The world’s most beautiful building, the Taj Mahal, is considered the most glorious of all world manmade wonders and is worthy of a long flight on its own merit. It is situated on the banks of Yamuna River in northern/central India and is best seen during a full moon.
The amazing structure was built in the 1600s as a mausoleum by the emperor Shah Jahan as his departed queen’s resting place. It features a main hall surrounded by several lofty columns and a marble clad which changes color depending on the time of day. Out front is the main entrance with reflecting pools, which is where the best view of the edifice is.
The Taj Mahal was many years in the making at the hands of thousands of skilled craftsmen from all over India, as well as from China and Italy. The whole thing is perched up on a squat platform to give it a flotation effect when viewed from the river or in front of the reflecting pools. While the main appeal is the views of the tomb from outside, the interior is also incredibly beautiful and is best seen at the Arches in the Mosque interior.
Many visitors are bowled over by the various hues that the Taj Mahal puts out at different times of the day, during sunrises and sunsets and especially at full moon. Unfortunately, it becomes super-busy at these times, and particularly during the latter.
What is it? An elaborate mausoleum built by Shah Jahan for his queen to perpetuate her memory.
When to go? March/April and October through December. Avoid May through September when it is hot and wet.
Nearest town: Agra, two miles west.
Don’t miss: the view of the Taj Mahal from outside the main gateway at full moon.
Trivia: the Taj Mahal was 22 years in the making using 22,000 workmen.
It is best to fly to Agra’s Kheria Airport, which is about eight miles southwest of the Taj Mahal and a short flight from New Delhi. You can also get here by road or train from New Delhi, which is 100 miles to the north.