June 10, 2008

Taj Mahal - A sign of Love


For centuries, the Taj Mahal has inspired poets, painters and musicians to try and capture its elusive magic in word, colour and song. It is one of the most flawless architectural creations of the world. Since the 17th century, travellers have crossed continents to come and see this ultimate memorial to love, and few have been unmoved by its incomparable beauty.

Taj Mahal stands in the city of Agra, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, on the banks of the Yamuna River. It was built in the memory of the beautiful Arjumand Bano Begum, who won the heart of a Mughal prince. She was married at 21 to Emperor Jahangir’s third son Prince Khurram and stayed loyally by his side through good times and bad: in the luxurious royal palaces of Agra as well as the transient tents of war camps.

In AD 1628, Khurram became king after a bloody battle of succession: he took the name Shahjahan or “King of the World” and showered his beloved begum with the highest titles. She became Mumtaz Mahal, the exalted of the palace and Mumtaz-ul-Zamani, the exalted of the Age. But Mumtaz Mahal was not destined to be queen for long.

In 1631, Shahjahan went on an expedition to the south and, as always, Mumtaz Mahal accompanied him. But she died in childbirth at Burhanpur. She had borne Shahjahan fourteen children, of whom four sons and three daughters survived. When Mumtaz Mahal died, she was just 39 years old. Shahjahan was inconsolable and contemporary chronicles tell of the royal court mourning for two years. there was no music, no feasting, and no celebration of any kind.
Construction Of The Mausoleum - Taj Mahal
Work on the mausoleum began in 1633 and 20,000 workers laboured for 17 years to build it. The most skilled architects, inlay craftsmen, calligraphers, stone-carvers and masons came from all across Indian and lands as distant as Persia and Turkey. The master mason was from Baghdab, an expert in building the double dome from Persia, and an inlay specialist from Delhi.

Yemen sent agates, the corals came from Arabia, the garnets from Bundelkhand, onyx and amethyst from Persia. Mumtaz Mahal’s final resting-place was ornamented like a queen’s jewel-box.
Reaching Taj Mahal By Air
Domestic aircarrier, Indian Airlines runs daily flights connecting Agra to Delhi, Khajuraho and the holy city of Varanasi. Kheria Airport is about 6 km from the Agra city centre and can be reached by taxis and auto-rickshaws at fixed rates, Rs 75 for the former and Rs 50 for the latter.


Indian Airlines has two offices :
-- Hotel Clarks Shiraz, Taj Road, Agra.
-- Kheria Airport.

Reaching Taj Mahal By Rail
Agra is well connected by excellent train services to Delhi such as the Shatabdi Express (2 hrs), Taj Express (2.5 hrs), Intercity Express (3 hrs).

Railway Stations :
-- Agra Cantt Rly Stn, Enquiry: 131, 133. Reservation: 364611
-- Raja-ki-Mundi Rly Stn, Contact: 354477
-- Agra Fort Rly Stn, enbquiry: 132, 135 Reservation: 364131
-- Tundla Rly Stn on Ferozabad Rd (for changing trains) 05611-22631

Reaching Taj Mahal By Road
Express bus services (a/c and non-a/c) are available from Delhi, Jaipur, Lucknow, Gwalior, and Jhansi. For those driving to Agra, the distances are :
-- Mathura - 58 kms.
-- Bharatpur - 60 kms.
-- Gwalior - 118 kms.
-- Delhi - 203 kms.
-- Jaipur - 236 kms.
-- Khajuraho - 393 kms.


Taj Mahal Tours
Conducted sightseeing tours to all these places leave daily at 10.00 am from the Agra Cantt. Railway Station. Tickets are available at the station or can be booked in advance at the Northern Railway Reservation Office. The Taj Mahal is closed to visitors on Mondays.

Local Transport around Taj Mahal
Most hotels conduct sightseeing tours. Auto-rickshaws, tongas, cycle-rickshaws, and taxis are available, rates negotiable, depending on distance as they have no meter. Inter-city buses also operate on a point-to-point basis at fixed rates. Both A/C and non A/C Coaches and Tourist taxis can be hired at Agra for local sightseeing.

1 comment:

  1. You can search about Indian Railways, Ticket Availability, PNR Enquiry, Check Fare, Find Trains, Find Railway Stations, Train Routes, Train Schedule, Trains between stations, live train info, Spot your train, arrivals, departures, rail network map and all other features on a new site which is not developed by Indian Railways, but a third party, you may know the name, that is http://www.indiantrains.org/

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    ReplyDelete

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