Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Taj Mahal – The beauty of India


22 years in the making, almost 30 kinds of precious stones, 20,000 craftsmen, white marble and an emotion called Love! These are some of the ingredients that have produced a monument unparalleled in the history of mankind – Taj Mahal... The jewel of India. There is hardly any Indian or a travel enthusiastic foreigner who hasn’t heard of this marble mausoleum located in Agra, the erstwhile capital of the Mughals.
 
The tomb of Arjumand Bano Begam or Mumtaz Mahal (as she is popularly known) was envisaged as the grandest monument showcasing the Mughal architectural prowess by a grief-stricken husband who also happened to be the ruler of Hindostan. With this tomb, he wanted to surpass all other buildings constructed so far, as a gift for his beloved wife and his most loyal companion. Mumtaz Mahal was said to have a pearly white complexion, eyes shaped like almonds and lips of the colour of the rose. This is perhaps the reason why the Taj Mahal in Agra was constructed in white marble – to match the beauty of the deceased queen. It was studded with a variety of semi-precious jewels brought in from all across the Indian sub-continent; it seemed Shah Jahan would have plucked even the stars from the sky if he could, in order to adorn this masterpiece.
 

Located at a short distance from Delhi, a visit to Agra and the Taj is on high priority for foreign tourists. One can easily travel to Agra from and back to Delhi in the same day. In fact, visitors can easily combine Delhi sightseeing places and visit to Taj Mahal in a single trip. The Taj Mahal sees a footfall of over 4 million visitors annually and is one of the most visited monuments in India. Agra forms a part of the Golden Triangle tour along with Delhi and Jaipur and the Taj Mahal is the numero uno destination for many.
 
With such passion was this monument constructed that a visit to it fills you with emotions of many a kind. One can almost feel Shah Jahan’s anguish, sorrow and longing for his consort, his wife, Mumtaz. This poetic ode in marble also features in the new 7 wonders of the world and is a highly cherished symbol of India.


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