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Taj is marvellous, says Chinese leader

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A FRAME TO CHERISH: Chinese President Hu Jintao poses with his wife Liu Yongquing in front of the Taj Mahal on Wednesday. "A wonder of the world and a treasure for human beings," Mr. Hu wrote in the visitors' book.
A FRAME TO CHERISH: Chinese President Hu Jintao poses with his wife Liu Yongquing in front of the Taj Mahal on Wednesday. "A wonder of the world and a treasure for human beings," Mr. Hu wrote in the visitors' book.

Agra: "Marvellous. Wonder of the world," wrote Chinese President Hu Jintao in the visitors' book after his 45-minute visit to the Taj Mahal here on Wednesday.

Accompanied by his wife Liu Yongquing and more than 100 members of his party, the President showed keen interest in the history and architecture of the 17th century `monument of love' and went around it as fountains played 15-feet high along its central causeway.

The President went inside the cenotaph chamber where he heard the famed 15-second echo of a `muezzin' calling out and the sound reverberating for 15 seconds.

Lack of time

He did not tour the main building, as is done by most VIPs, for lack of time but had a view of the Taj garden from the main structure. He did not go to the riverfront on the north either.

Returning to the main gateway, he wrote his impressions of the Taj in the visitors' book in Chinese before leaving for the Kheria airport to emplane for Mumbai.

In Mumbai

Mr. Hu arrived in Mumbai in the evening.

He was received at the airport by Maharashtra's Marketing Minister Harshvardhan Patil. He was taken to a luxury hotel in south Mumbai for night stay.

Mr. Hu has a hectic schedule in the country's financial hub on Thursday, including attending an India-China trade and investment summit, officials said.

In the morning at the hotel he will meet the sisters of Dwarkadas Kotnis, who treated Chinese soldiers during the Japanese invasion of that country in the 1940s. He will also meet officials of the Chinese Consulate General.

Mr. Hu will leave for Islamabad in the afternoon.

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