Namaste Trump: POTUS visit to India

Trump and Melania visit Taj Mahal, marvel at monument of love

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tour the historic Taj Mahal, in Agra on February 24, 2020.

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tour the historic Taj Mahal, in Agra on February 24, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

The 17th century Mughal-era mausoleum has been refurbished for the high profile visit

U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump on Monday visited the iconic Taj Mahal as they marvelled at the famed 17th century Mughal-era mausoleum built as a monument of love.

Mr. Trump, accompanied by his wife, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, arrived here from Ahmedabad.

The Taj Mahal, built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal who died in 1631, has been refurbished for the visit.

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President Trump and the First Lady held hands as they strolled at the Taj complex and later wrote in the visitors’ book. They were also briefed about the history and importance of the monument

Locals excited

The U.S. President’s visit to Agra and Taj has generated huge excitement among local residents. Some shops have even displayed their own banners, welcoming Mr. Trump to India.

Mr. Trump also took to Twitter to express his sentiments about his first official visit to India, which began with a visit to Ahmedabad.

“First lady and I have travelled 8,000 miles around the world to give a message to each citizen of this country — America loves India, America respects India, and the people of America will always be true and committed friends of the people of India,” the American leader tweeted in Hindi.

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From the Kheria airbase here, Mr. Trump’s convoy of over 30 vehicles drove to Oberoi Amarvilas hotel near the Taj Mahal complex, as over 15,000 school students who lined up both sides of the route held U.S. and India flags and cheered the U.S. President as his motorcade passed by.

Massive billboards bearing greeting messages and pictures of Mr. Trump, First Lady and Prime Minister Narendra Modi dotted the nearly 13-km convoy route as street roundabouts decked up with U.S. and India flags symbolised the U.S.-India friendship.

3-layer security

An extensive three-layer security was in place and authorities had got the Taj Mahal premises cleared of visitors by noon, hours ahead of Mr. Trump’s visit to the celebrated architectural landmark.

Mr. Trump and the First Lady enjoyed the view of the marble marvel in the evening as a cool breeze added to the pleasant weather.

They also posed for pictures for photographers.

 

The last U.S. President to visit the Mughal-era wonder was Bill Clinton who had come to India in 2000. He had seen the Taj along with daughter Chelsea Clinton.

In 1959, then U.S. President David Dwight Eisenhower had visited Taj along with then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Agra had waited excitedly to welcome President Trump and authorities made arrangements to present a “lively Agra” to the visiting President, seeking to shake off the old tag of ‘city of ghosts’.

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“During Mr. Clinton’s visit the city streets were deserted due to security arrangements, prompting him to call it a ‘city of ghosts’. This time the excitement can be felt in the air,” said Mohit Kumar, who works at a hotel in Tajganj area.

“I was very young in 2000 when Mr. Clinton visited. We are very excited and happy that another U.S. President has come to our city due to which the civic amenities have been improved,” he said.

Festive ambience

On his arrival at the airbase, over 250 artists drawn from different parts of Uttar Pradesh performed ‘Mayur dance’, ‘Rai folk dance’, ‘Dhobia folk dance’ as sonorous sounds of ‘bumrasia’ nagada, dholak, mridang, added to the festive ambience.

A giant billboard there featuring Mr. Trump, Ms. Melania and Prime Minister Modi greeted the couple with a message — ‘Grand welcome of India’s best friend to the City of Love — Agra.’

Mr. Trump was received at the Kheria airbase by Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

“From the airport, the U.S. President’s convoy travelled till the Oberoi Amarvilas hotel situated near the East Gate of the Taj Mahal complex. From there the President and his family and members of the high-level delegation accompanying him moved into eco-friendly golf carts to travel into the monument premises,” a senior official said.

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The architectural marvel inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 is made of white Makrana marble and red sandstones, and renowned for its intricate inlay work on the stone surface.

Taj Mahal, considered one of the seven wonders of the world, stands on the bank of the Yamuna, and is always high on the itinerary of visiting heads of state.

It is one of the most photographed sites in the world.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 12:38:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/trump-melania-visit-taj-mahal-marvelled-at-monument-of-love/article30905860.ece

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