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Top Tourist Attraction in India : Taj Mahal

"It appears like a perfect pearl on an azure ground.
The effect is such I have never experienced from any work of art."
- British painter, Hodges

The Taj Mahal is the epitome of Mughal art and one of the most famous buildings in the world. The Taj is the most beautiful monument built by the Mughals, the Muslim rulers of India. Taj Mahal is built entirely of white marble. Its stunning architectural beauty is beyond adequate description, particularly at dawn and sunset. The Taj seems to glow in the light of the full moon. On a foggy morning, the visitors experience the Taj as if suspended when viewed from across the Jamuna river. The construction documents show that its master architect was Ustad ‘Isa, the renowned Islamic architect of his time. The documents contain names of those employed and the inventory of construction materials and their origin. Expert craftsmen from Delhi, Qannauj, Lahore, and Multan were employed. In addition, many renowned Muslim craftsmen from Baghdad, Shiraz and Bukhara worked on many specialized tasks. It is one top tourist attractions of the world. Throughout the year thousands of tourists from different parts of the world visit Taj Mahal.
The tomb is the representation of the house of the queen in Paradise, and  its setting was based on the palace gardens of the great nobles. Taj Mahal was built by a Muslim, Emperor Shah Jahan (died 1666 C.E.) in the memory of his dear wife and queen Mumtaz Mahal at Agra, India. It is an "elegy in marble" or some say an expression of a "dream." Taj Mahal (meaning Crown Palace) is a Mausoleum that houses the grave of queen Mumtaz Mahal at the lower chamber. The grave of Shah Jahan was added to it later. The queen’s real name was Arjumand Banu. In the tradition of the Mughals, important ladies of the royal family were given another name at their marriage or at some other significant event in their lives, and that new name was commonly used by the public. Shah Jahan's real name was Shahab-ud-din, and he was known as Prince Khurram before ascending to the throne in 1628.
The Taj has some wonderful specimens of polychrome inlay art both in the interior and exterior on the dados, on cenotaphs and on the marble jhajjhari (jali-screen) around them. The mausoleum is a part of a vast complex comprising of a main gateway, an elaborate garden, a mosque (to the left), a guest house (to the right), and several other palatial buildings. The Taj is at the farthest end of this complex, with the river Jamuna behind it. The large garden contains four reflecting pools dividing it at the center. Each of these four sections is further subdivided into four sections and then each into yet another four sections. Like the Taj, the garden elements serve like Arabesque, standing on their own and also constituting the whole.

Where it is
The Taj Mahal is located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. The Taj is at the farthest end of this complex, with the river Jamuna behind it. The mausoleum is located on the right bank of the river Jamuna at a point where it takes a sharp turn and flows eastwards.

How to reach
Agra is 200 km southeast from Delhi and is one of the points of the tourist's Golden Triangle of Agra-Delhi-Jaipur. Agra is also very well connected via rail and road with other nearby cities and tourist destinations. Close to 20 trains connect Delhi and Agra each day with journey times varying from 2 hours to 5 hours. Service to Agra's Kheria Airport is seasonal.

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