Taj Mahal is a white marble tomb whose foundations were laid by Shah Jahan (Mughal Emperor) in 1631 in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. It took almost 17 years to complete this majestic building, which is one of the rare feats achieved by human race.
The mausoleum of Taj Mahal at Agra stands in a well-laid out garden approached through a pavilion on the main axis. The tomb rises on a high red sandstone base topped by a huge white marble terrace on which rests the famous dome flanked by four tapering minarets.
The English translation of Taj Mahal means Crown Palace. Though Taj Mahal is not a palace yet it qualifies for the title as it competes with other palatial buildings in terms of architectural magnificence. According to Marvin Trachtenberg and Isabelle Hyman, in the history of architecture, the monument sums up many of the formal themes that have played through Islamic architecture.
The fame of Taj Mahal has touched to such height that Taj Mahal Agra is synonymous with India. To an aspiring traveller, when there is a mention of India, the brochure images of Taj Mahal Agra are the ones that first strike the mind.
Taj Mahal is located in Agra and the city of Agra is easily accessible. It is well connected to other parts of the country, by road, rail and air. The nearest railway station is Agra Cantonment. There are excellent train services from New Delhi. Shatabdi Express, Taj Express and Inter-city Express from Delhi take 2-3 hours to reach Agra. Other Mail and Express trains are also available from other states.
'Idgah' is the main bus terminal in Agra. Most of the buses leaves Agra from here. Many National Highways connect Agra to all major Indian cities. Express and air-conditioned bus services are available from Delhi, Jaipur, Lucknow, Gwalior and Jhansi. Buses are less expensive in comparison with train and air services.