Indian Travel Links

TAJ MAHAL

“Only let this one tear-drop, this Taj Mahal, glisten spotlessly bright on the cheek of time, forever and ever,” – Rabindranath Tagore
 
One of the wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal is located on the banks of the river Yamuna in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. It is about 200 km from New Delhi.
Shah Jahan, who ruled the Mughal Empire (with its capital in Agra) for 30 years, had the mausoleum constructed to honor his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, after her death in 1631.
Carved in marble, this marvel is considered to be one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture. In 1983, the Taj Mahal was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Construction of the Taj Mahal and nearby monuments began in 1631. Thousands of artists and sculptors have been involved in the design of the Taj Mahal, which took about 22 years to complete.
Ustad Ahmad Lahori and Ustad Issa are considered to be the main architects of Tamahal. The white marble required for the construction was mined from Makana in Rajasthan.
The Taj Mahal is located on a rectangular platform. There are minarets at each corner of the domed platform above the center. The white marble dome soars 171 meters (561 feet) above a pink sandstone base. The finial atop the dome is uniquely Indian, recognizing the region’s religious diversity. The finial incorporates a crescent moon, the symbol of Islam (the religion of both Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal). But by placing the moon with its horns (points) pointing to the heavens in a U-shape, the moon and finial resemble a trident—a traditional symbol of the powerful Hindu god Shiva. Both Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan are buried beneath the dome of the Taj
The monument is considered to be one of the wonders of the world due to its architectural prowess and beauty. The Taj Mahal, which has amazed generations, is now under the Archaeological Department of India.

How to reach

Air

The city of Taj, Agra, has its own airport that is around 7 km from the city center. Various Airlines operate flights to Agra during season time.

Rail

Apart from the main railway station of Agra Cantonment, there are other two stations also, that of Rajaki-Mandi and Agra Fort.

Road

Agra is well connected to major cities in the country and is situated on the Golden Triangle of the Tourist Circuit (Delhi-Agra-Jaipur). It is connected to Delhi and Varanasi By NH-2, to Jaipur by NH-11 and Gwalior By NH-3. It is also connected to Delhi & Lucknow by Express ways.

The major road distances are :

• Delhi – 204 km

• Gwalior – 119 km

• Jaipur – 232 km

• Kanpur – 296 km

 • Khajuraho – 400 km

• Lucknow – 369 km

• Bharatpur – 57 km

• Mathura – 56 km

• Varanasi – 605 km

There are regular bus services from Agra to a number of important cities. The main bus stand of ISBT and Idgah have a number of buses running for Delhi, Jaipur, Mathura, Fatehpur-Sikri, etc.

Timing & Entry fee

Taj Mahal is normally open to visitors from 6 AM to 7 PM every day, except on Fridays.

Domestic Indian : Rs.50

Tourists from SAARC & BIMSTEC Countries : Rs.540

Foreign tourist : Rs. 1100

(Rs.200 Additional for visiting main mausoleum)

Buying Ticket Online :Official Website of Archeological Survey of India, asi.payumoney.com & www.asiagracircle.in offers information and ticketing service for Taj Mahal tickets. Both foreign and domestic visitors may use the e-ticket booking for the ASI Taj Mahal and other monuments.

Best time to visit

Early summers, i.e., from March to June is the best time to visit the monument. Avoid winters as the Taj will shadowed by fog, i.e., from the months of November to February.

Things to remember

There are three gates to lead you to the monument—East, West and South. If you decide to opt for the
South Gate, you will have lesser crowd. The South Gate is the least-used gate, as you will not have to
wait in a longer queue as compared to the other two gates.

The West Gate, which is the main gate, is used by a majority of local visitors. It sees the longest queue
of people throughout the day. If you use this gate, the best time will be during sunrise when you can
expect fewer crowds.

The East Gate is mainly used by the foreign visitors, especially because it is closest to a number of
hotels. If you get your ticket in advance, this will be the best option to use for an entry to the Taj.

There are certain things that you will not be allowed to carry inside the Taj Mahal due to security
reasons. In case you carry something, the checkpoints near the entrance gate will not allow you to pass
through. Huge bags are not allowed; you can carry only a small bag having essential items.
Tripods, mobile phone chargers, smoking items, food, drinks, and tobacco items are not allowed inside
the Taj. There is, however, a locker room at the entrance, where you can submit the items in case you
carried them by mistake.

You are only allowed to take with you a mobile phone, a water bottle and camera, which is included in
your ticket.

For a budget traveller

There are many ways to get from Delhi to Agra cheaply and safely. The cheapest would be the bus. The next cheapest would be the train. This would be preferable because it is a lot faster and more comfortable. There are many, but there is one a day called the Gatimaan Express. which is non stop and is super fast.

I like to recommend visiting the Agra Fort during the day and going to Metab Bagh at sunset across the river from the Taj Mahal at sunset for a gorgeous view an incredible pictures. Then spend the night and the next morning go to the Taj Mahal at sunrise, it is less crowded then and a great time to visit. Then return to your hotel for breakfast and return to Delhi or carry on your journey.

As for where to stay that is inexpensive….there are some hostels like Moustache Hostels where you can stay in the shared dorms for very cheap or get a private room.

Attractions nearby