A Marble Teardrop
Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s favorite wife died in 1631, after giving birth to their 14th child. In her honor, the king ordered the construction of a mammoth white mausoleum on India’s Yamuna River. The materials for the Taj Mahal, including many precious stones, were gathered from throughout central Asia and the gardens stocked with brightly colored birds, brilliant fish and exotic plants. Completed in 1648, it is among the most beautiful monuments in the world, the creamy marble radiant in the moonlight and seeming to blush at dawn.
At the end of his life, Shah Jahan was confined (by his own son) to a tower across the Yamuna. But his prison had a view of the beautiful tomb, which Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore would later describe as “a teardrop on the cheek of time.”