A tribute to a beloved wife, the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, has gleamed on the banks of the Yamuna River for nearly four centuries.
Photograph by Jan Fritz, Getty Images
Mogul emperor Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, as a tribute to his favorite wife, who died in childbirth in 1631. The white marble monument, with its sprawling gardens, took more than 15 years to build.
Along the Yamuna River
Photograph by Jeremy Woodhouse, Corbis Images
The Taj Mahal is an everyday sight for the 1.2 million people who live in modern Agra. It sits on the southern bank of the Yamuna River, a tributary of the sacred Ganges.
Taj Mahal at Sunrise
Photograph by Macduff Everton, National Geographic
The opulent, domed mausoleum, which stands in formal walled gardens, is generally regarded as the finest example of Mogul art and architecture. It includes four minarets, each more than 13 stories tall.
Taj Mahal Mosque
Photograph by Cristian Baitg, Getty Images
The Taj Mahal complex also includes a red sandstone mosque (part of which is visible here) and an assembly hall. There are also smaller mausoleums for the emperor's other wives.
Photograph by Michael Melford, National Geographic
The Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore called the Taj Mahal a "teardrop on the cheek of time." The main mausoleum took Shah Jahan's workers more than 15 years to complete. The emperor and his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, are both entombed there.
2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
Browse photos of nature, cities, and people and share your favorite photos.