wayne e begley
Mumtaz Mahal (exalted one of the palace), born Arjumand Banu Begum, was the Empress consort of the Mughal Empire, from January 19, 1628 to June 17, 1631, [and] chief consort of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.
[Born] to a family of Persian nobility, [she] was the daughter of Abu’l-Hasan Asaf Khan […]. She was married at the age of 19 [in 1612] to Prince Khurram, [later named] Jahan, [becoming] his second wife. [They] had fourteen children, including Jahanara Begum […] and the Crown prince Dara Shikoh [..]. Shikoh was, eventually, deposed by younger sibling Aurangzeb.
Three hundred, ninety years ago, today, Mumtaz Mahal died [from a postpartum hemorrhage] in Burhanpur, Deccan (present-day Madhya Pradesh), during the birth of her fourteenth child, a daughter named Gauhar Ara Begum. Her body was temporarily buried at Burhanpur in a walled pleasure garden known as Zainabad […].
[The] emperor was reportedly inconsolable. Apparently, after her death, he went into secluded mourning for a year. When he appeared again, his hair had turned white, his back was bent and his face worn. Mumtaz’s eldest daughter, Jahanara […], gradually brought her father out of grief and took her mother’s place at court.
The Myth of the Taj Mahal and a New Theory of It’s Symbolic Meaning (College Art/Wayne E. Begley/PDF)