The Taj Mahal is regarded as one of the man-made wonders of the world. Many consider that its architectural beauty has never been surpassed. Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal is a celebration of a woman built in marble, called by Tagore "a teardrop on the cheek of time", and by Edwin Arnold "Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passions of an emperor wrought in living stones". Construction began in 1631 and took 22 years, deploying 20,000 people. The monument is impressive in the self-replicating geometry and symmetry of its grand design, but also in its exquisite jewel-like workmanship.
The Agra Red Fort is historically the most important fort in India, having been used as a main residence and power center by six of the Mughal emperors. More accurately described as a walled palatial city, it used to enclose more than 500 buildings inside its 2.5km long walls. Although many of them have been destroyed, there are still superb standing palaces, audience halls, and mosques in Indo-Islamic style.
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Themes: Agra Fort, Taj Mahal, Yamuna River
Places: Uttar Pradesh, India