US President, Donald Trump, and First Lady, Melania Trump, spent nearly an hour at the Taj Mahal on Monday during their stand-alone visit to India. They were accompanied by daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Trump and Melania held hands as they walked around the Taj complex. ‘The Taj Mahal inspires awe, a timeless testament to the rich and diverse beauty of Indian culture! Thank you India,” they wrote in the visitors’ book after the guided tour.
Though Trump and Melania stood in front of the Diana Seat, they did not sit on it as is usually done by visiting heads of state.
The Trumps walked into the main mausoleum that houses the grave of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, who created the “marvel in marble” in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, whose grave is also there.
“President Trump and Melania were patient listeners. They wanted to know about the love story of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal, the architecture and symmetry of Taj Mahal,” said Nitin Singh, who took the Trumps out on the guided tour of the Taj.
“They asked about the inlay work and from where the marble came. The US President’s wife asked about how Emperor Aurangzeb had kept his father, Shah Jahan, in prison,” he added.
The Agra administration released fresh water into Yamuna river, which was viewed by the President and his wife when they went to the rear side of the mausoleum. The Trumps appeared to have enjoyed their trip. Ivanka also asked for her photograph to be taken with the mausoleum in the backdrop.
Earlier, UP governor, Anandiben Patel, and chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, welcomed the guests who landed at Kheria airport in Agra at 4:15 p.m. Around 300 artistes gathered at the airport to perform cultural programmes such as ‘mayur dance’, depicting Braj culture.
Trump lauded the cultural welcome by clapping along with Melania. From the Kheria airport, the US President’s over 30-vehicle-long convoy drove towards a hotel near the Taj Mahal complex. The family and members of high-level delegation accompanying him left the hotel and got into eco-friendly golf carts to travel to Taj premises, said officials. Over 15,000 school children lined up holding US and India flags on both sides of the 13-kilometre route — from the airport to the Taj — and cheered as Trump’s motorcade passed amid massive security arrangements.
Cutouts of Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and giant billboards bearing greeting messages dotted the route. Stages were set up on roadsides to present cultural events to welcome the visiting dignitaries.
Barricades were placed on the route to reduce public traffic from 1:30 pm while authorities had got the Taj premises cleared of visitors by noon. The Trumps flew to Delhi at about 6:50 pm.