For most travelers, there is one place in mind on the way to India: the picture-perfect, improbably symmetric, and phenomenally beautiful Taj Mahal. It is the top attraction in Agra, and arguably the most treasured monumental structure in all of South Asia. But beyond architectural feats, a moving story of love rests within its flawless marble walls, reminding visitors of the humane character it harbors.
It was built by the great Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the early 17th century as a mausoleum for his loving wife. Today, many more stories regarding its construction surround the site. They make it even more enticing.
The Taj features exquisite calligraphy work on all four sides. Inscribed on the arched niches are texts from the Quran. They are framed by the radiant Rajasthan marble, the base material of the structure. The mirrored mosque in the backyard is also worth seeing, while the gardens around its body are all the more enchanting. No wonder the Taj is among the most photographed sites in the world. Once its delicate reflection falls on the turquoise waters of the surrounding pools, it resembles a scene from heaven. For the ultimate experience, though, come at sunset. A balmy lilac hue contours its ivory-white figure and offers a heart-stopping view.
Taj Mahal Gallery
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