Agra is located in Uttar Pradesh in the Northern State of India. This area is special to me as culture is all over from the preserved buildings of the Mughal-era to the culture of the people. The area is however popular as it is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites namely Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. Most people actually travel to this area just to visit the Taj Mahal.
As we arrived at the Taj Mahal-we were met by this impossing red and white structure that we later learnt is the gateway to the Taj Mahal. I had actually wondered if the taxi had dropped us off at the wrong place. It stands at 100ft, is made of red sand stone and has Arabic caligraphy of passages from the Quran and motifs of entwined flowers beautifully etched on it. It is a beauty to behold.
Next up we walked into the Taj Mahal compound and were met by beautifuly well manicured lawns and several pools all leading towards the Taj Mahal.
Once near the Taj Mahal, one is requested to remove their shoes and wear provided shoes which are actually shoe covers – similar to the ones worn in ICU or theatres in hospitals. This is to both keep the floors clean as well as prevent the marble floors from damage.
The Taj Mahal is imposing both in size and beauty and is a true piece of art. All around, you see pure white marble that are inscribed with various artworks from Arabic caligraphy of passages from the Quran to flowers, showcasing Turkish, Persian, Ottoman, Islamic and Indian Styles.
You will be suprised to learn that the Taj Mahal is not a Palace but a Mausoleum. It was built from 1632-1653 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal whom he loved dearly and had died at child birth. Both of them are buried here and it is an expensive expression of Love-post humously.
Ensure that you arrive super early for you to have a chance to see the beaty that it is before throngs of tourists fill the place.