The Taj Mahal, Agra

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  • Detail of marble carving
    Detail of marble carving
    by Orchid
  • Leaving - South Gateway
    Leaving - South Gateway
    by Orchid
  • Classic reflection
    Classic reflection
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  • Orchid's Profile Photo

    'Look Madam.. a flower....'

    by Orchid Updated Feb 17, 2014
    Glistening marble platform
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    'Look Madam! A Flower! Top to bottom, bottom to top, like a Persian Carpet. Built by the Shah Jahan. Restored by the Lord Curzon...'

    I think this was the seventeenth time our estimable tourist guide had repeated this phrase, or something very like it. It all blurred after a while. We had chosen to hire a guide that morning for a tour of the sights of Agra. The Taj was the final attraction of our day tour, and so we enjoyed the golden rays on the marble of Agra's most famous building. Back in 1990 there were no regular evening visits (except on nights of the full moon).

    I can certainly recommend leaving the Taj Mahal until last.The other fine attractions of Agra might seen an anticlimax after witnessing this towering, gleaming edifice.

    From the car park the crowds thicken until we reach the Southern Gateway, in red sandstone and marble inlay rising in front of use. We pay our guide the entry fee, and he goes off to buy the tickets. One of the benefits of having a guide.

    The crowds of visitors slow at the central gateway, all pausing to drink in their first glimpses of the famous building. Finally we can see the white marble of the onion shaped dome floating above the heads of those in front of us in the queue to enter the rectangular walled compound..The gardens spread out below, a study in symmetry either side of the axial reflecting pool.

    In front of us is the vast tomb, built on the orders of Mughal ruler Shah Jahan to be the final resting place of his beloved Mumtaz stands proudly on a marble flagged plinth (shoes are to be removed and stored with a shoewallah before one ascends). It is only when one walks here that the sheer magnitude of the structure becomes apparent. And closer observation (with or without the bletherings of you guide) reveal the rich decorative details. On the lower walls of the tomb white marble dados are sculpted with realistic bas relief depictions of flowers and vines. The marble is polished, providing emphasis to the exquisite detailing of the carvings and the dado frames. The archways are decorated with pietra dura inlays of highly stylised, almost geometric vines, flowers and fruits. The inlay stones are of yellow marble, jasper and jade, polished and levelled to the surface of the walls.

    Mumtaz Mahal's tomb lies under the centre of the dome, in a plain crypt beneath the the elaborately decorated inner chamber (it is crowded bedlam to get in here, but be patient).
    Shah Jahan is buried beside her,the only assymetric element patently visible in the whole complex.
    These are his words about the building.

    Should guilty seek asylum here,
    Like one pardoned, he becomes free from sin.
    Should a sinner make his way to this mansion,
    All his past sins are to be washed away.
    The sight of this mansion creates sorrowing sighs;
    And the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes.
    In this world this edifice has been made;
    To display thereby the creator's glory.*

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  • Bernd_L's Profile Photo

    Taj Mahal

    by Bernd_L Written Jan 24, 2014

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    For a long time this amazing building was on my wish list of things I want to see in my life. And in January 2014 I finally got to see it.

    We got up very early that morning when it was still pitch dark. Our driver brought us to the eastern gate of the premises where we had to pass a very strict security check. But after half an hour we were finally inside and just in time to see this magnificant Mausoleum illuminated by the first rays of the rising sun ... a really great sight!

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  • solopes's Profile Photo

    Wow

    by solopes Updated Dec 22, 2013

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    Taj Mahal - Agra
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    We all "knew" Taj Mahal! Tv and movies took it to everybody's home.

    We only missed the details, and now we saw them... Wow!

    The finely carved Marble Screen in only one large piece, the marble inlaid with precious stones, the harmony of the whole, enhance everything that is already said and written by everybody.

    You just have to see it for yourself

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  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    Taj Mahal

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Sep 5, 2013

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    They don't get anymore iconic than this. I was most impressed by the huge size of this monument, something pictures just don't catch. The Taj was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1632 for his 3rd wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is India's largest and most ornate tombs, made of white marble with black marble and precious stones inlaid.

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    Darwaza-i Rauza

    by al2401 Written Aug 21, 2013

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    Darwaza-i Rauza
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    The Darwaza-i Rauza or great gate is situated in the south wall which separates the Taj Mahal from the outside world. It acts as a transition from the hustle bustle of daily life to the still and calm of paradise.

    Its architecture is magnificent enough to warrant a tip of its own - in fact it offers a taste of what is to be seen inside with it pointed arched portal and inscriptions from the Qu'ran. These features although in red sandstone are repeated in the Taj Mahal itself in the magnificent white marble.

