Taj Mahal – Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
The Taj Mahal in India was built by the emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in childbirth for their 14th child. It is a complex of buildings, gardens, water fountains and water bodies all organized into a perfect rectangular symmetry. Apart from being an iconic symbol of love, The Taj Mahal has maintained its original integrity and authenticity, making it one of the most inspirational pieces of architecture to this day.
Mehtab Bagh, or the Moonlit Garden just opposite the Taj Mahal is a four garden complex and the last of 11 gardens by the Mughal Empire. It is the ultimate vantage point for the Taj, with magnificent views and open from sunrise to sunset.
Although the Taj pretty much steals the spotlight of Agra, Agra fort, just 2.5 km away, is another must see. Built in 1573, after 8 years and a staggering 4000 workers, wars have been started among dynasties to conquer the fort, thus changing many hands throughout its existence until 1638 when the Mughal dynasty moved from Agra to Delhi.
At Kinari Bazaar, a wholesale market, little colorful shops spill over, children run around, and shoppers haggle. This is where you get some of the finest ornaments and accessories in Agra – fancy gifts, holiday decorations, gold embroideries and many other bits and pieces. On top of that, it’s extremely photogenic.