Monday, January 5, 2009

2-3 December – Agra, India

On our way out of Delhi we saw the Qutb Minar, an impressive minaret from the 12th century. It is 73 meters high and very well preserved.
The next destination was Agra, a chaotic and pulsating city filled with poverty. Our first stop was the massive Agra Fort, built during the 16th and 17th centuries by the Mughal dynasty.
From the fort we had our first glimpse of Taj Mahal across the river. But the smog was so thick that we could hardly see the Taj.
We continued to Taj Mahal, a spectacular mausoleum which the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built (together with 20,000 workers) for his second wife Mumtaz Mahal. She died while giving birth to their fourteenth child. The Taj is built from white marble with delicate inlays of semiprecious stones. It took more than 20 years to build and the result is still fantastic 350 years later. We had high expectations, and were prepared for a disappointment. However, we were truly impressed with the mausoleum and the surrounding gardens and buildings. This is really a highlight of any trip to India.

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