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Agra: Home of the Taj Mahal
The "Taj", as it affectionately known, changes its appearance with the time of day and the seasons as a variety of light sources reflect off its marble exterior.
The most famous structure in all of India is the Taj Mahal which was built between 1631 and 1653. It took 20,000 laborers, masons, stone cutters, and jewelers to complete the task. It was built as a monument to love by Shah Jahan, fourth in a line of Mughal rulers, for his wife Mumtax Mahal.6
Shah Jahan was later deposed and arrested by his son, Aurangzeb. He was imprisoned in the Agra Fort until his death in 1666. From his apartment (above), the Shah could see each day in the distance the Taj Mahal built for his beloved wife. He was buried beside her.
The Agra Fort, built from 1565 to 1573, is massive. It's outer wall is almost 2 miles long and 70 feet high. There are two palaces within the walls.
Also located at Agra is the tomb of Itimad-ud-Daula (at left), often called the "baby Taj". It was built 14 years before the Taj. It was built by the wife of ruler Jahangir in memory of her parents. It is the first example of ietra dura inlay, precious stones intricately recessed in marble tile.
Fatehpur Sikri is located southwest of Agra. For 14 years it was the talk of the civilized world. It includes an elaborate Mosque. It was built around 1575. Among the most noticeable structure is the Panch Mahal, an open five-storied structure. For a variety of reasons, among them the lack of a sufficient water supply, the complex was completely abandoned by the end of the 16th century.
Go To: Delhi - Jaipur - Orcha - Khajahuro - Varanasi - Katmandu

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