Discover the beauty of visiting the Taj Mahal and explore one of India’s most iconic sights. A monument to love.
The Taj Mahal is an iconic symbol of love and beauty, and for centuries people have been making the pilgrimage to India to witness its splendor. Visiting the Taj Mahal is an unforgettable experience that will stay with you forever, it’s so captivating that you won’t be able to say goodbye. You’ll find yourself mesmerized by its stunning design and intricate details, all while taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Let’s find out why in this article.
- A bit of history about the Taj Mahal
- How to buy tickets to see the Taj Mahal?
- Entering the Taj Mahal
- How was visiting the Taj Mahal?
- Leaving the Taj Mahal
- Farewell to the Taj Mahal
One of the Seven New Wonders of the World, we could finally see the Taj Mahal. The most representative monument of India. We were ready to visit it, here we tell you everything.
A bit of history about the Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is a huge funerary monument built in honor of Mumtaz Mahal who was the favorite wife of the Muslim Emperor Shah Jahan. The palace combines elements of Islamic, Persian, Indian and even Turkish architecture.
Mumtaz Mahal passed away in 1631 when she was giving birth to her fourteenth child (yes, the 14th) and in 1632 the emperor began construction of the mausoleum. 24 years later, shortly after finishing the work, Shah Jahan fell ill and his son Shah Shuja declared himself emperor, his other sons did the same in neighboring regions. When his father, already very ill, surrendered to the attacks of his sons, they allowed him to stay alive under house arrest, which he served in the nearby Agra fort.
Legend has it that he spent the rest of his days looking out of the window at the Taj Mahal and, after his death in 1666, his son entombed him in the mausoleum next to his wife. This generated the only break in the perfect symmetry of the set. Legend has it that after finishing this architectural work, the emperor had the workers’ hands cut off so that another similar work would never be seen.
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The origin of the name of the Taj Mahal
The word Taj means “Crown” in Persian. Mahal is a short variant of Mumtaz Mahal. Taj Mahal, then, refers to the crown of Mahal.
In 1983, it was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
How to buy tickets to see the Taj Mahal?
Tickets were bought at an office far from the venue, our hotel was just opposite. We tried to buy tickets the day before, but couldn’t. This was in 2017, it seems that in 2023 they can finally be bought online and how better because that way you would not go through the ordeal that we went through.
We bought the tickets in person, and it was somewhat difficult, here I will tell you: to enter the venue first thing in the morning. We went at 6 AM to buy the tickets, there was some line but not much and the window had not yet opened. If you see the first photo, you might believe, as we did, that we could purchase our tickets quickly. Mistake.
When the window opened, the place was in chaos and the group organizers (who spoke the local language) were jumping in everywhere and passing by. One had to push and pray for our “pseudo-line” to advance. It was maddening. I think we stayed there for about an hour and when we finally got out with our tickets we went like lightning to the gate of the venue.
Taj Mahal visiting hours: open 30 minutes before sunrise and closed 30 minutes before sunset. On Fridays, it is closed.
Cost: 1,100 rupees to enter the venue plus 200 if you want to visit the mausoleum (if you’re already there, take everything).
You can also take a Private Taj Mahal and Agra fort tour
Entering the Taj Mahal
We arrived, and the line was divided not into 2 but into 4: men and women, but also divided into “locals and foreigners” in each category. After a while, we were finally able to enter. A macaque met us at the door.
How was visiting the Taj Mahal?
Monuments like this are seen thousands of times in magazines, on the internet, on television. But nothing compares to walking through the door and seeing it face to face. That yes, it is necessary to make abstraction of the lot of people that there are besides one (on this occasion our strategies to avoid the hordes here could not be applied).
What is the best time to visit the Taj Mahal to avoid crowds?
As you can see in the pictures, for us, there were already people when we arrived, and we enter quite early. But we lost a lot of time at the ticket counter.
So, my advice on the best time to go and visit the Taj Mahal that will help you to avoid the crowd the most possible is to go even earlier to buy your ticket (in case you cannot buy it online), and make the line in a way that you can enter just at sunrise.
Sunrise is the best time to visit the Taj Mahal, as even if we had crowds entering at 7 AM, as time passes, the place becomes even more full of people. We could see it when leaving, it was even more crowded, and in the afternoon also, we saw it from the garden that is on the other side of the river, just before sunrise and it was full of people.
Contemplating it for a while
Upon arrival, we took over a small bench and took several photos. And we stayed there looking at it for a while. When I made the plan to travel to India, I was unaware that the site was undergoing conservation works. I later saw photos and was afraid that the upper bulb was covered. Luckily, only one minaret was full of scaffolding.
And of course, I couldn’t resist taking the classic photo of the Taj…
Entering the mausoleum
To enter the mausoleum, they give us some kind of socks that cover the shoes. When you enter you are not allowed to take pictures, but hey, apart from the wall that is beautiful with flowers carved in the marble, inside are the tombs and that’s it (well at least that’s what we saw).
In any case, I was still more impressed by what I saw outside.
After seeing the interior, we stayed for a while at the back of the monument, the part that faces the river. We stayed, admiring the marble, the minarets, the birds, the people passing by. A quiet moment.
The fauna of the Taj Mahal
At the beginning of the article you already saw the welcoming macaque and the birds, but there is more, more fauna in the Taj Mahal. While we were looking around at the back of the enclosure, we came across green parrots, a raptor that was prized, and a kingfisher of an enviable turquoise blue. Further on we came across an adorable grated squirrel.
A fauna that gives life to the place and reminds us that nature is the one that rules.
The Symmetrical Mosques
A Muslim monument of this size, and even more so being a mausoleum, could not be devoid of a mosque. Sure, the mosque as it should be: looking towards Mecca. But what to do if you are looking for the perfect symmetry? Well, another mosque was built on the opposite side. Only that it cannot function as such, since it is not oriented as it should. The conclusion is that the second mosque is “for decoration” for “symmetry”.
Anyway, the photos that are achieved from inside are very nice (traveling trivia).
Oh, and in case you had any doubts, yes, Friday is closed to the public because Friday prayers are held there. Obviously, they are only done in the mosque that points in the right direction.
Leaving the Taj Mahal
It was almost 10 AM, we had spent nearly three hours in the place and when we started to leave we had the same view as when we entered, only something had changed. That something was the light, wow, it made a big difference. I mean, we had heard that the light of sunrise or sunset was the best to see the Taj Mahal, but there is no better way to see it to confirm it.
After visiting the Taj Mahal, you can take a Free walking tour of Agra
Oh, and of course, I couldn’t miss watching the people who, like me, took the classic photo with the Taj (that is, doing the pose holding the tip).
They reminded me of the tourists who did the same, but in the Tower of Pisa.
And every time we took a step closer to the exit, I looked back. I wanted to keep seeing the Taj Mahal, I wanted to treasure it in my retina forever.
For a moment, I was like Shah Jahan who did not want to stop looking at the monument, although surely for different reasons. And when it came to a point where we turned around, and I wouldn’t see it anymore when I looked back, I stayed a while looking at it for what, I thought, would be the last time.
It would not be the last time that I would see it, we would continue visiting Agra, and we would see the Taj Mahal often during the day, but it would be the last time that I would have it this close.
Farewell to the Taj Mahal
In conclusion, the Taj Mahal is a must-see for anyone looking for an unforgettable experience in India. From its iconic architecture and intricate details to its rich history and spiritual significance, it is one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring places in the world.
Visiting the Taj Mahal will leave you with lasting memories that you will never forget. Whether it’s a romantic getaway or a family trip, this majestic mausoleum offers something special for everyone.
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