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INDIA
India has emerged as a global leader in medical tourism. With world class medical facilities, state of the art hospitals, qualified doctors and low- cost treatments, many medical travel companies recommend India as a most sought after destination.
 
Travel  Guide- India               
India, the largest democracy in the world, is a land of variations, where you can find diversity in landscape, climate, food, clothing, language, religion, culture and tradition. The diversity of India is incomparable as it is blessed with the great Himalayan Mountain Ranges in the north, tropical rain forests in the northeast, the beautiful temples in the south and the colorful Thar Desert in the west. Apart from these features, every city in India has several attractions that attract numerous tourists each year. There are various museums, religious and historic monuments, which display the ethos and essence of India.
 
Fast Facts:                                                                                                  
Country Name     Republic of India
Population 1,000,000,000
Capital New Delhi
Currency Indian Rupees
Code: INR
Symbol: Rupees
Languages Spoken English, Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Bengali, Kashmiri,
Kannada, Gujrati, Marathi, Telegu, Punjabi
Time Zone GMT/UTC +5.5
Country Dialing Code +91
Weights and Measures Metric
Electrical Plugs 230-240V 50Hz
 
India is one of the most intricate and rewarding dramas unfolding on earth. Several historic monuments attract numerous tourists each year. Some of the leading historic monuments include the Gateway of India situated in Mumbai, the India Gate and Red Fort situated in New Delhi, the Victoria Memorial located in Kolkata and the Golconda Fort and Charminar situated in Hyderabad.

One such historic monument that has made its mark even on the world map is the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal located in Agra is the most exquisite monuments found not only in India but also in the entire world. It is a fine example of Mughal architecture along with intricate and fine carving.

Magnificent Architecture Taj Mahal stands in the city of Agra, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, on the banks of the Yamuna river. It was built in the memory of the beautiful Arjumand Bano Begum, who won the heart of a Mughal prince. She was married at 21 to Emperor Jahangir's third son Prince Khurram and stayed loyally by his side in the luxurious royal palaces of Agra as well as the transient tents of war camps.

Since the 17th century, travelers have crossed continents to come and see this ultimate memorial to love which has inspired poets, painters and musicians to try and capture its elusive magic in words, colours and song and few have been unmoved by its incomparable beauty.
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A mesmerizing love story
Shah Jahan was born in the year 1592. The son of Jehangir, the fourth Mughal emperor of India, fell in love with Arjumand Banu Begum. At that time he was 14 years old and she, a Muslim Persian princess, was 15. 
The match got solemnized after five years in the year 1612. Shah Jahan became the Emperor in the year 1628 and entrusted Arjumand Banu with the royal seal. He also bestowed her with the tile of Mumtaz Mahal, meaning the "Jewel of the Palace". Though Shah Jahan had other wives also, but Mumtaz Mahal was his favorite and accompanied him everywhere, even on military campaigns. In the year 1631, when Mumtaz Mahal was giving birth to their 14th child, she died due to some complications. It is believed that in her last breath Mumtaz secured a promise from Shah Jahan that he would construct the most beautiful monument in the her memory. Shahjahan was inconsolable and contemporary chronicles tell of the royal court mourning for two years. There was no music, no feasting, and no celebration of any kind.

Few years after her death, Shah Jahan undertook the task of building the world's most beautiful monument in the memory of his beloved. It took 22 years and the labor of 22,000 workers to construct the monument.
The most skilled architects, inlay craftsmen, calligraphers, stone-carvers and masons came from all across India and lands as distant as Persia and Turkey. The master mason was from Baghdad, an expert in building the double dome from Persia, and an inlay specialist from Delhi.

The tomb was completed in AD 1650. But, Shahjahan was deposed by his son Aurangzeb in 1658 and imprisoned in the Agra Fort. He spent his last years in the Mussalman Burj looking downstream at the Taj where his beloved Mumtaz Mahal lay. Sixteen years later he, too, was laid to rest beside her. This magnificent monument came to be known as "Taj Mahal" and now counts amongst the Seven Wonders of the World.

The bejeweled Palace
Shahjahan's two biggest passions were architecture and jewellery and both are reflected in the Taj Mahal. And so Mumtaz Mahal's final resting-place was ornamented like a queen's jewel-box.
He visualized a building in marble and then had it decorated with semi-precious stones inlaid with the delicacy of handcrafted jewellery. Marble in purest white was brought from Makrana in Rajasthan, yellow marble and rock spar from the banks of the Narmada river, black marble from Charkoh and red sandstone from Sikri. For the intricate pieta dura the finest gems were collected - crystal and jade from China, lapis lazuli and sapphires from Sri Lanka, jasper from Punja, carnelian from Baghdad and turquoise from Tibet.

The tomb stands on a six-meter high marble plinth. The four minarets at each corner beautifully frame the tomb. The plinth stands on a high sandstone platform and at the far ends of this base are two identical sandstone structures, a mosque to the west and its jawab, or echo, to the east.
An ornate marble screen, carved so fine that it almost has the texture of lace surrounds the cenotaphs in the central hall. However, as was the tradition during Mughal times, the actual graves lie in an underground crypt directly below the cenotaphs.

The colours of the Taj
Taj Mahal changes its moods with the seasons and the different times of the day. At dawn, the marble has a delicate bloom in shell pink, by noon it glitters majestically white, turning to a soft pearly grey at dusk. On full-moon away against the star-spangled sky. Monsoon clouds give it a moody blue tint and it appears and disappears like a mirage in the drifting mists of winter.It can be solid and earthbound, fragile and ethereal, white, amber, grey and gold. The many faces of Taj Mahal display the seductive power of architecture at its best.
 
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