TAJ MAHAL: A GUIDE
Dwelling on the crossroad of history and perpetuity is an inimitable masterpiece that ornaments Agra. Taj Mahal UNESCO’s World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of the World need no introduction. Still, this epitome of grace in Uttar Pradesh has given its testimony of love time and again.
Come walk through its geometric gardens only to land on an architectural marvel that’s jeweled with precious stones and decked up in Islamic motifs. Dive deeper into its tattle tales that are capable of taking you to the forgotten times. This amazing travel destination may be the enigma of proximity to some. For others, it’s that one thing to do in India that you really cannot miss on.
Are you planning a trip to Taj Mahal too? Then, here is your ultimate travel guide that will be your one true companion. So, give it a read already!
Taj Mahal was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in the span of 10 years as a memorial of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. Wondering why it is called the ultimate paragon of love? Well, that’s because the tomb of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal resides side-by-side inside this beauteous mausoleum till date. But that’s not all! Shah Jahan made sure that the world never forgets his love for his wife. How did he do that? By making a one of a kind architectural marvel that’s second to none.
History has it that it was a great deal to built a structure so grand and so big at that time. The estimated cost of the Taj Mahal was about 25 million then. Moreover, more than 20,000 artisans worked night and day to erect this structure. These numbers not only include artisans from the empire but many workmen from Iran as well. Whoa! That’s a dedicated husband right there!
Finding Taj Mahal on the map of India is never a problem. Well, it’s the jeweled crown of the nation, what else to expect? As for the location, Taj was built on a parcel of land to the south of Agra on the banks of Yamuna. The location is such that the structure is easily visible from the Agra Fort and is also able to commute water from the Yamuna River. It may sound a little weird, but history doesn’t give enough credit to the location of this monument. Why is it important you ask? Well, that’s because it is the perfect portrayal of the finesse of Indian architectural skills.
HOW TO GET THERE?
Accessibility isn’t a problem with Taj Mahal. You can reach this marvel via air, roads, train and what not. Just finalize what suits your travel plan and get going. Want us to elaborate? Here you go!
By Air: Agra does have a domestic airport, which is easily accessible from Delhi. If you are a foreign traveler and want to avoid the chaos on the roads and on trains, this is the best option for you. Thank us later, maybe?
Via Train: Agra is the nearest railway station. So, if you want to experience the services of Indian Railways, then this is your way to go!
Note: Make sure you book your ride in advance from the IRCTC website because finding train tickets instantaneously is quite a task.
By Road: Agra is connected to every possible city you can ever think of. So just hit the road and vroom your way to this Indian kaleidoscope.
WHEN TO VISIT
Taj Mahal is a pristine beauty that is capable of outshining any holiday itinerary regardless of the month you travel. Still, skeptical whether or not you will be able to handle the heat of this tropical country? Then, we suggest visiting this eternal piece of craftsmanship between November and February. The temperature is pleasant during the day and is soothing in the night at this time. Trust us, it’s the best time to visit Taj Mahal and enjoy the zenith of its glory without getting to face the scorching heat of the region. Woohoo!
Visiting Taj Mahal on the timeless Golden Triangle tour? Then, your trip is sorted. If your answer is no then also don’t worry! Taj Mahal welcomes every travel soul with open hands. That’s why the spectrum of its opening hours ranges from sunrise to sunset. However, you will have to wait thirty minutes after the sunrise to receive your entry tickets. Well, that’s nothing in front of the timeless edifice you’ll get to visit, isn’t it?
Note: Disclaimer! Taj Mahal is closed on every Friday for tourists and travelers. Other than that, it will be open every day.
Shh! Insider information
Do you want to enjoy the absolutely blissful eye-shots of the edifice minus the crowd? Then, make sure you reach the entry gate by 6:00 AM. It will be a little foggy, but totally worth it.
If you thought a visit to this monumental marvel will cost you a fortune, then, you are wrong. Surprisingly, a trip to Taj Mahal is a decent deal. Here are the charges for your entry into this magical world.
*Additional for visiting main mausoleum (Optional)
|1100 + 200 (INR)|
15.34 + 2.88 (USD)
|Citizens of SAARC and BIMSTEC Countries|
*Additional for visiting main mausoleum (Optional)
|540 + 200 (INR)|
7.78+ 2.88 (USD)
*Additional for visiting main mausoleum (Optional)
|50 + 200 (INR)|
GETTING TICKETS! THE ACTUAL HASSLE
Are you planning to buy tickets on the spot? Then, there are two locations you should be looking for.
- Western gate near Saheli Burj.
- Taj Mahal’s Eastern gate.
Timings: one hour before sunrise up to 45 minutes before sunset.
Do you want to save yourself from this hassle on your iconic trip to India? Then, book your tickets online at “asi.payumoney.com”. Firstly, it will save you from the chaotic lines at ticket counters. Also, you will be able to enjoy the rest of your time in Agra without worrying. Works like magic, count on us for that.
- Booking your ticket online? Hooray! You’ve got yourself a discount (INR 5 for domestic tourists and INR 50 for foreign tourists).
- Do you have a child that is under the age of 15? Then, no need to buy a ticket for them as their entry is absolutely free. Quite a bargain, isn’t it?
