'Wah Taj' for Trumps: US President arrives in Agra to a boisterous welcome
Agra, Feb 24: US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania arrived in Agra on Monday to keep their date with the Taj Mahal even as hundreds of artistes welcomed the American leader at the airport with beautiful performances reflecting the rich culture of Uttar Pradesh.
Trump was received at the Kheria airbase by Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. He arrived here from Ahmedabad after jointly attending with Prime Minister Narendra Modi the mega 'Namaste Trump' event at the Motera cricket stadium.
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'.
On his arrival at the airbase, over 250 artistes drawn from different parts of Uttar Pradesh performed 'Mayur dance', 'Rai folk dance', Dhobia folk dance', 'bamrasia' dance as sonorous sounds of nagada, dholak and mridang added to the festive ambience. The city has been spruced up to welcome Trump amid a huge security deployment.
Massive billboards bearing greeting messages dotted the nearly 13-km route of his convoy while major street roundabouts are decked up with US and India flags. Along the route, over 3,000 artistes spread over 21 designated designated areas will also present dance forms of Brij, Awadh and other regions, like Krishna Lila. Over 15,000 school students are lining up the streets on the convoy route, holding US and India flags to welcome Trump as his motorcade will pass through the city. Many billboards reflecting the bonhomie between President Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been put up in Agra.
A giant one near TDI Mall on the route practically covers an entire building showing the two leaders with a message - 'Namaste Trump: World's Oldest Democracy meets Worlds' Largest Democracy'. The 17th century monument has been refurbished to welcome Trump and his family where they will spend about an hour to catch the sunset from the famed mausoleum built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal who died in 1631.
"From the airport, the US President's convoy will travel till the Oberoi Amarvilas hotel situated near the East Gate of the Taj Mahal complex. From there the President, his family and members of the high-level delegation accompanying him will move into eco-friendly golf carts to travel into the monument premises," District Magistrate of Agra Prabh N Singh earlier said, adding about 20 golf carts will ferry them.
As per Supreme Court directions, petrol or diesel-operated vehicles are not permitted within 500 metres of the Taj Mahal's gate. 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.