US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump on Monday evening visited the iconic Taj Mahal as they marvelled at the famed 17th century Mughal-era mausoleum built as a monument of love.
Trump, accompanied by his wife, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, arrived here from Ahmedabad.
The Taj Mahal, which was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal who died in 1631, has been refurbished for the visit.
President Trump and the First Lady held hands as they strolled at the Taj complex and later wrote in the visitors’ book. They were also briefed about the history and importance of the monument.
The US President’s visit to Agra and Taj has generated huge excitement among local residents. Some shops have even displayed their own banners, welcoming Trump to India. Trump also took to Twitter to express his sentiments about his first official visit to India, which began with a visit to Ahmedabad.
“First lady and I have travelled 8,000 miles around the world to give a message to each citizen of this country – America loves India, America respects India, and the people of America will always be true and committed friends of the people of India,” the American leader tweeted in Hindi.
From the Kheria airbase here, Trump’s convoy of over 30 vehicles drove to Oberoi Amarvilas hotel near the Taj Mahal complex, as over 15,000 school students who lined up both sides of the route held US and India flags and cheered the US president as his motorcade passed by. Massive billboards bearing greeting messages and pictures of Trump, First Lady and Modi dotted the nearly 13-km convoy route as street roundabouts decked up with US and India flags symbolised the US-India friendship.
An extensive three-layered security is in place for his Agra visit, and authorities had got the Taj Mahal premises cleared of visitors by noon, hours ahead of Trump’s visit to the celebrated architectural landmark.
Trump and the First Lady enjoyed the view of the marble marvel in the evening as a cool breeze added to the pleasant weather. They also posed for pictures for photographers. The couple will spend about an hour at Taj to catch the sunset from the UNESCO heritage site, before heading to Delhi.
The last US president to visit the the Mughal-era wonder was Bill Clinton who had come to India in 2000. He had seen the Taj along with daughter Chelsea Clinton.