There are some moments in life that don’t live up to the anticipation, but your first sight of India’s Taj Mahal will not be one of them.
This building is every bit as impressive and wonderful as you have been led to believe, and an amazing tribute from a man to the woman he loved.
A love story like no other
As I walked around this enormous building, our guide shared his version of the story behind its creation. Evidently, when Shah Jahan was 14 years old, he was walking through the local market. A strong wind blew through the market stalls, blowing aside the demure clothing of Mumtaz who was just a young girl serving on her father’s stall.
Blown away by Mumtaz’s beauty, Shah fell deeply in love and romance blossomed between the couple. Although they both longed for marriage, Shah was the heir and promised to marry another. So he did, and then another wife before finally marrying Mumtaz.
They say it was a marriage of love, and the birth of 14 children is fairly good evidence that it was. Unfortunately, the birth of the 14th child resulted in Mumtaz’s death at the age of 37. Shah was so distressed by her death he decided to construct of the Taj Mahal as a memorial.
Take a day trip from Delhi
The Taj Mahal is located in Agra which is a four-hour, perhaps longer depending on the traffic, drive from Delhi. From The Leela Palace New Delhi, the driver took the new expressway which is a toll road and less crowded than other routes. The locals were very surprised at how quick our journey was.
If you can allow a full day for the tour, include a visit to the Red Fort in Agra and the tomb of Shaikh Chisti.
The Leela Palace in Chanakyapuri is located in New Delhi’s Diplomatic Enclave and is a luxurious blend of royal Indian culture and modern architecture that will impress even the most jaded traveller. An independent hotel, The Leela was selected as member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts because it embodies the local culture of the New Delhi and the romance of travel.
Visual splendour is everywhere, but even more apparent is the hotel’s hospitality which works on the mantra that the guest is god. It’s the first time anyone has offered to draw my bath, a service I foolishly rejected from my private butler. My biggest regret is not making time to indulge at either the spa or the roof top swimming pool which is maintained at a comfortable 26 degrees Celsius.
Disclaimer: Ed+bK was hosted by Jet Airways, the The Leela Palace New Delhi and The Leela Palace Bengaluru. In Singapore I stayed at The Fullerton Hotel. All hotels are part of Preferred Hotels & Resorts.
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