While only under a half day's drive from Delhi, Agra feels like a different world. We visited the Taj at dawn when the light is the best and the crowds are merely in the hundreds. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal who died giving birth to their 14th child. Shah Jahan is entombed next to her. It was commissioned in 1632 and took 22,000 laborers about 10 years to build. We couldn't take pictures inside, but it's the outside that's magical, right? We arrived early, at about 6:30 or 7:00 to take advantage of the eastern sun. It was already crowded; I can't imagine how crowded it must get later in the day.
Some of the exquisite inlay.
I had read that the monkeys at the entrance to the Taj are particularly bold and that they've been known to swipe purses. I don't know if that's true, but although they were hovering, none were that bold with us.