Who has not heard of the legend of the black Taj Mahal? It would be a replica of the Taj Mahal, but inverted colors: The white marble is in black, the black marble in white. And the decorations remain the same. But did this Taj Mahal exist, and if not, was it planned? The answer below.
Just say it right away, yes, the black Taj Mahal is a pure legend that not only never existed, but was never intended in the plans of Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor who ordered its construction during the XVIth century. Recall that the Taj Mahal was built to serve as a tomb for his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died during the delivery of his 14th child. Obviously the emperor really loved this woman and decided to build him the most beautiful of the tombs. She was first buried in Burhanpur at the site of the battle her husband had just won and during which she had given birth, but that must have been only temporary.
Returning to Agra, the capital, Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal and, 22 years later, brought the remains of his wife he buried in the center of the underground chamber. Starting from this story, some legends were set out, starting with that of the Black Taj.
Indeed, what is more tempting than to believe that Shah Jahan had planned his own tomb with the same characteristics, but in black, on the opposite bank of the Yamuna, the river along which it was built. This thesis is supported by the presence on the opposite bank of a garden with ruined buildings, the Mehtab Bagh, a garden whose boundaries exactly correspond to the limits of the Taj Mahal, as if it continued on the other side. The most enthusiastic of this hypothesis evokes that a bridge was to join the two banks to mark the bond of undying love which united the two lovers. This 2nd Taj Mahal had to be black of course, with the decorations in white, to contrast the general architecture and especially to mark the humility of Shah Jahan with respect to his wife, who is entitled to a shining mausoleum of light while he would have one as dark as possible. Very nice hypothesis, but completely wrong.
Why could the black Taj Mahal never be built?
It is wrong primarily because Shah Jahan ruined the treasure of the Mughal Empire to build the Taj Mahal. The cost of the monument was so high that the coffers of the Empire were emptied, and it was necessary to replenish them. Happily, this empire was prosperous at that time, and it was again able to dispose of a considerable treasure, but for many years it was necessary patiently to fill it. Impossible to build a second Taj Mahal in the wake, especially black marble, a material even more expensive than white marble at that time. Moreover, with a 22-year term for the construction of the Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan knew that if he embarked on the construction of a second Taj Mahal, he would never have seen it and he knew that his son Aurangzeb would not have finished. he did well because the latter dethroned him a few years later and locked him in the red fort of Agra for the last 8 years of his life.
So no, the black Taj Mahal never existed and was never even planned, it's only a Western legend.