When his queen, Arjumand Banu - Mumtaz-i-Mahal, the Chosen One of the Palace - died, Shah Jahan wanted to build a monument that was the image of his perfect love for her. For twenty-two years, twenty thousand men laboured day and night to fulfil the emperors obsession. The result was the Taj Mahal, a marble mausoleum lined with gold, silver and precious jewels.
This powerful novel narrates the story of the Taj on two parallel levels. The first one tells the passionate love story of Shah Jahan and Arjumand till her death through the voices of three main characters - Arjumand, Shah Jahan and Isa, Arjumands favourite eunuch. The second recounts the later years of Shah Jahans reign, the building of the Taj Mahal and the bloody pursuit of the fabled Peacock Throne by his sons. Intertwined with the narrative about the building of the Taj is the story of Murthi, the Hindu craftsman sent as a gift to the emperor to carve the famous marble jali around Arjumands sarcophagus.
In this complex and fascinating book, Murari has written much more than a historical romance. He has skillfully recreated the period against which the story is set: the opulence of the palace and the grinding poverty of seventeenth-century India, the vicissitudes of Shah Jahans reign and the often bitter conflict between men of different faiths.
About the Author
Timeri N. Murari is an award-winning writer, filmmaker and playwright. Time magazine chose his film, The Square Circle, as one of its top ten films of 1997. Taj- A Story of Mughal India has been translated into twenty-five languages. His latest novel, The Taliban Cricket Club, is also published by Aleph Book Company. Murari lives with his wife in his ancestral home in Chennai.