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February 26, 2003

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All pressing for a flight has yielded the earliest departure date of March 2nd. My mother lies ill at home. With nothing to do but wait, we try to keep our minds occupied by visiting the Taj Mahal.
The Taj Mahal, considered to be the most extravagant monument ever built for love. Emperor Shah Jahan constructed it in memory of his second wife Mumtaz Mahal, whose death in 1631 left him heartbroken. He started building that same year and completed the job 22 years later.
On the bank of the Yamuna River, within sight of the Taj Mahal, stands the Agra fort. The fort's colossal double walls rise over 20m (65ft) in height and measure 2.5km (1.55mi) in circumference. Here the emperor Shah Jahan spent the last years of his life, imprisoned for bankrupting the country in order to build the Taj Mahal. His son took power yet allowed him to gaze at the Taj Mahal from his prison balconies in the fort (the prison quarters were luxurious and palatial).