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 (42 votes)

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.

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

I have visited many famous places so far, above all New Zealand’s tourist spots is most impressive. When I was six grades of elementary students, I did study abroad for three weeks in NZ. The country is famous for beautiful natures. I went Rotorua, there is famous for Pohutu Geyser, Maori history and folklore. I saw a geyser’s spurt. That had an impact for me. Sky Tower is a symbol of Auckland. This tower has a lot of activity and restaurants. The restaurant in the observation deck, we can see a beautiful view around the 360 degrees. I had a lunch there. The cityscape of the New Zealand is very beautiful and is enchanted. In Japan, I have been to Okinawa, there is a wonderful scenery. There is no sea in the prefecture where I live. So, I feel special when I saw the sea. Someday, I want to travel around world and see a lot of beautiful scenery. 

Submitted by Y on Sun, 05/07/2020 - 15:26

When I was a high school students, I went to Canada for a week to study English. I saw a lot of buildings and views in Canada. Here are some of the things I saw. I went to Gastown in Vancouver. There are a lot of shops and restaurants. It is very fun for us to buy clothes, goods and so on. And I saw the steam clock in this town. Many tourists go to see this clock. I felt so much history when I saw this clock. In addition, I went to Capilano Suspension Bridge and I was healed by Canadian nature. I was very moved by the scenery. These spots are very amazing. I want to go there again.

Submitted by naru on Sun, 05/07/2020 - 15:06

When I was in the second year of highschool, I went to Okinawa as a school trip. And we visited "Shuri Castle". This construction is known one of the world heritage-listed and has a long history. So this construction was profoundly affected by the archtectual styles of Japan and China. That's why It has mistical and beautiful atmosphere. And I felt like I'm in China. To tell the truth, Shuri Castle was burned in the fire recently. But it resome business. You should visit there once!!!

Submitted by Riko on Sun, 05/07/2020 - 05:34

I have seen Opera house of Sydney in Australia when I was a high school student. The outside was so beautiful and I thought the roof is interesting form. I learned the history of Opera house. It is my wonderful memory.

Submitted by ryota on Sat, 04/07/2020 - 16:06

I have seen a lot of famous places. Among them, I especially like Kyoto. Kyoto has a lot of temples and world Heritage. I have been there twice on a school trip. I think the most famous place of the many places is Kinkakuji. Kinkakuji is a golden temple. It was built by Yoshimitsu Asikaga in the Muromachi period. When I went to there in a sunny day, it looked very shiny. But it had been burned down in 1950. Many people worked together to recreate it and in 1955, it is recreated. Since then, it keep this shine without fading. I want to go to Kinkakuji again.