I booked my accomodation via agoda.com and Booking.com  
I booked my airfares via Your Trip, Your Way at Expedia.ca

 

The Taj Mahal, in the city of Agra still remains one of the Seven Wonders of the World and probably one of the most famous holiday destinations in his world. Amazing that it still remains one of the Seven Wonders of the World when others had fallen in ranks.

The Official New 7 Wonders of the World have been elected by more than 100 million votes to represent global heritage throughout history. The listing is in random order, as announced at the Declaration Ceremony on 07.07.07

Holiday makers, young and old, local or foreign flock to the city of Agra to see the Taj Mahal, a “symbol of eternal love”. The Taj Mahal, built in memory of Begum Mumtaz Mahal by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in . 1681.

According the tourist brochure:-
Some Western historians have noted that its architectural beauty has never been surpassed. The Taj is the most beautiful monument built by the Mughals, the Muslim rulers of India. Taj Mahal is built entirely of white marble. Its stunning architectural beauty is beyond adequate description, particularly at dawn and sunset. The Taj seems to glow in the light of the full moon. On a foggy morning, the visitors experience the Taj as if suspended when viewed from across the Jamuna river.

Taj Mahal was built by a Muslim, Emperor Shah Jahan (died 1666 C.E.) in the memory of his dear wife and queen Mumtaz Mahal at Agra, India. It is an “elegy in marble” or some say an expression of a “dream.” Taj Mahal (meaning Crown Palace) is a Mausoleum that houses the grave of queen Mumtaz Mahal at the lower chamber. The grave of Shah Jahan was added to it later. The queen’s real name was Arjumand Banu. In the tradition of the Mughals, important ladies of the royal family were given another name at their marriage or at some other significant event in their lives, and that new name was commonly used by the public. Shah Jahan’s real name was Shahab-ud-din, and he was known as Prince Khurram before ascending to the throne in 1628.

Taj Mahal was constructed over a period of twenty-two years, employing twenty thousand workers. It was completed in 1648 C.E. at a cost of 32 Million Rupees. The construction documents show that its master architect was Ustad ‘Isa, the renowned Islamic architect of his time. The documents contain names of those employed and the inventory of construction materials and their origin. Expert craftsmen from Delhi, Qannauj, Lahore, and Multan were employed. In addition, many renowned Muslim craftsmen from Baghdad, Shiraz and Bukhara worked on many specialized tasks.

The Taj stands on a raised, square platform (186 x 186 feet) with its four corners truncated, forming an unequal octagon. The architectural design uses the interlocking arabesque concept, in which each element stands on its own and perfectly integrates with the main structure. It uses the principles of self-replicating geometry and symmetry of architectural elements.

Its central dome is fifty-eight feet in diameter and rises to a height of 213 feet. It is flanked by four subsidiary domed chambers. The four graceful, slender minarets are 162.5 feet each. The entire mausoleum (inside as well as outside) is decorated with inlaid design of flowers and calligraphy using precious gems such as agate and jasper. The main archways, chiseled with passages from the Holy Qur’an and the bold scroll work of flowery pattern, give a captivating charm to its beauty. The central domed chamber and four adjoining chambers include many walls and panels of Islamic decoration.

The mausoleum is a part of a vast complex comprising of a main gateway, an elaborate garden, a mosque (to the left), a guest house (to the right), and several other palatial buildings. The Taj is at the farthest end of this complex, with the river Jamuna behind it. The large garden contains four reflecting pools dividing it at the centre. Each of these four sections is further subdivided into four sections and then each into yet another four sections. Like the Taj, the garden elements serve like Arabesque, standing on their own and also constituting the whole.

Check out a few shots I took whilst I was there……great memory.

I didn’t visit any other holiday sites due to lack of time as I was just stopping over but the brochures indicated that besides Taj Mahal, there are other holiday attractions in Agra worth visiting.

The Agra Fort, built in massive red sandstones on the bank of Yamuna, built by emperor Akbar in 1565 is another major historical tourist attraction in Agra. It is popular with tourists as a towering fort as well as for the many palaces and mosques build within its premises by Jahangir and Shah Jahan, which include the Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) and Nagina Masjid (Gem Mosque) and Shish Mahal (Mirror Palace).Chini-Ka-Rauza(China tomb),a Persian style tomb is built of glazed tiles and is dedicated to the memory of Afzal Khan, Prime Minister in the court of Akbar.Itimad-ud-Daula Tomb, built by Empress NurJahan(Jehangir’s wife) in memory of her father and Akbar’s Mausoleum with a blending of motifs from all major religions are the other attractions in Agra.