The principal gateway of the Taj Mahal, Agra. .
Photographer: Impey, Eugene Clutterbuck
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph from an album of 80 albumen prints taken by Eugene Clutterbuck Impey, showing the gateway to the Taj Mahal at Agra in India. From 1526 when Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodi, the ruler of Delhi, and ensconced himself in Agra, till 1638 when his great-great-great grandson Shah Jahan built a new capital city at Delhi, Agra was the repository of Mughal wealth and power. The iconic Taj Mahal, universal symbol of beauty, love and loss is the culmination of the pursuit of magnificence in the Mughal style of architecture. It was built by Shah Jahan (ruled 1628-58) as a tomb for his favourite wife Arjumand Banu Begum. His beloved companion and confidante, she died in Khandesh in 1631 giving birth to her 14th child, while accompanying him on a military campaign. The building's name is an abbreviated version of her title: Mumtaz-i-Mahal or Chosen of the Palace. It is set at the northern end of a walled garden complex of the traditional char-bagh (four-plot) plan, with a huge entrance gateway at the south which is of red sandstone. The gateway is 150 feet wide and nearly 100 feet high.