Friday, Jan. 22, 2010

Get a Fresh Perspective

The Taj Mahal — the stunning monument to the undying love of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan for his wife Mumtaz — is by far India's most recognizable image, endlessly reproduced in photographs and souvenirs. Could there possibly be a new way of seeing it? At Amarvilas, there are dozens. Every room at this superluxury hotel, just 600 m from the Taj, has a slightly different view of its white-marble splendor. On the lower floors, the Taj looms majestically over the city sprawl of Agra. Higher up, it seems to float in the mist. For full immersion in the Taj Mahal experience, visit at sunrise and sunset; during the day, you can soak in the hotel's homage to the architecture of the Taj. The interiors repeat the floral and geometric motifs in marble and red sandstone, and the rosewood tables in the rooms are made with intricate inlay work fashioned by craftsmen who claim to be descendants of those who built the palace itself.

— By Jyoti Thottam