Before I even set foot in India, I knew that the Taj Mahal was high on my list of places to visit. A tale of true love and some of the most gorgeous architectural symmetry had an allure to it. I used to think that this monument defined India and all that it was. Well, although this may be true in some respects for the tourist boards, it is very far from the truth. There is so much more to India than the Taj Mahal!
I got a little bit disappointed as what i saw and experienced is not as i expected. I was welcomed by a very huge gate, the Taj Mahal is 400 meters away from the main gate. I can saw it’s really beautiful even only from the gate. The popular pond in front of the building looked as beautiful as on people’s photos. I walked through the very clean garden. The surrounding of Taj Mahal is very well maintained, no rubbish found, even the grass and plants looks so fresh.
Built for his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal is a symbol of love and loss. The Emperor’s wife died giving birth to their 14th child and it is said by many that his hair turned grey virtually overnight after being overwhelmed with sadness and grief. Emperor Shah Jahan was heartbroken and he ordered the construction of an incredible memorial in 1632, a year following his wife’s tragic passing. It took some 20,000 workers from India and Central Asia to bring the building to completion, and although the main building was finished in just 8 years, it took more than 20 years for the entire complex to be done.
Ticket prices for the Taj Mahal are around 1,000 Rupees for foreign tourists, 530 Rupees for Citizens of SAARC and BIMSTEC Countries and 40 Rupees for Domestic/Indian residents. There’s a separate pricing system for evening viewing tickets, which are only available five days out of the month.
All tickets can be purchased from the following places:
* Taj Mahal Western Gate (near Saheli Burj)
* Taj Mahal Eastern Gate (750 metres away at Shilpgram)
* Taj Mahal Southern Gate
Here are some insider tips to ensure you avoid the scams when visiting the Taj Mahal:
* Pre-book your taxi
Always pre-book your taxi when possible. This will ensure that you do not get overcharged. Or negotiate with your taxi driver beforehand.
* Be prepared to get hassled
Vendors and hawkers will approach you (especially if you have blonde hair and blue eyes!) so beware of scammers trying to charge you for photos they have taken.
* Don’t bring food or flammables
There are strict rules about what you can take in so please check with your guide before you go. Men and women will be searched in separate lines, and food and flammable liquids will be confiscated.
* Keep hydrated
There’s not much shade from the sun when you are outside the building so make the most of the chai tea sellers who walk up and down the queue at the entrance and on your way into the tomb.