• Visit one of the greatest architectural wonders of the world at the Taj Mahal

    2014-06-10

    Located on the southeast coast of Asia, India is a country that is well-known for its cuisine and its many unique cultural offerings. Home to an ancient and beautiful culture, this vast nation also houses one of the world's most famous monuments, the Taj Mahal. As this Asia travel destination is surely a must-see on any traveler's list, start planning your trip early to ensure this stunning architectural monument takes a priority spot on your itinerary.

    A history steeped in romance
    Conceived in the 17th century by the emperor Shah Jahan, the Taj Mahal was built as a monument and mausoleum to his recently deceased wife. Built over a period of 20 years, the now-famous complex located in Agra, India, displays a variety of the region's cultural influences at the time of its construction, including Persian and Islamic as well as Indian.

    Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, the perfectly symmetrical Taj Mahal reaches a height of 240 feet at its central dome, according to History.com. Its archways and entrances are inscribed with verses from the Quran, in accordance with Islamic tradition that guided its design and construction. Damaged in several political struggles throughout the country's history, British viceroy Lord Curzon had the monument restored toward the end of the 1800s, so that it could continue to stand as a beacon of Indian cultural brilliance.

    Paying a visit
    The Taj Mahal is one of the most visited attractions in all of India, with the Telegraph stating that it brings in up to 60,000 tourists every day - roughly 3 million every year. With that in mind, making the most of your trip to this monument of white marble may require some clever planning ahead.

    According to The Toronto Star Travel, expect to see the largest bulk of tourists in the cooler months between November and January. If you're looking to dodge as much of the crowd as you can and don't mind the hot weather, visiting during the summer when the extreme temperatures are keeping most travelers away may work to your advantage. If you aren't up to braving the heat, you can still get a relatively unobstructed view of the Taj Mahal by going first thing in the morning. Arriving just before sunrise should let you avoid much of the traveler crowd, and will afford you a breathtaking view of the sun rising over the grand white facade of the monument to boot.

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