A journey of nine hundred miles, still over these broad plains of India, will bring us to the city of Agra, which, like Delhi, stands not on the Ganges, but on its great tributary, the Jumna. It is an important city, containing over forty thousand inhabitants. To all who visit this place the first object of interest will be the Taj (pronounced Tahj) Mahal, or tomb of the wife of the Emperor Shah-Jehan. It is the most interesting edifice in India and one of the most beautiful in the world. A tomb in this country means a magnificent structure of marble, with domes and minarets, the walls inlaid with precious stones, and the whole surrounded by gardens, fountains, and artificial lakes, covering from ten to twenty acres. Cheap as labor is in India, the Taj must have cost some fifteen millions of dollars, and was seventeen years in building. The Mogul Emperor resolved to erect the most superb monument ever reared to commemorate a woman's name, and he succeeded, for herein Mohammedan architecture reached its height. The mausoleum is situated in a spacious garden, the equal of which can hardly be found elsewhere, beautiful to the eye and delightful to the senses, with fragrant flowers, exotic and indigenous. This grand structure, with the ripeness of centuries upon it, is no ruin; all is fragrant and fresh as at the hour when it was completed. It is of white marble, three hundred feet in height, the principal dome being eighty feet high, and of such exquisite form and harmony is the whole that it seems almost to float in the air.
Foot-prints of Travel, by Maturin M. Ballou