On New Year’s Day last year, my Mother and I were lucky enough to spend the day wandering around the magnificent Taj Mahal.
Located around a 4 hour drive/train journey from Delhi, this white marble mausoleum stands proudly in the city of Agra, Uttar Pradesh.
Built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahanin in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, between 1632 and 1653, the Taj Mahal is a masterpiece of complete and utter beauty, love and splendor.
Whether you decide to visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise, sunset or during the day, due to pollution laws, you must buy your tickets (750/- approximately £8 per person – BARGAIN) at a ticket office on the outskirts of the Taj. From there, you can walk or, hop onto an electric bus, which will take you to one of the many entrances, where your journey into Mughal history, breathtaking architecture and selfie taking with locals (I’m talking, with every single Indian man, woman and family…), will begin.
Included in the price of your ticket, you are given a bottle of water, some shoe covers and the option of having a tour guide.
Although the idea of having a tour guide may be off putting, if you haven’t researched the history, the intricate detail or the different sections of the Taj Mahal, and are willing to pay a small tip, then it is definitely worth the small hassle… and on the plus side, your guide can also take your obligatory ‘we went to the Taj Mahal’ group photos for you…
My Mother and I opted to go without a tour guide, simply because I had used one on my first visit and, because of this, convinced my Mum that I could impart the same Taj wisdom as the guides.
In reality, I was slightly hungover and reciting my Lonely Planet…
However, despite myyyyyyy not so great guidance, we soon found ourselves approaching the large terracotta coloured gate, which stood between us and the Taj Mahal.
Excited, apprehensive and intrigued… we made our way through.
It felt like a surreal mirage. The crisp green gardens, the sensational symmetry, the iridescent water fountains, which give you an increased sense of illusion – and the white marble Taj Mahal. Standing tall on its opalescent podium. In all its glory…
The Taj Mahal is seeped in such love and grandeur, it is no wonder (see what I’ve done there…) it’s one of the Great Wonders of Our World.
Facts and advice about the Taj Mahal:
– When going through the arch, which leads to the Taj Mahal, dip your head until you are half way through the archway and look up… you won’t believe your eyes!
– The Taj Mahal is elevated off of the ground so that it only has the sky as a backdrop.
– If you place a torch against the semi-precious stones inside the Taj Mahal, they glow.
– If you are a tourist, when you are queuing to view the tomb inside the Taj, it is likely that the guards will push you in front of the locals to go in.
– It is closed on Fridays.