ideas. He abolished taxes on Hindus and promoted Hindus to high government posts. He participated in Hindu festivals and even married a Hindu princess. Akbar was a tolerant ruler.
Now, Akbar’s tolerance was truly remarkable. Islam and Hinduism are two very different belief systems. Many years later, the British would divide India at independence and create Pakistan for the Muslims and India for the Hindus. However, Akbar successfully ruled an empire of Hindus and Muslims. He did not separate the Hindus and Muslims. He united them through respect and tolerance.
- Who was Akbar? ______
- What is Akbar remembered for? ______
- What do Muslims believe? ______
- What do Hindus believe? ______
- Why is Akbar’s religious tolerance so remarkable or incredible? ______
- What country is north of India and south of China? ______
- What island is south of India? ______
- What archipelago is south of India? ______
- What nation is north of Pakistan? ______
- What is the capital of Nepal? ______
Five Interesting Facts about Taj Mahal
- Taj Mahal appears pink in the morning, white in the day and changes its color to golden in the moon light.
- The pillars surrounding Taj Mahal are slightly tilted outwards so that in the event of an earthquake they will fall away from the tomb.
- An identical Taj Mahal was supposed to be built in black marble instead of white. The base of it can still be seen across the river.
- Over 1,000 elephant were used to transport building materials during the construction.
- The Taj Mahal in India is perfectly symmetrical, except for one thing. The two tombs inside are not equal in size. This is because the male tomb has to be larger than the female tomb.