If you are wondering what else is happening near the Taj Mahal put visiting it’s sister monument on your agenda. Agra Fort is loaded with far more history and architecture (Hindu and Islamic) and a lot less drama than the Taj. Actually a walled city rather than fort, it dates back to the 11 century (the Taj Mahal is only half that age). A few hundred years later came the Mughals, who captured not only a fort complex of about 500 buildings but also a booty including a little diamond called the Koh-i-Noor (just kidding!), currently in the Tower of London and sometimes worn by English kings and queens.
How can a mausoleum to a beautiful woman become more famous than all of that history? The glass for the Shish Mahal (Mirror Palace) was imported from Syria 400 years ago. 1.5 million workers rebuilt the red sandstone fort during the Mughals. That must have improved the unemployment stats. There is a Peacock throne, a Pearl Mosque, 85 square gardens, marble palaces, rooms for kings and mistresses and other rooms for harem functions. A fort with something for everyone.
How do some things catch our imaginations leaving other equally fascinating places (also a UNESCO World Heritage site) to lesser known status by outsiders? Beauty is the lure but a red patina is a curiousity too for those who care to cross the river in Agra.
For more on India and the Taj Mahal, see also: