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|Monday, January 15, 2001, updated at 08:09(GMT+8)|
Li Peng Visits Ancient Indian CapitalChinese top legislator Li Peng and his wife Zhu Lin on Sunday toured ancient Indian capital Agra, where the world famous Taj Mahal and Agra Fort were situated.
Some 200 km to the southeast of New Delhi, Agra was the capital of two of India's most powerful Mughal emperors in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Taj Mahal, a mausoleum built by emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, was reputed as one of the world's seven wonders, while the ancient imperial palace Agra Fort boasts a history of nearly 400 years.
"Both China and India have a long history, splendid cultures and rich historical and cultural heritages, and should enhance exchange and cooperation in the cultural area to add impetus to the development of friendly relations between the two countries," said Li, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress who is on a week-long official goodwill visit to India, during his tour.
Li and his entourage arrived in Agra from Delhi at around noon Sunday by a special aircraft and were warmly received by local officials.
The Chinese leader then went to the Taj Mahal, almost a must for foreign visitors to India. Marveling at the splendor of the architecture, whose construction took 22 years with some 20,000 laborers working every day, Li listened carefully to the explanations by the mausoleum manager and frequently asked for more detailed information.
Speaking highly of the Taj Mahal, Li called it "a mausoleum in typical Islamic style" which boasts distinct architectural flavor and excellent artistic work. It was really a great enjoyment to visit the place, he added.
At the end of his visit to Taj Mahal, Li wrote inscriptions which read: "Great Architecture, Splendid Culture."
During his tour of the Agra Fort on the west bank of the Jamuna river, Li was particularly impressed that the architecture was
preserved so well after hundreds of years of vicissitudes.
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