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This is an extract from the Reading Materials in English that are available in the English and Education section of the website of the Liberal Party of  Sri Lanka,

The entire text of Historic Buildings by Goolbai Gunasekara, covering twelve famous constructions, is now available on that website.

The Taj Mahal

Everybody knows the story of the Taj Mahal. One of the great Moghul Emperors of India, Shah Jehan, built it when his beloved wife died. He ruled over almost all of India from 1628 to 1658 AD. His love for his wife is a romantic story that is like a fairy tale.

Babur, a great Mongol king, conquered India in 1526 and established the Moghul Dynasty (Moghul refers to the Mongol conquerors of India). The first four emperors developed their power and set up a system of Government that included all Indians, Hindus and Muslims. Among them was Akbar, one of the truly great monarchs of all time. By the time Shah Jehan became emperor he could turn his mind more fully to cultural activities too.

Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan

Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan

Emperor Shah Jehan was a handsome man. He looked every inch a Prince. His wife, Mumtaz Mahal, was half Persian and was one of the loveliest women at the Moghul Court. ‘She had long black hair, delicate eyebrows and skin like a lily.’ wrote one poet. But more than her beauty, Mumtaz Mahal was a very good woman. She was an excellent wife and mother. She was kind and helped hundreds of women in distress. She was loved by all and most of all by her husband.

Shah Jehan used to travel round his Empire a great deal. Mumtaz Mahal always went with him, taking her three daughters and four sons with her. In fact each of her four sons was born while she was on a military campaign with the Emperor. Read the rest of this entry »

Rajiva Wijesinha

August 2010
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