French President Nicolas Sarkozy fulfilled his long-cherished dream on Saturday evening. He visited the Taj Mahal, the 17th century monument to love, with wife Carla Bruni.
Apparently impatient for the Taj viewing, Sarkozy rushed to the historic monument with Carla almost immediately after landing in Agra from Bangalore.
The French president was scheduled to visit the Taj on Sunday morning, but changed the programme suddenly to late Saturday afternoon.
The French first couple spent about half an hour at the Taj Mahal.
The Central Industrial Security Force had sealed the whole area and tourists were asked to vacate the premises.
After arriving from Bangalore, Sarkozy spent only a few minutes in hotel Amar Vilas and rushed to keep his date with the Taj Mahal, with Carla in tow.
He had promised himself during his January 2008 visit that he would return to the Taj with Carla, who was then not his wife.
Senior district officials were present at the Eastern Gate of the Taj Mahal and the whole area from the Kheria airport to the hotel Amar Vilas was sealed.
Media persons and photographers had a tough time getting a glimpse of the VVIP couple. Some, however, managed to install TV cameras on the terraces and rooftop restaurants of some hotels in the Taj Ganj area.
Because of the Supreme Court directives, night viewing of the Taj is not allowed. The Taj remains open for four days around full moon.
"The chances are that he would return to see the Taj at leisure early Sunday morning," a tourist guide said. Sunday, the Sarkozys are scheduled to visit Fatehpur Sikri.