INDIA CROSSING THE RIVER GANGES Taj mahal front view. Built in the early 1630s by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a tribute to his second wife; Mumtaz Mahal; the Taj Mahal stands as one of India’s most iconic beauties. Its precise symmetry and impeccable detail— it’s decorated with calligraphy from the Koran and with carvings of flowers inlaid with precious stones— make this white marble structure one of the world’s most breathtaking pieces of architecture. Located by the Yamuna River; the Taj took 22 years and 20; 000 workers to complete. It contains a tomb (for Mumtaz) and a mosque; as well as gardens; gateways; and fountains. The main structure is surrounded by four minarets; which were built to lean out slightly so that an earthquake wouldn’t cause them to fall on the palace.