Want to avoid all the hassle and enjoy a luxury tour in Agra? Then, isn’t it better to plan this tour via a travel agency that is there for you at every time? Yes? Then, How about giving The Grand Indian Route a chance? We are forever ready to help. So, request a quote here, we are waiting!
WHAT ELSE TO SEE?
Agra beyond Taj Mahal
AGRA FORT – The exhibit of valor
Entry fee: 40 INR for Indian citizens and 500 INR (7.2 USD) for foreign tourists.
Artistically capturing Emperor Akbar’s obsession with red sandstone, Agra Fort stands tall as one of the most robust UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are harmonic vibrations in every nook and cranny here singing the songs of the glory of Mughal Era. Nestled between its boundaries are palaces, temple, and mosques that are out on display for its visitors.
Do you have a knack for architecture? Then, you are going to get starstruck with the number of artistic pleasures you will come across here. Want some perfect pictures for the gram? Then, each direction will narrate a different story for your shots. Just wish over the travel stars and dive deeper into its history with your tour guide. Enjoy!
Note: Whenever in Agra Fort, do visit the following:
- Ruins of the Akbar’s Palace
- Akbar’s Bengali Mahal
- Shahjahani Mahal
- Khas Mahal
- Babur’s Baoli
TOMB OF ITIMAD-UD-DAULAH- The inspiration behind Taj Mahal
Entry fee: 30 INR for Indian citizens and 310 INR (4.48 USD) for foreign tourists.
Ditching the stereotype of sandstone mausoleums is this very first ivory-white mausoleum built by the queen of Jahangir, Noor Jahan. It is the first of its kind and the inspiration behind Taj.
If you are a fan of marble mosaics or Islamic-style architecture in general, spending a peaceful evening under its patronage is awe-inspiring. So, what are you waiting for?
FATEHPUR SIKRI- The winning shrine
Entry fee: 50 INR for Indian citizens and 600 INR (8.67 USD) for foreign tourists
Fatehpur Sikri is an amazing travel destination which is an hour away from Agra. Known for its spiritual splendor, Fatehpur Sikri is the blaze of light on any Golden Triangle tour itinerary.
It is probably the only Mughal city/complex that has taken inspirations from Hindu and Jain architecture. Some of its eye-popping attractions are:
- Buland Darwaza
- Jama Masjid
- Tomb of Salim Chisti
- Ibadat Khana (House of Worship)
- Panch Mahal,
- Birbal’s house
- Hiran Minar
Jodha Bai Ka Rauza-Palace of the empress
Jodha’s Palace is a breath of fresh air on Agra travel. It is the only structure of the Mughal period built in Agra that flaunts the absolute craftsmanship of Gujarati and Rajasthani architectural style. Here, elegance oozes out of every nook and cranny and any explanation on its ambiance can be called an understatement. So, what makes the most sense is to pay it a visit, don’t you think?
SIKANDRA FORT- A dive into Emperor Akbar’s heart
Entry fee: 15 INR for Indian citizens and 110 INR (1.59 USD) for foreign tourists.
Breathe in history at one of the most revered structures built by Emperor Akbar. Its glory is such that it houses the tomb of its own creator. This masterpiece of Akbar’s imagination flaunts the traits of his own personality. So, if you are a history buff who is in complete awe of the Mughal Era, then, this is the place you will remember for life.
IMPORTANT TIPS FOR TAJ MAHAL TRAVEL
Traveling to Taj Mahal comes with the perks of getting to witness the most amazing structural pieces of human creation. So, chances are that you will not want to mess up your experience, isn’t it? Although we are sure you will be cautious, prepping you is the most we can do. So, here are some travel tips to Taj Mahal.
- Arrive early! We have stated it multiple times and we are doing it again. Reach there as early as possible and definitely before 9ish.
- Dress modestly. Don’t worry; there is no stated dress code. However, dressing modestly will save you from the unnecessary stares. The final call is yours!
- Book your ticket online! It is the easiest way to dodge the difficulties that are coming between you and Taj.
- Enter from the East gate. It is less crowded and will be nearer from your hotel.
- Capture snaps from the virtue of Yamuna River. It bestows the best of views for free. Isn’t that a win-win already!?
- Take your chances and try capturing Taj in the best way possible. No doubt, it will be crowded at almost all times, but don’t let it bother your perfect shot, okay?
THE MANDATORY LIST OF DO’S AND DON’TS
1. Are you hiring a tour guide? Well then, make sure they have their valid identity cards. It’s for your own safety peeps!
2. Taj Mahal can be best enjoyed in the most organic way possible. So, avoid taking big bags and stuff that you will think you will need but won’t. It will only increase the timing of your security check, nothing else.
- If you own a drone, then, it’s better to leave it back home because in any case it won’t be allowed in the complex.
- Have expensive gadgets? Leave them in your luggage, locked inside your hotel room. Just bring your cameras or one essential gadget that you will require at all time. Well, losing something expensive is the last thing you will want from the trip, right?
- Keep your mobile phones switched off or in silent mode inside the mausoleum.
- Keep your voices low or don’t speak at all inside the mausoleum.
- Don’t click any picture inside the structure.
- Cover your head when inside the mausoleum.
- Try not to litter the monument and make sure you make a clean visit.