Well, we give you 7 reasons why you should visit the Taj Mahal (irrespective of whether you’ve been here before or not!) right away.
1. It was in the year 1631, when Shah Jahan’s favourite queen, Mumtaz Mahal, died giving birth to their 14th child (pheeew!) It was this fateful event that prompted the grieving Shah Jahan to commission the building of the magnificent mausoleum across the Yamuna River, which is known today as the Taj Mahal.
2. Around 8 million people visit the Taj Mahal in Agra every year. At times there are over 50k people visiting on a single day. There goes the chance of an uncluttered selfie! Sigh!
3. Did you know that the Taj Mahal changes colour depending on the light? This shimmering white marble structure gives off a different aura when seen under the warm sunlight and the cool shade of moonlight. There is a pinkish hue in the morning, milky white in the evening and golden at night when lit by the moon. Stay at Hotel Clarks Shiraz for some amazing views.
4. The Taj Mahal took 22 years to build. Construction of the Taj Mahal cost an estimated 32 million Indian rupees (the equivalent of over US $1 billion at the time). An estimated 20,000 labourers were recruited from all over Asia. Over 1,000 elephants were used to transport the heavy building material. The structure was adorned with of 28 types of precious and semiprecious jewels. The turquoise came from Tibet, and jade came from China.
5. Did you know that the publically open floor of the Taj Mahal that the visitors see now is not the real tomb of the ruler and his deceased wife? The actual tombs are at the garden level, which is two levels below the raised platform and is closed to the public.
6. The Taj Mahal is 171 metres (561 feet) high, which makes it 5 feet taller than the Qutub Minar.
7. The Taj Mahal is closed every Friday because it has an active working mosque on the premises, which is open to prayers every Friday in the afternoon.
The Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site. As a former capital city of the region, city Agra is a must-visit Indian location, with the climate suiting winter visits best. It offers an urban landscape filled with fantastic sights and experiences.
The Agra Fort is one of the finest Mughal forts in India, although it’s overshadowed by the Taj; the fort is an imposing red sandstone structure built by Emperor Akbar in 1565. The majesty of Agra’s past still lingers and is evident in the culture and surrounding architecture, including the famous inlaid marble and red sandstone buildings.
Modern luxuries are also available to all visitors, delivering a wonderful balance of the classic and contemporary amongst the city’s beautiful settings. There is a wealth of delectable delights for all your senses.
Agra is famous for its sweets, which are devilishly delicious and a real treat for your tastebuds. The beautiful sights across the markets will capture your attention too, but be prepared to barter when buying from local craftsmen, who specialise in leather goods, rugs and gold embroidery. The quality of the carvings and the remains of the art work and painted buildings must have made this a fabulous palace in its heyday.
Christmas is no fun without the traditional Christmas cake. And making it is no quick and easy task — preparations begin months in advance for that. To mark the birth of Jesus Christ, Hotel Clarks Shiraz here organise cake-mixing ceremonies to spread the warmth of the festive season.
People from different walks of life come together for such ceremonies. Wouldn’t it be fun to mix lots of colourful cherries, dates, plums and dry fruits together with your favourite drink, on a lush green lawn overlooking the sea? However, the treat is not to savour immediately but to keep ready for the festive season.
With less than a months left for Christmas and New Year, the Agra city began its celebrations with the cake mixing ceremony. A lot of in-house foreigners, guests and invitees, enthusiastic children and the staff of Hotel Clarks Shiraz geared up with aprons, caps and gloves took part in the fun-filled ceremony. Close to 250 kilos of assorted dry fruits were mixed with cinnamons, nutmeg and generous amounts of liquor and stored in a container until the festive season. This marinated assortment of dry fruits will be incorporated when baking plum cakes and puddings.
The longer the mix is kept for, the tastier will be the cake, said one of the chefs of the hotel. “It is basically to bring in the festive mood and make merry. People who get these cakes are in for a pleasant surprise too,” said Group CMD.