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    See the Taj Mahal from Mehtab Bagh

    by al2401 Written Aug 21, 2013

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    The Taj Mahal from Mehtab Bagh
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    The Mehtab Bagh or Moonlight Garden was the last of eleven Mughal-built gardens along the Yamuna opposite the Taj and the Agra Fort. This square garden is perfectly aligned with the Taj Mahal complex and a wonderful place from which to photograph.

    This is the best place to view the Taj Mahal at dawn and when the river is full you can get some great reflections. As the sun hits the Nacre in the inlaid designs the walls seem to sparkle.

    The garden is a lovely place to wander around on its own account.

    Entrance for Tourists is 100Rs and it is open at sunrise.

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    The Taj Mahal

    by al2401 Written Aug 20, 2013

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    The Taj Mahal at Sunset
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    What trip to Agra is not complete without a visit to this magnificent structure.

    The Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum. It is not a palace or a mosque. Built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal is regarded by many as the finest example of Mughal architecture. This is a style that combines elements from those of Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Indian architectural.

    The stunning domed building is no doubt the centrepiece of the complex including beautiful gardens, a separate mosque and a mirror image building that is thought to have been used as a meeting or guest house. The main complex is protected by a red snadstome wall on three side with the north side open to the river. The Great gate (Darwaza-i rauza) is in the south wall. Smaller mausoleums to lesser wives can be found outside these walls.

    Construction started in 1632. The main building was finished in 1648 followed by the other buildings in 1653. In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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    Taj Mahal was ranked third

    by addyson Written Jul 31, 2013

    The Taj Mahal Agra is a vivid poetry in Marble. A marvellous piece of Pietra Dura
    {the stone inlay work} and a monument dedicated to eternal love or the eighth wonder in the World - The beauty of the Taj Mahal, located in Agra, cannot be expressed in words. Built by Shahjahan, the fifth Mughal ruler of India in 1631 AD, the mausoleum is a tribute to his second wife, advisor and soulmate, Mumtaz Mahal.
    According to TripAdvisor's 2013 Travellers Choice Attractions Awards, Taj Mahal was ranked third in the list of Top 25 landmarks.

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  • albaaust's Profile Photo

    Taking photos

    by albaaust Written Mar 12, 2013

    The Taj Mahal itself is simply stunning and more adequately described than I can do justice. Do try and get a photo shot from the centre and keep an eye out for reflections in the pond. The shot I took was actually after sunset.

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  • PeterVancouver's Profile Photo

    Taj

    by PeterVancouver Updated May 3, 2012

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    Completed in 1653 A.D., The Taj Mahal built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as the final resting place for his favourite Queen, Mumtaz. It is perhaps India's most fascinating and beautiful monument. This perfectly symmetrical monument took 22 years (1630-1652) of hard labour and 20,000 workers.

    Very hard to get up before dawn whilst on holiday, and to travel in the dark to the Taj Mahal but well worth it and to pay the RS500 ($12) entrance fee for non Indians. Remember not open to tourists on Fridays.

    Probably the only building I have ever seen in my life which virtually takes your breath away as the sun comes up, and creates differing shades on the marble. It is well worth the early morning rise, not only to see the sun's rays hitting the building, but also to avoid the inevitable crowds as the tourist buses arrive later in the day.

    At the rear the Yamuna River passes by in tranquil fashion having started out in the Himalaya's and which will wind its way down the 1375km through Delhi, entering the Ganges near to Allahabad

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  • solopes's Profile Photo

    Inlaid and carved stones

    by solopes Updated Apr 10, 2012

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    The architecture of Taj Mahal is no surprise - anyone had seen it prior to arrive, in any kind of media and illustrations.

    The best surprise in place is the delicacy of the works in stone: the best artists were gathered to decorate the interior but also the exterior, with all kinds of representations allowed by Muslim religion, in a precious harmony.

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  • jlanza29's Profile Photo

    Beauty at it's finest !!!!!

    by jlanza29 Written Mar 13, 2012

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    AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING !!!!!!
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    Once in a while when traveling you see something that leaves you speechless ... and the Taj Mahal is one of those places ..... Just beautiful and amazing is some of the first words that came out of my mouth .... My biggest surprise of the Taj was the pure size of it .... having read a bunch of books before visiting that was the biggest surprise ... the SIZE !!!!!!

