No one stays elusive from the beauty of the Taj for long. This time it was my 6 year old’s turn. She demanded to see the Taj Mahal as she had learnt about it in school and wanted to experience its beauty in person. We had already planned our Delhi to Kanha National Park family Road Trip through Madhya Pradesh, so it was perfect to make a short trip to visit the Taj. The saga of love, loss, remorse and love again, attracts millions of visitors each year. To make your visit more enjoyable here is A Guide to Visiting The Taj Mahal.
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A Guide to Visiting the Taj Mahal
Delhi to Agra distance by road is only 220 kms. The Yamuna Expressway reduces the driving time further and makes it less tiring too. So the Taj can be visited the same day. It usually becomes hazy in the mornings in winters so we decided to hit the road by 10:00 AM.
The first thing we did when we reached Agra is to check into the hotel. The Hotel we chose was very close to the monument so we decided to leave the car there itself and take a Tuk-Tuk ride to reach the Taj.
Pro Tip 1: Tuk-Tuk are easily available all over Agra and are reasonable too. In case you have a car then there is a paid parking too near the monument.
The queue to get the entry tickets is normally huge on any single day but the this is the only way to get inside. Be aware of tricksters selling hoax entry tickets. You can also get tickets hassle-free online on the Archaeological Survey of India website. When booking the tickets either online or at the ticket counters, purchase the Taj Mahal with the Mausoleum combined entry ticket to avoid standing in line later for the Mausoleum. Once you have the tickets the checking at the entry is fairly hassle-free and within minutes you are in the Taj grounds. The view of the Taj is still elusive while you are walking on the red sandstone compound.
The mighty Darwaza-i Rauza (Entry Gate) is the first structure to welcome you and you get a taste of the beauty that lies hidden. This gate is made with red sandstone with intricate marble artwork and domes.
Once you pass this imposing archway you reach the Taj gardens. These immaculately maintained lawns surround the iconic structure. From here you can get to see the view that has graced postcards, posters and wallpapers and screen savers for ages.
This view is best seen during the summer months (if you do not mind the sweltering heat). In Winters due to the haze its a little blurred but still its a sight to behold. It like a faraway mountain you view from a hill station. So alluring and so pure. One look and you know what the fuss is all about. Its worth every penny spent to build it.
This 17th century mausoleum built by Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved deceased wife Mumtaz Mahal is a monument of love. Both of them were buried in the underground crypt here but a replica tomb can be visited inside.
The 10 minute walk from the gate to the Taj is also enough to prepare you for the stunning beauty. Once up close the huge structure is an awe-inspiring experience. The domed structure with 4 minarets is so stunning that the buildings in its surroundings get dwarfed by its beauty. The white marble structure looks different at different parts of the day depending on the sunlight. It is best viewed on a full moon night when its open for tourists all night long. The entire structure is an epitome of Persian artwork and architecture. It usually takes 2-3 hours to complete the visit to the monument.
Taj Mahal is widely visited by locals tourists (Indians and Foreigners both) so it is crowded all year round. The vast expanse of the gardens make the crowd seem less significant but once you are inside the monument it can get a little daunting. But the Taj Mahal is worth visiting.
Pro Tip 2: Try reaching the entry ticket counters latest by 1530, since the counters close at 1600. Be aware of the locals there who pester and misguide you to enter their sovereign shops (Meena Bazaar) for their commissions. Government approved guides keep hovering around hovering around you. If you ignore them enough they will even bring down their charges to Rs 200 from Rs 350. If its your first visit then its better to hire a guide as the stories and tidbits he will show you are really interesting.
Pro Tip 3: Shoes and eatables are not allowed inside the mausoleum. You need to remove the shoes or else buy a pair of booties before entering the Taj Mahal to cover your footwear.
How to Reach Agra
Agra’s Kheria Airport is a seasonal airport. It’s an army base and the only commercial carrier is Air India for flights only from Delhi. It’s around 13 kms from Agra City.
The train network is good to reach Agra as Agra is situated in the Delhi – Mumbai and Delhi – Chennai routes. Its even connected to Kolkatta. There are 5 railway stations in Agra. The Taj Mahal and Agra Fort are closer to the Agra Cantt railway station. Prepaid taxis and Tuk-Tuks are easily available from all the railway stations.
There are regular buses that run from Delhi, Jaipur, Gwalior, Kanpur and Lucknow. Agra has 2 main interstate terminals situated at a distance of 8 and 12 kms from the Taj.
The Yamuna Expressway lessens the travelling time and it’s very convenient to drive down here from any of these cities.
Where to Stay in Agra?
This is one of the popular hotels in Agra that offer a grand view of the Taj. Its located close to the Taj Mahal and apart from the Hilton amenities, the outdoor infinity pool with the Taj as a backdrop is an added incentive to stay at this property.
This is our favourite hotel in Agra. Courteous staff, great property, with all modern amenities it ticks all the boxes. The added cherry on the top is the amazing food at its rooftop restaurant.
This property is located within walking distance of the Taj. This 4.5 acre property boats of all that facilities that will make your stay comfortable and memorable. Apart from the Taj, this hotel is also iconic in itself.
Book Your Stay
Have you been to Agra? Do let us know about your experience at The Taj Mahal or if we are missing something, please contact us or comment below and I will update this blog soon. Your comments and/or feedback are welcome.
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