If you’re an Indian resident and haven’t seen the Taj Mahal yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. Trust me, I have been there twice and every time it has been nothing short of a surreal experience to say the least. Everyone has heard of the basic Taj Mahal details, namely the fact that it is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and also that the Taj Mahal India was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as the mausoleum for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.
This incredibly designed monument goes back all the way to 1630 and now that your questions have already been answered about who built Taj Mahal, you will be awestruck to know that the construction of this labour of love required 22 years and 20,000 workers. The main architect of Taj Mahal is widely regarded as the chief architect in Shah Jahan’s own court, Isa Khan or Ustad Ahmad. He may have also been the architect for Delhi’s imposing Red Fort as well. As to where is Taj Mahal, it is located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh which is roughly 200 km away from the National Capital and is a part of the Golden Triangle circuit for tourists which you have probably heard about.
My experience of the Taj Mahal
The first sighting of the Taj is always worth it, something of a Wah Taj moment! It makes all the crowds and lines and scrambling about for tickets worth it for sure! I was just lost in the sheer architectural beauty and splendour of the Taj Mahal, the pristine reflection pool, the lovely fountains and the soothing interiors which are another treat to behold. It’s not just about the craftsmanship, the flowing Yamuna nearby, the surreal ambience and the calming marble.
It’s also about experiencing a pit in the stomach, of reminiscing about the story behind the creation of this global masterpiece that will forever keep India on the map as far as tourism is concerned and of course, about appreciating the bygone times and their architectural, creative, cultural and romantic expertise if I may use that term! I spent an entire day just sitting at the Taj Mahal after exploring it inside out on my first visit, other attractions in Agra were simply forgotten. The whole ambience is something I cannot explain in words. You have to see it to believe it! Of course, with the daylight changing its own hues, the monument also appears to be changing colour, something that is absolutely amazing. Coming here at sunrise or dusk is another treat altogether.
Things To Know Before Visiting The Taj Mahal
I visited the Taj Mahal in December which is apparently a good time on my second visit. The best time to go is anywhere between November and February or else you will not like the heavy rainfall or unbearably hot weather. You can visit the Taj Mahal on a day’s trip from New Delhi. Agra also has a good railway network with the Agra Cantonment Station being linked by trains from Delhi and several other cities.
I loved the drive down the Yamuna Expressway from Delhi and traveling time has come down to a maximum of 3 hours or even less. There are also buses which leave from Anand Vihar every day. The Taj Mahal remains open between 6 AM and 7 PM every day. The only exception is Friday since it remains closed for prayers. The night viewing timings on full moon nights is between 8.30 PM and 12.30 AM for 5 days. This does not happen during Ramadan. You will have to pay up the entry fee which is Rs. 50 if you are a resident of the country and it is free for children below the age of 15 years. You can buy tickets online or at the offices situated in proximity to the entry gates.
What else to know?
Vehicles are not allowed to come within 500 metres of the monument on account of pollution related concerns. The entry gates are West, South and East. There are stringent security provisions and your bags will be undergoing scanning. You cannot take day packs or big bags inside. Other items that are forbidden include electrical items like headphones, chargers, torches and camera tripods. You can carry a camera, cell phone and water bottle only. Edibles are not allowed along with lighters, tobacco products and so on.
What are you waiting for? Book your tickets and come visit the pride of India, the Taj Mahal, in all its splendour. The sheer essence and magic of the Taj Mahal is neatly summed up by the calligraphy on the Great Gate. This says (translation) – O Soul, Thou Art at Rest. Return to the Lord at Peace with Him, And He at Peace With You.
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