Encyclopedia entry

Encyclopedia entry

Read an encyclopedia entry on the Taj Mahal to practise and improve your reading skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and do the exercises.


Reading text

Encyclopedia entry

The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal (pronounced /ˌtɑːdʒ mə'hɑːl/) is a famous mausoleum next to the river Yamuna in the Indian city of Agra. A mausoleum is a building where people bury the dead. The name Taj Mahal means 'the crown of palaces'.


The most famous part of the Taj Mahal is the large white dome in the centre. It is 35 metres high and is surrounded by four smaller domes. The rooms inside the building are decorated with beautiful archways and precious stones in the walls. The buildings are surrounded by gardens with pathways, pools, fountains and green gardens.


The construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1632 and finished in 1653. It was built with materials from all over India and Asia, but the main material is white marble. Historians believe that the materials were transported by over 1,000 elephants for the construction.


The emperor Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal as a burial place for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. According to legend, he wanted to build another Taj Mahal in black on the other side of the river, but this never happened. During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, many parts of the Taj Mahal were damaged by British soldiers, who took some of the precious stones from its walls. Over the years, the Taj Mahal has suffered from environmental damage, and there have been many government attempts to conserve its beauty.


The Taj Mahal is one of India's most famous landmarks. There are millions of visitors to the mausoleum every year. The Taj Mahal is almost always included in lists of famous buildings to visit and is considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.



Worksheet139.54 KB

Language level

Average: 4.1 (53 votes)

Hello again shawn peter,

You could try the Magazine and Stories section of our website, where the texts are a bit longer, though in general they're not going to be as long as 95 lines. If you do an internet search for 'practice reading comprehension English', I bet you can find lots of useful sites.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Roblox on Mon, 07/09/2020 - 20:09

I've seen pretty much famous places in the United States and some other countries. They all have different interesting point of view. Borobudur is my favorite place I've had visited. The temple is unique and incredible. It's beyond our imagination how the temple was built.

Submitted by melisong56 on Wed, 19/08/2020 - 16:06

I’ve been to many famous place before. Such as Petronas Tower in Malaysia, Merlion Statue in Singapore, Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, and many more. What impress me the most is Gyeongbokgung Palace, as one of the most historical places in South Korea. As I passed in, I could feel the atmosphere of Ancient palace. There are many guards wearing hanbok (traditional South Korea’s clothes) and we can even rent a clothes and take a picture in there. It is a nice impression to be able to experience such an old-times of the country.

Submitted by Arezoo Maleki on Tue, 18/08/2020 - 16:45

I've seen so many famous places. CN tower was the last place I've visited. It is one of the main attractions in the city of Toronto and It's one of the tallest free-standing structure in the world. It was a weekday morning when I went there, so wasn't as crowded as I expected. you will have so much fun when you are going up. it has a great view from the top. you can see the whole city, lake, and a beautiful sky. A very nice atmosphere. It's a wonderful place to take cool photos. It offers several levels that have its own facilities. you can enjoy the highest levels (adrenaline rush activities for those not afraid of the height), and also the place has restaurants you can enjoy your food while you are seeing the spectacular view. I highly recommend visiting the Cn tower with family and friends

Submitted by Nobu1230 on Sat, 08/08/2020 - 08:59

I've been to some famous places around the world.For instance "Grand canyon""Monument valley" in USA,"Cappadocia" in Turky,and some Japanase famous places.I can't recollect every places completely but I remember a part of memory and atmosphere there.In all places I've been to,the most impressive place is "Grand canyon".It had the vast earth and huge canyon which reminded us of the greatest of nature.I was very impressed.

Submitted by DrakonBZ on Sat, 08/08/2020 - 05:50

Last year, me and my family went to Peru as a vacation. My uncle is the one who sponsors all of our accommodation as he is the manager of one of the hotel there. After resting for a while, we went to Macchu Picchu. It is one of the most exciting experience as we got to see one of the seven wonders in the world! it was recognized by UNESCO on the list of World Culture and Natural Heritage. Because it was high, my mother puked a few times as she never been to a mountain before.
Profile picture for user Hennadii

Submitted by Hennadii on Tue, 04/08/2020 - 12:05

I've seen a lot of famous places. First of all, I've been to Berlin and seen the famous Brandenburg Gate. I also saw there the Berlin Cathedral and, of course, The Reichstag, the falling of which was the symbol of the ending of World War II. Luckily I can say I've been to Paris three times so I saw the Eiffel Tower and Paris from her high. I visited Louvre and Versal and they both are gorgeous. I saw the French analog of the Brandenburg Gate - The Arc de Triomphe. Actually I saw a lot in Paris but my favorite place is The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris. It's a lovely place on the top of the Montmartre hill and the Church from white stone is great itself. I've also been to Barcelona and saw one of the greatest buildings in the world - Sagrada Família. It's impossible to picture its beauty and greatness. You just need to see this masterpiece by yourself.

Submitted by IKEDA on Sun, 02/08/2020 - 14:00

Famous places I’ve ever seen... I don’t know whether it’s famous or not, I remember clearly I saw a volcano called Marina Kea in Hawaii. I felt how little we human were in nature when I saw it.

Submitted by Winterson on Mon, 27/07/2020 - 23:23

The text doesn´t say the Taj Mahal is the most visited building in India, but If it is one the Seven Wonders, it should the most visited. The building is enormous and wonderful, who not want a photograph in this place?

Submitted by NANAKA on Mon, 27/07/2020 - 13:11

Yes, of course. When I was in the third grade at junior high school, I went to Hiroshima for my school trip, I saw the Atomic Bomb Dome. At the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, there are many items on display that recall the day that the Bomb dropped. Those made me sad and I felt so sorry about what happened on 1945 August 15. I saw paper cranes gifted by President Obama. Wars should never be started. Everyone in the world, please visit Hiroshima. You'll regret it if you don't go. I hope one day we could see a more peaceful world.