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.
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
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.
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 ....
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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...
A true world wonder, the Taj Mahal is an unforgettable sight. Its immensity, grace, perfection and symmetry are beyond mesmerising. Make your way here on a clear day before sunrise, as recommended by guidebooks, but as soon as the bulbous dome is within sight, forget guidebooks, history, architecture, and all the rest, and simply prolong your gaze at this exquisite beauty. The whiteness of the structure will change with every blink of the eye, for the marble reflects the evolving colours of the horizon as the sun rises, from deep pink to glittering gold to pure white. Only then will you fully understand the undeniable magic of the Taj Mahal...
Take a look at this travelogue to see the... "Changing hues of the Taj Mahal."
The interior of the Taj Mahal mausoleum consists of 9 distinct chambers. The main burial hall is octagonal in shape and contains the cenotaphs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan. It lies at the centre of the square structure, with a double height ceiling, and is surrounded by two stacked octagonal chambers at each corner of the structure. It is also covered by a shallow inner dome of the Taj Mahal - much lower than the actual bulbous dome seen from the exterior. The walls are decorated with carved floral and geometric motifs, Koranic verses, and intricate jali screens, but otherwise the interior is generally plain and monochrome. I found this to be surprising as it is unlike most other mausoleums in India, which tend to be lavish and colourful, such as Itimad-ud-Daulah and Akbar's Tomb in Sikandra. However, it was probably the intended effect, to give the mausoleum more purity and serenity. Note that photography inside the Taj Mahal is prohibited, so I had to click discretely, hence the blurry photos.
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