    Now some helpful tips ...... first and foremost ... the entrance fee is 750 rupees for foreigners about $15 US dollars ..... one must walk about 1/2 mile in order to enter ... As you walk up to the entrance there is a bunch of shops with tons of souvenirs ... This is your chance to buy your postcards, keychains, fridge magnets .... don't let your tour guide or whoever your with talk you out of it .... you won't find these types of souvenirs anywhere else .... we made the mistake of listening to our tour guide and ended up with no souvenirs, he instead took us to stores that sold suits and shirts ... not very happy with that.

    Once at the entrance, you won't be allowed to bring in backpacks ..... only 1 bottle water and tour book and camera !!!!

    I read here on VT that there was a charge for camera's, again NO ONE ever asked us for a camera ticket .... just another scam I think !!!!!!!

    Once inside be prepared to deal with hundred's and hundred's of people .....

    The famous Princess Diana bench is almost impossible to get a clean photo there !!!!! tons of people fight with each other to sit on the bench and you never had a good chance for the famous photo, but don't get me wrong there is plenty of chances to get your photo taken .... We ignored all the so called professional photographers and took our our photo's and I must say they came out great !!!!!

    The gardens are beautiful, the whole place is kept in perfect condition ... I must say though there is sections that Indians aren't allowed to enter which I found odd, ... once at the entrance of the Taj, you must wear sneaker covers, shorts are allowed so don't worry about that .....

    Inside are the actual tombs surrounded by an ivory gate .... the interior is tiny compared to the rest of the building !!! and extremely crowded ...

    Also once at the actual building notice that everything is made of marble, even though it looks like paint ..... that's what makes it more amazing and also notice the top of the dome that has rings leading up to the top symbol .... As told by our guide and in our tour books the English took the original one made of gold and replaced it with a bronze one .....

    One of the most amazing places in the entire world ...... I can go on and on and on ....

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  • Duni's Profile Photo

    Taj mahal one day trip

    by Duni Written Oct 1, 2011
    Taj mahal tours

    Some parts of the Tajmahal & Agra Fort complex do not have trees or shade. Best to carry adequate sun protection while you visit. Shoes are not allowed at the marble floor of the Taj mahal, Monument authority provides special socks which is included in the ticket price. You need to discuss with guide for rules regarding your bags/what you can and cannot take inside the monument. You can also write to me, I will be more than happy to provide you informations about taj tours and other part of travel destination as I have traveled extensively throughout India. My ID is duniindia@gmail.com

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  • goutammitra's Profile Photo

    The Eternal Tajmahal

    by goutammitra Written Aug 21, 2011
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    Agra's Taj Mahal is one of the most famous structures in the world, the mausoleum of Shah Jahan's favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Completed in 1653, the Tāj Mahal was built by the Mughal king Shāh Jahan as the final resting place for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Finished in marble, it is perhaps India's most fascinating and beautiful monument. This perfectly symmetrical monument took 22 years (1630–1652) of labour and 20,000 workers, masons and jewelers to build and is set amidst landscaped gardens. Built by the Persian architect,Mohammad Isa, the Taj Mahal is on the bank of the Yamuna River. It is an acknowledged masterpiece of symmetry. Verses of the Koran are inscribed on it and at the top of the gate are twenty-two small domes, signifying the number of years the monument took to build. The Taj Mahal was built on a marble platform that stands above a sandstone one. The most elegant dome of the Taj Mahal has a diameter of 60 feet (18 m), and rises to a height of 80 feet (24 m); directly under this dome is the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal. Shah Jahans tomb was erected next to hers by his son Aurangzeb. The interiors are decorated by fine inlay work, incorporating semi-precious stones.

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  • Liatris1's Profile Photo

    Taj Mahal

    by Liatris1 Updated Aug 7, 2011

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    Taj Mahal from the other side
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    The most beautiful building in the world?

    I've visited Taj Mahal 2 times, 2001 and 2008, and was blown away both times.
    It looks stunning in photos, but in real life it is so much more than that.

    My tips for a good experience and photos:
    * Read about the history behind it!
    * Come very early! A couple of chai before Taj Mahal opens at sunrise, but starts selling tickets half an our before. The queue is allready long at 05:50...
    * Tip if you are two people and more: 1 person stands in the ticket queue and the rest at the gate queue. I got my ticket at 06:15. Be aware that it is one line for men and another for women at the gate! (This was at the east gate in 2008).
    * take your time inside to enjoy the tomb-building, garden, the other buildings, and the other tourists...
    * Take a rickshaw or taxi to the other side of the river before sunrise or sunset for another view and reflections in the river. The garden here on this side also has an interesting story...

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