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Taj Mahal Tour

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Location:
An epitome of eternal love and passion, the Taj Mahal is located in the Indian city of Agra. Perhaps one of the finest instances of architectural brilliance and grandeur, the Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the loving memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Its location at the bank of river Yamuna adds to the beauty of the total surrounding.

Nearest Airport / Railway Station:
Kheria Airport is the nearest airport to Taj Mahal that is located at the distance of 6 kilometers from the center of the city of Agra. Several buses, autos and rickshaws can be availed to reach the airport.

There are several railway stations located in the city of Agra, near to the Taj Mahal. Agra Cantonment Railway Station, Raja-ki-Mundi Railway Station and the Agra Fort Railway Station are the nearest railway stations to Agra which are connected to rest of the country by several trains.

Highlights:
The garden, Outlying buildings,The Darwaza, Taj Mahal masjid, The tomb, Minarets, The jali.

Best Time to Visit:
Taj Mahal can be visited throughout the year in all the seasons. However, the full moon nights add to the beauty of the Taj as it looks Golden in the moonlight.

History of Taj Mahal:
Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. A symbol of immense love for his wife, Shah Jahan appointed the best of architects and artists to construct this brilliant marble monument. It is believed that on her death bed Mumtaz Mahal requested her husband to build a monument for her that would have no comparisons in the whole world. Shah Jahan left no details to make his creation the best.

According to the researches the construction of Taj Mahal started in 1631 A.D and was completed in the1648 A.D. Twenty thousand workers were appointed for the construction of this grand monument who worked hard day and night. Shah Jahan appointed the best of artists and designers to work on the brilliant monument. Ustad Ahmad Lahauri was the chief architect of Taj Mahal, the famous poet Ghyasuddin was the creator of inscriptions and the verses on the walls and the ceilings of the monument and Ismail Khan Afridi from Turkey was the person behind designing the famous domes of the Taj Mahal.

It is believed that all materials for the construction of the Taj Mahal was brought in from various parts of the country. The marble stone of which the monument is built was brought from the region of Makrana located in Rajasthan.

Places to see in Taj Mahal:
The garden: it is a garden decorated with beautiful flower beds and plants surrounding the Taj Mahal. There is a marble tank located at the central part of the garden that is known by the name of al Hawd al-Kawthar. The chain of fountains and trees have added to the beauty of the garden. The garden is also called Charbagh and resembles the design of the Persian gardens.

Outlying buildings: there are several structures which are located around the Taj Mahal. Most of these structures are built of red sandstone. These buildings are also known for their architecture and designs. The domes of the other wives of Shah Jahan, the dome of the favorite servant of Mumtaz Mahal, the 'chattris', the viewing areas and the arcades comprise the outlying area of the Taj Mahal.

The Darwaza: it is the main entrance to the Taj Mahal. Brilliantly designed, the walls of the gateway are famous for the floral motifs inscribed on them and the geometric patterns that are found on the ceilings and walls.

Taj Mahal masjid: located at the western part of the Taj Mahal it is a mosque that is made up of black marble. It is said that Shah Jahan was the person who designed the mosque. The mosque is also well known for its architectural brilliance.

The tomb: the tomb can be divided into the following three parts:

* Base- built according to the Persian architecture, is a square platform on which the tomb stands. It has many chambers that include the one which has the cenotaphs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan along with their graves located at the lower level.
* Dome- the dome of the tomb is one of the most striking characteristics of the tomb. Shaped like an onion the dome has numerous designs that include lotus as a prominent motif. The tip of the dome incorporates both the Persian and Hindu style of architecture.
* Finial- it is the tip of the dome that was made up of gold once upon a time. It is now made up of bronze with a moon at the top. It is well known for its beautiful decoration.

Minarets: These are the four towers each of them having the height 40 meters. It is fabulously designed with balconies and 'chattris'. The minarets also have the flowers of lotus as the principle motif. They are famous for their grand architecture.

The jali: it is a network of intricate carvings on marble that form a screen to border the cenotaphs. Brilliantly sculptured, it is made up of semi precious stones in the form of vines, leaves and flowers entwined with each other.

Things to do in Taj Mahal:
Visit to the inner chamber, visit to the garden, visit to the surrounding monuments and structures.

Shopping in Taj Mahal:
There are several markets and shops near Taj Mahal. Shoes, sandals, purses, wallets, clothing, furniture, lampshades, leather gloves, carpets, jackets and brassware are some of the numerous things available at the shopping areas located near Taj Mahal. The miniatures of the Taj Mahal made in marble stone in various shapes are also widely available in the shops near to the Taj Mahal. Sadar Bazaar, Munro Road and Kinari Bazaar are the major shopping areas located near the Taj Mahal.

Nearby excursions from Taj Mahal:
Taj Mahal - Heritage Place Fatehpur Sikri: it is a fort that used to be the capital of Mughal empire. Numerous buildings and structures have added to the grandeur of the fort.

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary: it is a park that was used by the Maharaja Suraj Mull for hunting. The shallow water body at the place attract various species of birds from all over the continent.

Delhi: the capital city of India, Delhi has various places to visit including several monuments and structures. It is the center of Indian economy and politics.

Gwalior: it is a city that had been the home land of some of the famous dynasties like that of the Rajputs, Pratiharas, Kacchwahas and the Tomars. The place has numerous monuments, temples and palaces.

Jaipur: located at the distance of 240 kilometers from the city of Agra, it is a much sought after tourist destination famous for its forts and heritage buildings. It is one of the major commercial cities of the country.

Mathura: it is the birth place of Lord Krishna is immensely popular with the tourists for its temples and ghats at the bank of the river.

Vrindavan: it is a city that is full of the anecdotes from the childhood exploits of Lord Krishna. The temples at this place are very popular with the tourists.

Places to stay in Agra:

* Jaypee Palace Hotel
* Howard Park Plaza International
* Hotel Agra Ashok
* Hotel Clarks Shiraz
* Welcomgroup Mughal Sheraton
* Hotel Taj View
* Hotel Holiday Inn Agra
* Hotel Amar Vilas
* Mansingh Palace
* Atithi Hotel
* Hotel Amar
* Hotel The Trident
* Grand Hotel
* Hotel Deedar E Taj
* Hotel Kant


By Air: Kheria Airport is the nearest airport to the Taj Mahal in Agra that is connected to rest of the country by several flights. Buses, autos and rickshaws are available from the airport to the Taj Mahal.

By Rail: there are several railway stations in Agra that connect the city to some of the major states of the country. There are several transportations from the station to Taj Mahal.

By Road: the well developed roads connect the city to all the major cities of the state. There are frequent buses available from the neighboring cities to the Taj Mahal.