Topic: Mumtaz Mahal

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Mumtāz Mahal (April, 1593 - 17 June 1631) (Persian, Urdu: ممتاز محل; pronounced ; meaning "beloved ornament of the palace") is the common nickname of Arjumand Banu Begum, an Indian Empress of the Mughal Dynasty. She was born in Agra, India. Her father was the Persian noble Abdul Hasan Asaf Khan, the brother of Empress Nur Jehan (who subsequently became the wife of the emperor Jahangir). She was religiously a Shi'a Muslim. She was married at the age of 19, on 10 May 1612, to Prince Khurram, who would later ascend the Peacock Throne as Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan I. She was his third wife, and became his favorite. She died in Burhanpur in the Deccan (now in Madhya Pradesh) during the birth of their fourteenth child, a daughter named Gauhara Begum. Her body remained at Burhanpur for 23 years until the Taj was completed. Only then was her coffin shifted to Agra. Her body was then buried in the Taj Mahal in Agra.

In 1607 AD (1016 AH), Prince Khurram was betrothed to Arjumand Banu Begum, who was just 14 years old at the time. She would become the unquestioned love of his life. They would however, have to wait five years before they were married in 1612 AD (1021 AH), on a date selected by the court astrologers as most conducive to ensuring a happy marriage. After their wedding celebrations, Khurram "finding her in appearance and character elect among all the women of the time", gave her the title 'Mumtaz Mahal' Begum (Chosen One of the Palace). 18 AH). The intervening years had seen Khurrum take two other wives. By all accounts however, Khurram was so taken with Mumtaz, that he showed little interest in exercising his polygamous rights with the two earlier wives, other than dutifully siring a child with each. According to the official court chronicler, Qazwini, the relationship with his other wives "had nothing more than the status of marriage. The intimacy, deep affection, attention and favour which His Majesty had for the Cradle of Excellence (Mumtaz) exceeded by a thousand times what he felt for any other."

Mumtaz Mahal had a very deep and loving marriage with Shah Jahan. Even during her lifetime, poets would extol her beauty, gracefulness and compassion. Mumtaz Mahal was Shah Jahan's trusted companion, travelling with him all over the Mughal Empire. He trusted her so far that he even gave her his imperial seal, the Muhr Uzah. Mumtaz was portrayed as the perfect wife with no aspirations to political power in contrast to Nur Jehan, the wife of Jahangir who had wielded considerable influence in the previous reign. She was a great influence on him, apparently often intervening on behalf of the poor and destitute. But she also enjoyed watching elephant and combat fights performed for the court. It was quite common for women of noble birth to commission architecture in the Mughal Empire. Mumtaz devoted some time to a riverside garden in Agra.

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It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mumtaz Mahal."