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Taj Mahal builders identified by scholars

AGRA, India, July 7 (UPI) -- Indian archeologists have found the names of more than 670 previously unknown "masons and laborers" who helped build the Taj Mahal.

The names, mostly in Arabic and Persian, were found etched into the sandstone walls on the northern side of the elaborate tomb.

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"Most of these masons came from Iran, Central Asia and India," said D. Dayalan, the superintending archaeologist. "The names have been meticulously divided into sections, such as dome makers, garden development department, furnishing workers and inlay artists."

The Taj Mahal was built on the orders of Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor who was left grief-stricken when his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, died in childbirth in 1631. A team of 20,000 craftsmen and laborers worked for 17 years to build the mausoleum.

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