Jill Biden Spellbound by Beautiful Taj, Also Visits Slum in Agra

Dr. Jill Biden at Taj Mahal

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New Delhi – Jill Biden, accompanying her husband US Vice President Joe Biden on his six-day maiden tour of India, expressed her desire to revisit the Taj Mahal after paying a brief visit on Tuesday (July 23).

Spellbound by its beauty, Jill Biden felt that her 45 minute tour was too brief and said she will visit the Taj Mahal again to spend more time to enjoy its beauty.

As she entered the site, she paused for a few moments in front of the imposing white marble complex. Then she took a tour of the monument, accompanied by two guides, Shamsuddin Khan and Barun Rawat, who gave her the finer details about the monument. Much impressed by the magnificent monument, she touched the walls to feel the intricate marble carving.

“It is quite amazing. It is so beautiful. We took a drive of three hours to come here and it is so worth it. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the World,” Jill Biden was quoted as saying by the semi-official Indian news agency PTI.

Dressed in all blue, Jill Biden was accompanied by her daughter Ashley Biden and son-in-law Dr. Howard David Krein.

Jill Biden was not satisfied by the 45 minute visit, according to her guide, Khan. “She said this is a brief visit and she is not satisfied. She would like to come again and will give a detailed visit to Taj Mahal,” the guide told PTI.

Built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal has attracted millions of visitors, including celebrities from across the world.

Earlier in the day, the slum dwellers of Kachhpura near the Taj Mahal were excited to have US Second Lady Jill Biden as their VIP visitor, who spent nearly an hour with them.

Known for her interest in education and healthcare issues, Biden braved the sultry weather and walked nearly a third of a mile on an unpaved mud road to reach the location. She was accompanied by her daughter Ashley Biden and son-in-law Howard David Krein. Her visit to Kachhpura was to take stock of the Health for the Urban Poor program, funded by USAID (United States Agency for International Development), which seeks to provide basic healthcare to the urban poor, with a focus on maternal health and community participation.

The visiting group was greeted by Machla Devi, president of Adarsh Mahila Arogra Samity, the group’s secretary, Manju, and other members. Adarsh Mahila Arogra Samity is a group of local women who are working to raise awareness among women and children about basic health-related issues.

After interacting with the members she visited the preschool, the Anganwadi Center, and met children there.

Biden, a Ph.D. in education who has been an educator for over two decades, brought a special gift for the children — a basket full of books, including coloring books, story books and a book on the White House.

Jill Biden interacted with the employees about their work in the community center and on maternal and healthcare programs run by the center. She also gave two drops of polio vaccine to a six week old baby girl. Her son-in-law Howard asked about vaccination programs run in India and Biden also inquired about the nearest delivery center for pregnant women in the area.

Kachhpura is one of 46 slums in Agra where the Health for Urban Poor program is conducted. A settlement from the Mughal empire era, it was declared a slum in 1998. Half of the population of approximately 3200 people are involved in shoemaking, while the rest are engaged in other occupations, such as farming and dairy.

As the visitors head to Mumbai, Jill Biden will be participating in a health and nutrition event in the Thane district and a gender-based violence event at DILASA in the Bhabha hospital to learn how this one-stop crisis center is using global best practices to serve victims of gender-based violence.

Also in Mumbai, Jill Biden will participate in a girls education event at the Anjuman-il-Islam School for Girls, stop by an English class, take a tour, and then give brief remarks at an assembly about the importance of education and the opportunities that education can provide to young girls.

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