The Taj Mahal is one of the best places I have ever visited, merely due to its sheer elegance. It has beauty, history, architecture, and thus something for everyone to look at. It is a type of tomb, mausoleum – an ivory-white marble mausoleum built by King Shah Jahan for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Today, it stands for love and is one of the most iconic buildings in the world. It was voted as one of the new wonders of the world in 2007 and is estimated that around 8 million people visit this UNESCO World Heritage site every year.

Taj Mahal
It’s such a complete beauty that brings a smile every time I see this picture

What did I love most about the Taj Mahal?

The complete view. It stays on your mind forever. The moment we enter through the Main Entrance, we go ‘awe’ and that says all about it. It doesn’t end there, it has beautiful paintings where the color lived for about 400 years, amazing symmetry everywhere in the building, adorable calligraphy on the walls, and much more, depicting India’s rich history.

Did the Taj Mahal meet my expectations?

Definitely yes! I dreamt of visiting this place from childhood watching movies and they all created just the right buzz. The history we learn from visiting this place is infinite. Those carvings, detailed art, windows, archways, there is so much science we can never imagine in everything. It always boggles me how those people created all these wonders with little technology and resources.

How are local people?

Lovely people. When you speak to the right ones. Yes, of course, some local vendors and guides might bother too much for their business. If you love to talk about suggestions around, talk to local people on the streets or small street vendors. They might not speak English at all though or at least only broken English.

What is the best food around here?

Paratha is the most famous local food. It is a kinda wheat bread and comes in different varieties like ghee, potato, vegetable, etc.. to satisfy your taste buds. Remember they can be spicy too! Also if you are looking for a street snack, chaats are a must-try, aloo Tikki is the local favorite.

How to reach the Taj Mahal?

Taj Mahal is located in Agra, India about 250 km from New Delhi, the capital city of India. It is about 4 hours and well connected from the capital city with the beautiful 6 lanes of Taj Express Highway. Some buses run 24*7 between these two cities. The best and most affordable option for families is hiring a cab from New Delhi. Solo Travelers can use trains. Hitchhike is not recommended.

Since there are various options to visit around the Taj, people generally book a tour from New Delhi. There are several tour options available based on the time you can afford. The most famous trip is – The Golden Triangle in 4 days.

Related: The most famous and foremost Trip in India – The Golden Triangle

Where did I stay?

To give the best experience to my parents, we stayed at Hotel Taj and the food was just amazing. There are several options for every budget in Agra. There are some beautiful hotels with Taj Mahal views and also hostels, locally called homestays. Airbnb is not very famous in the area.

What and where to shop? 

If a tour is booked, a guide will usually take you to their affiliated store where they have commissions. These are good ones but overrated. The bargain is the key here. Kinari Bazaar is where most visitors shop. Leather products and White marble souvenirs are the usual collectibles.

Is it worth all the time and money?

Absolutely. It is a lifetime experience. Apart from the Taj Mahal, there are several historic spots around which take us back into history. It is thrilling to learn about the lifestyle of Kings and how it had changed gradually.

Are there any tips for first-time visitors? 

There are a few worth considering.

  1. Book a tour in advance with a travel agent if you prefer to do several spots around Agra. It saves time and money too. I booked with Vuelo Travels, Bangalore, and enjoyed the trip at ease. Otherwise, Taj Mahal tickets are also available at the east gate on any day with a little wait.
  2.  Winter is a yes and no to visiting the Taj Mahal. Though the temperatures are perfect, there can be fog cover. Check the forecast(And the forecast is not always accurate). March can be an ideal time. Also, look out for the construction/cleaning times. There will be crew all over the monument and you don’t want to visit then. Official website details here.
  3. Check for passport validity while booking flights and bring the passport to the Taj Mahal as identification for foreigners and Non-Resident Indians.
  4. India is a safe country. Just be aware of the surroundings. Also, there are a few dress guidelines to follow anywhere you visit. They, most of the time, go hand in hand.
  5. You will be provided a tour guide if you book a tour with an agency. Most of the guides on location are unauthorized and might not be of much help and are better to avoid. You will not need a guide if you read things ahead.
  6. Feel free to say ‘NO’ to strangers for pictures.
  7. Tips are not mandatory in the area. However, a few bucks will always give you extra comfort.
  8. Ticket prices are different for Foreign nationals and Indians, like most of India.
  9. Remember to use only authorized transport services like auto-rickshaws from the standing booth.
  10. Pack light to the Taj Mahal as there will be a lot of walking. Selfie sticks and bags are not allowed. Shoe covers are provided at the entrance.

Will I do it again?

Oh yes! I would love to visit the Taj Mahal on Full Moon nights, one of the unique ways to experience the most gorgeous wonder of the world.

Would you like to read about our other Wonders of the World missions? Check them out here.

It is a beautiful world out there and we are glad we got a chance to check out some of its beauties:

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About Author

“Be a Roman when in Rome” is the first travel quote I heard. Soon I realize every place is unique. Wondering how it is? Well that's why the stories here are for. Enjoy reading them!

With so many lovely places on this earth, different cultures and variety of food, exploring one at a time while leading a crazy IT professional life. In short, call me Explorer, be it places, food or IT. See you around!

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