A tale of two monuments

By: B Symn

An ode to love—the Tajmahal in Agra is an emperor’s gift to his queen. Shah Jahan, the famous Mughal emperor built the Taj Mahal in honor of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. But Taj Mahal is not the only monument that was built by Shah Jahan. This Mughal emperor was obsessed by the architecture and Delhi’s Jama Masjid and Red Fort are other two well known monuments that were built by Shah Jahan.

But it is the Taj Mahal that has left many spellbound with its beauty and fine architecture. Perhaps one of the reasons of its popularity is its association with beloved queen and the fact that it took more 20 years and an army of 20,000 laborers, artisans, engineers and architects to build this marvel in architecture.

The Taj is more than 350-year old but its charm and beauty has not faded with the passing of time.

Even today, The Taj Mahal is one of the most visited and loved monuments in India. This architectural marvel in white marble is mausoleum of Mumtaz Mahal. A fine example of the Mughal architecture in India and a Unesco World Heritage Site, the Taj Mahal is popular world over.

The Taj is located in the city ofAgra, which is about 200 kilometers north of Delhi—the capital city of India. Agra is easily accessible by air, road and rail. The airport at Agra is about seven kilometers from the city center. The official Indian carrier—Indian Airlines operate flights to Agra, Khajuraho and Varanasi. Agra is also easily accessible by rail and road. The main railway station is the Agra Cantonment Station. Regular trains operate between Delhi and Agra. There are numerous others that pass through Agra. You can hire a taxi or take bus to reach Agra by Road.

Besides the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort is an exciting monument to visit. A hallmark of Mughal hegemony, the Agra Fort was constructed by the most respected of all Mughal emperors—Akbar. It is a huge fort that houses a number of havelis and palaces. Some of the important buildings worth watching in the fort include— Jahangiri Mahal, Musamman Burj, Sheesh Mahal, Mina Masjid, Diwan-I-KhasFind Article, Diwan-I-Aam and Moti Masjid. Agra Fort is located on the banks of the Yamuna near the railway station. The fort is less than two kilometers away from the Taj Mahal.

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