Visiting the Taj Mahal
You are on a trip in India, and ask yourself whether if and why should you visit the Taj Mahal? Read the next post..
So, you are on a trip in India (or maybe planning one right now) and you ask yourself if you should visit the Taj Mahal, or just skip it..? well, this is a know exertion.. I’ve asked myself the same question while I was traveling in India.
Few facts and more info about the Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered as one of most beautiful buildings in the world. The building of this spectacular building took more than 23 years, with about 20,000 workers and many myths about the caesar and the architect.
- Taj Mahal construction completed in 1653
- 330 years later in 1983, Taj Mahal designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Every year more than 7.5 million people are visiting the place (in 2000 this number estimated “ONLY” as 2 million!!)
- In 1942 the Indian government had to scaffold the building in order to disguise the building and protect it from attacks of the Japanese Air Force.
For more background and the full story of the Taj Mahal I recommend this National Geographic movie:
How to get to the Taj Mahal:
The Taj is located in Agra, which is in Uttar Pradesh and it takes about 3 hours getting Agra by train from New Delhi (of-course it depends on the train route and stops). You better order a train ticket as soon as you can, because this train route in popular one and the tickets are getting all sold quite fast.
TIP: There are some reserved seats for tourists in the train (I don’t know if it’s for every destination or just Agra..) which you can book them in the Delhi train station, level 1. Do not(!) listen to strangers telling you the office is closed or any other story.. they are just trying to take you to their agency and rip you with astronomical prices.
Now to the point..
For many tourists visiting the Taj Mahal is in top priority of their trip, and sometimes the only place they are visiting.. I think that if you are going to India just to see the Taj Mahal you better stay home.. India has much more to give tourists than just seeing this huge building.
When I was in India, I was traveling about 2 months in north India, so I could allow myself to “reserve” one day at the end of my trip, and go see the Taj Mahal. If I was traveling for a shorter period I think that most of the chances I would give up about visiting this place.
Visiting the Taj Mahal requires almost a full day, why? getting there and back takes more than 7 hours (after the train or bus you have to take a rickshaw), before entering the place itself you have to pass through a place (about 10 minutes from the Taj) and leave ALL your belonging at lockers, don’t forget anything in your pockets since (Just for example, I had to give up on my camera tripod which is no bigger than 10 cm).
It’s too crowded..
No matter at what time you are planning to get there, you probably find yourself with many people around you, but don’t give up for this reason.
My suggestion is to visit there on the sunset or the sunrise, these are the times with the least visitors (even I would avoid staying a night there at any price), so when you are taking a photo don’t expect being alone in the frame.. and if you are blond you’ll get pictured more times than the building itself that’s India..
It’s so beautiful
Let’s face it, it is fascinating place despite the cons is wrote.. If you are lucky to be there while it’s not that crowded with people, you’ll enjoy for sure since this building is really impressive.
You should consider hiring a professional guide (Certified one.. not these tourist traps that you’ll get nothing), because the story behind this place is even more fascinating.. So it’s waste of time just visiting there without getting the story and the facts of this place.
I hope you didn’t get wrong impression by me that I don’t recommend visiting the Taj Mahal. The point of this post is just getting you know the things you have to face with while getting there. It’s indeed amazing place, which I would recommend visiting if you have enough time in India. I wouldn’t go to India or Delhi only for this purpose.. I think it’s missing the point of seeing the real India.
Few tips if you decide to visit the Taj Mahal:
- If you are going Agra by Train – Book it early.
- Try avoiding staying a night in Agra, it has nothing else to offer you.
- Get there early in the morning, this time you will find it the least crowded.
- If you are booking a day trip in a travel agency do it in Delhi, only from recommended agency. I don’t see the point booking these kinds of trips from a really far place, like Mumbai..
- Remember to leave your things (except for the camera and wallet) at the locker, if you are not sure what is allowed to enter, ask them!
- Visit the Taj Mahal website for more information
- The Most important – Have Fun and enjoy it!
Did you visit the Taj Mahal? Tell me do you think about it?