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Agra and the Taj Mahal

Itinerary

Day 1: Delhi, India
Arrive in Delhi and transfer once more to the Taj Mahal Hotel, with the rest of the day at leisure.

Day 2: Agra—Taj Mahal & Agra Fort
Transfer to the railway station this morning to board the Gatimaan Express train for Agra. The city of Agra attained fame as the capital of the Mughal Empire during the 16th and 17th centuries. Agra flourished under a series of emperors who attracted artisans from Persia and central Asia, and the city is still famous for its handicrafts such as inlay work on marble, woven carpets, jewelry, zari and embroidery. Yet it is Agra’s architectural monuments that draw the greatest renown. Supreme among them is the Taj Mahal, the marble mausoleum built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a tribute to his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in childbirth. Considered one of the seven wonders of the modern world, the Taj Mahal is India’s most exquisite example of Islamic architecture, revered by many as the most elegant building in the world. Visit the Taj Mahal today, followed by a tour of Agra Fort. This massive red sandstone complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was the locus of Mughal power until the imperial capital was moved to Delhi in 1637. The maze of palaces, courtyards, mosques and luxurious private chambers captures the wealth and prestige of the empire during its heyday.

Day 3: Agra / Delhi / Depart
Rise early to experience the Taj Mahal by the ethereal light of dawn. To see the sunrise glow on this monument to immortal love is magical, when, weather permitting, the translucent white marble gleams rosy-pink in the morning rays. Standing regally on the banks of the River Yamuna, the Taj Mahal manifests the apex of Mughal art. Its exquisite architectural details, interior painting and calligraphy, and elaborate gardens embody the wealth and luxury synonymous with the imperial age. Construction took 22 years, requiring the labor of 20,000 men and a thousand elephants. An icon of romance, the Taj Mahal has captivated the imaginations of travelers and writers since its completion in 1653. The English poet Sir Edwin Arnold called it “the proud passions of an emperor’s love wrought in living stones.” After breakfast, we drive back to Delhi by van, where day rooms await on arrival. Later, a transfer to the international airport is provided to meet departing flights.

Please Note: The Indian government has begun comprehensive conservation work, including cleaning and repairs, on the Taj Mahal. This work requires that there will be scaffolding covering various parts of the monument as the project progresses, as well as mud on portions of the dome, and it is expected to take a minimum of two to three years to complete. However, all four sides of the Taj Mahal are identical, so it is likely that visitors will still get excellent views and photos of the iconic facade.

Physical Rating: Easy

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