Shah Jahan

Shah Jahan

Reading Comprehension for January 5

All around the world, there are many amazing places. To better protect those lovely sites, a body of the United Nations (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or "UNESCO") held a meeting in 1972. During the meeting, it drew up an international treaty that called for the creation of the World Heritage List. The World Heritage List is an ever-growing document. At the moment, it consists of 812 properties. Those properties could be buildings. They could be natural wonders. Or they could be cities and towns.

In India, there are currently more than two dozen places that made it to the World Heritage List. Among them, two were actually commissioned by the same person -- Shah Jahan. Shah Jahan was a great king of the Mughal dynasty. He ruled India from 1628 to 1658. During his days, he put up many magnificent structures. The Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort are the ones that are on the World Heritage List right now. As the list is always expanding, it is very possible that Shah Jahan's other buildings will be on it eventually, too.

Shah Jahan was born on January 5, 1592. As the third son of the Mughal emperor Jahangir and the Rajput princess Manmati, he was given the title of Prince Khurram at the time of his birth. When the royal youngster was about fifteen years of age, he had a chance encounter with a beautiful girl named Arjumand Banu Begum. They fell in love at first sight. Arjumand was from a very good family. Her father, Asaf Khan, was Jahangir's trusted advisor. And her aunt, Noor Jahan (also spelled as Noor Jehan, Nur Jahan, or Nur Jehan), was Jahangir's favorite wife. After being engaged for nearly five years, the two lovebirds finally tied the knot on May 10, 1612. Arjumand was Prince Khurram's second wife. At the wedding ceremony, Jahangir bestowed his daughter-in-law a great honor by giving her a new name. He called her Mumtaz Mahal, which means "Chosen One of the Palace" in Persian. Prince Khurram and Mumtaz Mahal truly loved each other. For nearly twenty years of their marriage, their passion had never wavered. Instead, it only grew stronger over time.

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