I didn't find the city of Agra particularly appealing. It was dusty and the air was clearly polluted with thick smog. Although Agra was boasting three UNESCO World Heritage sites, it was the Taj Mahal that I was longing to see and she was the very reason for me to visit this smoggy city.

The entrance fee for a foreigner to the Taj was INR750 (about USD15.00) for one single entry while it was only INR20 for Indian people.
I walked from my hostel to the east gate just before 6am this morning, but I wasn't early enough. There were already hundreds of tourists queuing up at the gate then.

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I got through a security checkpoint and entered the gate around 6:30am without any problems, and then I quickened my pace to the inner-main gate with sheer excitement.

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No words could precisely describe the stunning beauty of the Taj.
My first word was simply: "Wow!"

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As I got closer and closer to the Taj, the scale of this building turned out to be massive with shining marble used all over the place.
Apparently, it only took the ancient Indians about twenty years to build this spectacular architecture, which made me wonder why the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona was taking forever to be built. Moreover, the Sagrada Familiar can hardly be as stunningly beautiful as this Indian lady.

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As the day progressed, more and more visitors, especially local Indian people, flocked into the Taj.
I found it quite interesting that the Taj actually drew a very visual contrast between its own white marble and Indian women in colourful sarees.

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I have now visited many ancient buildings which were registered as UNESCO World Heritage sites, notably Angkor Wat in Cambodia (not during this RTW trip but in 2004), Borobudur in Indonesia, Sigiriya in Sri Lanka, Crac Des Chvaliers and Umayyad Mosque in Syria, Petra in Jordan, Machu Picchu in Peru, etc.
Compared with all of them, the beauty of the Taj Mahal is truly one of its kind. Furthermore, with the help of grayish skies in Agra, the Taj seems to shine much whiter than pure white; it's simply marvellous.
This is definitely the cleanest place I've ever visited since I came to India.

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