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Because of its former prominence as the capital of India's Mughal Dynasty, Agra is home to palaces and forts, foremost among them the spectacular Taj Mahal, which has become virtually a national symbol. While Agra today is a bustling industrial city far removed from the days of opulence of the Mughal emperors, it has preserved its monuments well by enacting some of the toughest air-pollution laws in the nation, for example, to protect the fragile white visage of the Taj. Along with Delhi and the northwestern desert city of Jaipur, Agra makes up India's "Golden Triangle," a circuit frequented by travelers for its cultural wealth.
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Our co-founder Jay Tindall is a regular visitor to India, where he loves staying in the palace hotels of Rajasthan. His favourite experience? The amazing Kumbh Mela festival.
The Taj Mahal is nothing less than one of mankind's greatest architectural feats. Built out of white marble by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631, the Taj was erected by 20,000 laborers over a 12-year period, in the process nearly bankrupting the Mughal empire. At its heart are two fascinating ironies: a Muslim monument that is perhaps the foremost symbol of nation that is 80 percent Hindu; and the world’s most famous example of funerary architecture– the Taj is in fact a tomb – built by an empire whose religion forbade such memorials.
The entire monument, including the four grand minarets built at slightly oblique angles – in order to appear at 90 degrees when viewed from a distance – is a masterpiece of symmetry, with one exception that emperor Shah Jahan did not foresee: he was eventually entombed, off-center, beside Mumtaz Mahal.
For a mere 14 years, the "ghost city" of Fatehpur Sikri was the capital of the Mughal Empire. Decreed in 1571 by Emperor Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri was built to honor Salim Chishti, a saint who famously predicted that the then-heirless Akbar would have a son. Abandoned in short time due to chronic water shortages, it remains a beautiful example of traditional Mughal architecture, whose edifices of red sandstone fuse elements from Central Asia, Persia, and India itself. Fatehpur Sikri is about 25 miles outside of Agra.
Jami Masjid in Fatehpur Sikri is where Salim Chishti’s magnificent, white-marble tomb is located. The saint died in 1571 and the building was completed in 1580, although marble screens enclosing the verandah were added by Jahangir’s (the emperor’s first son) foster brother in 1606. Today, Hindu and Muslim women alike pray at the shrine inside for the blessing of children – more evidence of the pan-religious aspects of Fatehpur Sikri.
Visit the well-preserved 16th-century Agra Fort, also known as the Red Fort. Located on the west banks of the Yamuna River about a mile from the Taj Mahal, the fort as built during the rule of emperors Akbar, his son Shah Jahan and grandson Aurangzeb. Originally a walled city built in the Mughal style, it has an impressive 72-foot high wall enclosing the grounds.
Visit Mehtab Bagh, or Moonlight Garden, situated across the Yamuna River from the Taj Mahal. Built at the same time as the Taj, Mehtab Bagh is a Persian-style quadrilateral garden whose design mirrors the approach to the Taj. Neglected for centuries, Mehtab Bagh was restored beginning in the 1990s; today visitors can once again experience what was originally an integral part of the whole Taj complex.
Step inside an age-old culture and explore its beauty on this 14-day journey that takes you through bustling New Delhi’s Chandni Chowk Market, to the steps of the iconic Taj Mahal, and over to the banks of the Ganges to observe the sunset Aarti, all while staying at some of the country’s most luxurious hotels.
Travel through India like royalty aboard your private jet, whisking you with ease and comfort to each of your exciting Indian destinations on this 10-day luxury journey. You’ll marvel at the iconic Taj Mahal, spot tigers in Ranthambhore National Park, shop in Jaipur, and spend nights in luxury India hotels.
Let your private jet whisk you away on this exclusive 14-day journey through North India. You’ll take in Mumbai’s world-famous Bollywood scene, catch sunset at one of India’s holiest sites, marvel at the incredible Taj Mahal, and visit an elephant polo camp, all while staying in some of India’s most luxury hotels.
Experience the rich flavors, tastes, smells, sights and sounds of beautiful India. From architectural wonders to cultural treasures and natural beauties, you’ll revel in them all over eleven shining days and ten unforgettable nights spent in utter luxury at Oberoi hotels
Travel for 10 luxurious days through North India, taking in the region’s incredible sights and landmarks. You’ll visit New Delhi’s Qutub Minar, India’s tallest minaret, catch the sunrise over Taj Mahal in Agra, and go on safari rides in Panna National Park, while staying in some of India’s most luxury hotels.
Located just 600 meters from the Taj Mahal, the Oberoi Amarvilas offers views of this romantic monument from each of its 109 guest rooms and suites, as well as the property’s lobby, bar and lounge. With a nod to Moorish and Mughal architecture, the resort features terraced lawns, fountains, reflection pools and pavilions with rich interiors. Room and suite amenities include a separate walk-in closet with electronic safe, lavish marble bathrooms with deluxe toiletries. The Amarvilas is also home to two restaurants, Bellevue and Esphahan, which serve fine international and Indian cuisine. Complementing the grandeur of the Mughal era is the spa that befits the self-indulgence of royalty, with holistic treatments based on Ayurveda and ancient Thai and western massage techniques, as well as beauty and body treatments. Other facilities include a swimming pool and a state-of-the-art gymnasium.