You are here

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

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.




Language level

Intermediate: B1


I love travel doesn`t matter where... Maybe famous place is Eiffel Tower in Paris, another French revier- Cannes, Monaco, Nica... In my coutry have many beautiful and natural and with history monuments places... My country is Bulgaria... My country is famous with our Black Sea Resorts, our Mountains ... 7 Rila Lakes, Rilski Monastery... but I can write many things... everyone can see pictures and read about my country in internet :)

I've never travled! Unfortunately
I wish I can

Well, although I like travelling, I didn't visit famous place yet. However, I have seen many beuatiful place in my country. Such as beach, waterfall, temple, etc. I also had visited Monumen Nasional in Jakarta and Sea Aquarium in Singapore. So sad, that I can't visit Merlion when I was in Singapore. I wish, in the future I can travel all over the world with my lovely person.

I'm so lucky. When I studied in high scholl I visited Paris, known as the city of the love. All of my classmates and I take a lot of photos in Eiffel Tower, It's extremely beautiful! it's surround of a huge garden where you can relax yourself.

My another great trip was Mexic, I travelled when I finish my carrer in the university, it was an enoyable trip! Where I saw the fantastic chichen itza, the most well know landmarks in Mexic which had builded by mayas.

And my last trip was Rome, with two friends. It's a wonderful city where you can see a lot monuments for every square kilometre, such as Fontain di Trevi or Coliseum.

In my future I would like to travel for Asia and I know another culture

Well, I don't visit many of place. But I wish in the future I coul do that. The place that i've been visit is Monumen Nasional in Jakarta and Buitenzorg Garden in Bogor. It might be nice if I can go travel all over the world.

I loved Paris

I have visited many famous places like San Felipe Castle in Cartagena, San Pedro Alejandrino Country House in Santa Marta, The Quinta de Bolivar in Bogotá, Boyaca Bridge, Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá, Guatape Rock in Antioquia - my place of origin -, Lajas Sanctuary in Nariño among other from Colombia; the Guayaquil Pier, The Liberators of America Monument, the Center of the Earth in Quito and other attractive from Ecuador; Valletta City, Mdina "The Silent City" and many more attractions of Malta; The Roman Colosseum, St. Angelo's Castle, Vaticano City, Palatine and Roman Forum among other Italian wonders. For finished also I visited other countries like Turkish, Panamá, Venezuela and a great part of Colombia, my favourite country. I would like to visit Argentina, Uruguay, the United Kingdom, Scotland, Spain, France, Greece, German, Dutchland, Belgium, Egipt, South Africa, Australia, México, Japan, Peru and Russia.

I visited Spain with my family in 2002 and we went to the city of Granada where the Alhambra is located, so we visited the historical castle of Andalus era and we spent a great day !!

I live in Viet Nam and i have seen Phong Nha cave which is one of the most famous places. It is located in the west of Quang Binh province. It is distinguished by magical beauty with limestone, stalactites and acknowledged one of the cultural heritage sites of the world.

The famous places I had seen are so numerous, just to mention few. They includes Taj Mahal, London's Secret Garden, Nigeria Stockexchange, Effitel Tower of Paris and so on.