LUCKNOW: Walking hand-in-hand US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump strolled on the pathway approaching Taj Mahal, on Monday evening.
Hailing the iconic 17th-century Mughal era mausoleum as 'timeless testament' to the rich and diverse beauty of Indian culture, the first couple spent almost an hour at the monument of love and were briefed about the history and traditions associated with architectural marvel.
The tone was set as the dignitaries debarked at Agra’s Kheria airbase and found a giant billboard featuring Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and Prime Minister Modi greeted the couple with a message ''Grand welcome of India's best friend to the City of Love 'Agra".
The US president, first lady, their daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, arrived Agra from Ahmedabad to be received by Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Obviously, it couldn't have been a completely private moment for the first family of US given a multi-tier security blanket thrown around them and the authorities present to ensure a smooth visit of the dignitaries.
But the message Donald and Melania Trump left in the visitors' book apparently conveyed the feelings of the couple perhaps awestruck and delighted at being able to witness the immortal testimony of love in white.
The Taj Mahal, which was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal who died in 1631, was refurbished for the visit.
The US President's visit to Agra and Taj has generated huge excitement among local residents.
Some shops have even displayed their own banners, welcoming Trump to India.
From the Kheria airbase, the convoy of the VVIP guests with over 30 vehicles drove to Oberoi Amarvilas hotel near the Taj Mahal complex.
Over 15,000 school students had lined up both sides of the route with US and Indian flags in their
hands, cheered the US president as his motorcade passed by.
Massive billboards bearing greeting messages and pictures of Donald Trump, First Lady and PM Modi dotted the nearly 13-km convoy route as street roundabouts decked up with US and India flags symbolised the US-India friendship.
Extensive security arrangements with around 300 US security personnel and deployment of around 6,000 Indian security personnel, including 800 NSG and ATS commandos, in place for his Agra visit, and authorities had got the Taj Mahal premises cleared of visitors by noon, hours ahead of Trump's visit.
President Trump and the First Lady enjoyed the view of the Taj while posing for pictures for photographers.
The couple spent about an hour at Taj to catch the sunset from the UNESCO heritage site, before heading to Delhi.
(With PTI inputs)