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Where is the birthplace of love?

The museum with pearls of wisdom

Goa, Kamaveda, Agra, Taj Mahal, Inanna, Hathor, Eros, Eroticism, Aphrodite, Venus, Cupid, Homer, Mycenean

Further on we will reveal more modern love stories from India as we visit it, but let’s start with its greatest one. Simply turn your gaze to the majestic Taj Mahal as shown in the video above. Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, this magnificent monument is more than a mere architectural wonder. It’s a heartfelt tribute to his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal (for whom the Taj Mahal gets its name), who tragically passed away after giving birth to his 14th child, and her eleventh in 1631. It’s been said that Shah Jahan was so dedicated to the uniqueness of this monument, that he caused the craftsmen to be blinded post-completion, ensuring they could never recreate its beauty. Even though the veracity of this tale is uncertain, its appeal lies in its illustration of love’s powerful, albeit sometimes violent nature as the story has been repeated and accepted for centuries as an ideal love story. Let’s not get started on the legend of the Egyptian queen Cleopatra and her Roman suitors. Even the most enduring love story from one of our contenders, Greece, the Battle of Troy is quite violent. A ‘love story’ turned war story that is over 3000 years old tells the tale of a feuding Greece that united to fight to get one of their beloved Queens back, to her grieving husband, the king of Sparta. 

Let’s cast aside thoughts of strife and embark on a journey from New Delhi to the city of Agra (Agra currently has no international airport). Here, we’ll marvel at a majestic monument, a testament to a timeless love. Go ahead and capture this sublime moment for your Instagram feed; it’s picture-perfect.

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Shah Jahan holding his wife Mumtaz Mahal in his arms as she breathes her last breath AI illustration

'O Soul, thou art at rest. Return to the Lord at peace with Him, and He at peace with you'

Shah Jahan, born in 1592, is famed for his profound love for Mumtaz, a love so deep that it overshadows his other marriages. His affection for Mumtaz eclipses time, culture, and even the general norm for the wealthy of his faith at that time, of having multiple wives, many at the same time.  Despite Shah Jahan’s multiple marriages, his devotion to Mumtaz was always clear. She wasn’t merely his wife, but also his most trusted confidante, significantly influencing state affairs. On a personal level, and even more telling especially for the times was that the three children he had without her were after her death and before they met. When Mumtaz sadly passed away during childbirth in 1631, a heartbroken Shah Jahan immortalized his love for her by constructing the Taj Mahal. 

Their marriage in 1612 is often likened to a real-life fairytale. In his profound grief, he sought to honor their love with a monument, resulting in the creation of the magnificent Taj Mahal, a testament to their love and one of the Seven Modern Wonders of the World.  The embers of Shah Jahan’s love for Mumtaz continued to glow even after her demise. He spent the remainder of his life in grief, a poignant reflection of their deep emotional bond. When Shah Jahan joined her in the afterlife in 1666, he was laid to rest beside her in the Taj Mahal, symbolizing their eternal union in life and death.

Shah Jahan might be remembered as the ideal romantic, but to build his great monument he destroyed many Hindu temples for some of the materials used to build the great building and to build other mosques as well, in the name of promoting the values of his day. In all honesty how many historical or present-day figures are perfect? The answer is none. It is what it is, as it is in these imperfections that we can bond with these great figures.

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Shah Jahan, Mumtaz Mahal, Fairy Tale, O Soul, thou art at rest. Return to the Lord at peace with Him, and He at peace with you, Taj Mahal quote

Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai AI representation of best friends who are married

“I get to live with my best friend. I can talk to her about anything, any inane thing, like 'Someone scratched my car today' and she's there listening, saying, 'Umm.. Umm.”

Moving on in the story we will be spotlighting Goa as the modern place in India where love first ignites, and our first couple are Bollywood stars Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, a former Miss World who first met each other in Goa on their first “unofficial” date.  Marriage should be a union based on a mutual bond, but then money comes into play with the expensive wedding, the need to impress others with expensive flower arrangements, the best food, dresses, and lastly a ring that must have the biggest diamond as a showcase for one’s love. It’s a little like the Taj Mahal story, where love, was equated with a grand display of money and wealth.

The special thing about these two was how they got married. The proposal was planned, and the ring given by Abhishek to Aishwarya was a simple, cheap prop ring used in their movie ‘Guru’. No hoopla, no fuss, and no showcasing of their wealth to impress others. All they did was impress each other with something meaningful and personal to them. This was in 2007. Is it any wonder why they are still married today, despite any separation rumors? Even if they do get divorced now, 17 years of marriage as two celebrities is a long time.

In honor of being married to your best friend, we present this song by Freddie Mercury and Queen, although not Indian, Freddie was born into Jainism, which came from India so it’s a good excuse to play this song.

Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Miss World, Guru, You’re my best friend, Freddie Mercury, a relationship built on friendship

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adorable puppy

"Made a mistake but It's okay"

The Western concept of marriage, which is primarily based on Judeo-Christian beliefs, revolves around commitment, and staying together no matter the circumstances. This ideal reflects a value that transcends cultures. Consider the loyalty of a dog, a pet that many prefer over human companionship. Dogs remain faithful and trusting regardless of how they or others are treated. This level of trust is what we yearn for in human relationships, but it often feels elusive.  Unlike canine loyalty, trust in human relationships requires reciprocity—it has to go both ways. This element of mutual trust can make human relationships more complex and difficult. After all, your partner should be the one you trust the most, standing by your side through thick and thin. Otherwise, why even have a relationship?

This is why businessman Raj Kundra and actress-turned-businesswoman Shilpa Shetty make quite a pair. Despite the multiple scandals and accusations that have been thrown their way, they have remained unwavering in their support for each other since their marriage in 2009 after first meeting up, where else? in Goa. Hence why we are visiting Goa. 

Shilpa stands by Raj with a stoic resolve that isn’t easy to maintain in today’s society, where women are often urged to distance themselves from their husbands’ controversies. She lends her support unabashedly, even in the face of criticisms that could potentially damage her career. 

It’s interesting to note how observers sometimes misconstrue such loyalty. For instance, if we consider a dog’s loyalty, it’s generally admired. Yet when Shilpa displays similar steadfastness, she’s often under scrutiny, perhaps even considered weak. Raj too has stood by Shilpa through thick and thin. It’s a little easier for Raj though as popular opinion expects men to support their wives no matter what, but when the support reciprocates, it’s often questioned. This is the dynamic in our modern society.

Their journey, spanning over 14 years of togetherness, was public and under constant gaze. But it’s their unwavering dedication to each other that truly stands out. Even though they recently announced a separation, the strength of their past bond indeed deserves acknowledgment and praise. Moving forward we will showcase why Goa is the special meeting place where love is first ignited or cemented in today’s India.

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Shilpa Shetty, Raj Kundra, trust, loyalty, mutual trust, relationship

Have you ever wondered why Hollywood seldom showcases Goa as the premier honeymoon locale? Maybe you haven’t but we have because Hollywood absolutely should! It’s the Bollywood destination of choice, hence one area where the Indian film industry might be ahead of the curve. After all, isn’t the most ancient romance manual born out of India?

Just like this bustling nation, Goa serves as a vibrant reminder of the two worlds of India; The chaos and crowds since Goa is the spring break destination of choice, and the wonderfully quiet romantic side. That’s why we are guiding you to a quieter corner – the southern side of Goa, away from the hectic crowds, a sublime selection to celebrate the commencement of your wedded bliss. Renowned for its captivating shorelines, Goa, situated in India, truly stands as the ultimate gem of romantic destinations.

Honeymoon, romantic destination

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Goa is a tiny region in India, notable as the first colony of the Portuguese in the country. It returned to Indian rule in the 1960s after about 400 years under Portuguese influence. This different colonization background sets Goa apart from the rest of India, which largely reflects British influence, notably in architecture and urban planning. Now, why don’t we take a look at today’s Goa where the mix of modern designs and renaissance architecture harmoniously integrates the essence of both the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean?

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Goan Architecture, Portuguese Architecture, Portugal, Barbie, Indian Barbie

Professional cameraman taking pictures of vacationers in Goa, India AI

When you’re traveling as a couple and want lifelong memories, is your cell phone the answer? Interestingly enough, a professional photographer has decided that the ultimate honeymoon spot requires a professional photographer, and why not? Think about it, you already have thousands of pictures you never look at on your phone, so why not keep a few memorable ones online or in an actual photo album?

Selfie, Professional photographer

Goa, renowned for its delightful fusion of Portuguese and Indian cultures, mirrors this mix in its unique cuisine. We’re about to share an exclusive recipe with you – a traditional Goan curry paste is perfect for any fish dish. It’s teeming with tropical ingredients that you won’t find in your everyday Indian curry. Enjoy. One of the best places to enjoy this delicacy is at Gunpowder in Assagao. This restaurant is known for its authentic Goan cuisine, and its Goan curry is a must-try. The restaurant is set in a beautiful Portuguese house, adding to the overall dining experience.

Goan curry, Gunpowder restaurant, Assagao

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Institute of Archaeology (Inanna), Journal of Ancient Near East Religions (Hathor), Human Ecology (Kamaveda), GIA (Shah Jahan), Taj Mahal.gov, Times of India (Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai), The Indian Express (Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty), Encyclopedia Britannica (Goa)

All images are AI-generated using Fotor and are meant to describe the subject matter they portray figuratively, not factually.

Couch Potato Travel - India honeymoon tour

Dabolim, Dabolim airport, Agonda Beach, South Goa, Panaji, North Goa, New Delhi

India showing the province of Goa and the location of Agra
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