It is, quite simply, the world’s most beautiful building. It is generally considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements of Persian, Indian and Islamic. Described by Rudyard Kipling as “the embodiment of all things pure”, the Taj Mahal was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century as a monument to his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. A UNESCO World Heritage Site. Taj has attracted a lot of celebrated visitors, from Beatles and US presidents to princesses and sports stars. Here are some of the most famous Ten.
- Princess Diana
The Princess of Wales accompanied her husband Prince Charles on a state visit to India in February 1992. The Taj was an obvious inclusion on the royal couple’s itinerary. The event was captured by photographer Martin Keene, whose iconic image of the sitting princess – on a bench today nicknamed ‘Lady Diana’s chair’ – is the most symbolic photo. This occupies the same importance.
- Sir Ben Kingsley
The Oscar-winning performance as Mohandas Gandhi, Sir Ben Kingsley’s iconic photo in front of the Taj with his wife Daniela Lavender in 2009.
- Oprah Winfrey
She is an American media talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist. She is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history Dubbed the “Queen of All Media”, she visited Taj in 2012 along with the host of journalist and camera crew.
- Bill Clinton
There is this famous story about Bill Clinton – he says, “There are,” according to Bill Clinton, “two kinds of people in the world. Those who have seen the Taj Mahal and love it and those who have not seen the Taj and love it.” The former US president was speaking shortly after an official visit to Agra along with her daughter, Chelsea. In Clinton’s autobiography My Life, he described the Taj as “perhaps the world’s most beautiful structure”.
- Sharon Stone
Sharon Stone (Basic Instinct star) traveled to India and visited the Taj. She reported to some local journalists that she had a great time visiting the Taj Mahal and this was featured highly on her to-do list.
- Boris Becker
Three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker visited Taj Mahal in December 2012. Accompanied by his wife Lilly Kerssenberg. Despite his busy schedule, the sports star couldn’t resist a visit to the Taj – a trip that, if his tweets are anything to go by, was probably his India highlight.
- Tom Cruise
Noted Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise sits in front of the crowd as he takes a tour of the landmark Taj Mahal in Agra, on Saturday, December 3, 2011.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
Terminator star Arnold Schwarzenegger traveled to India in 2012 to attend an environmental conference. Unfortunately, his visit to Agra fell on a Friday – the one day of the week the Taj Mahal closes to tourists. The former governor of California was, according to his tour guide, a little disappointed – but that didn’t stop him from taking photos on his phone outside the boundary wall.
- Russell Brand & Katy Perry
He’s not exactly the settling-down type, but back in December 2009, the Taj Mahal may have inspired self-styled revolutionary Russell Brand to change his ways.
- Mark Zuckerberg
The CEO of Facebook said I decided to visit the Taj Mahal. I’ve always wanted to see this. It is even more stunning than I expected. It’s incredible what people can build — and what love can motivate us to build. If you like to include Taj Mahal in your holiday itinerary of Rajasthan or India, please do get in touch – we would love to organize your holiday.