November 2016 – Visit the Taj Mahal
If its on your bucket list to visit all seven of the wonders of the world… then I guess you better get planning! I was delighted to recently tick the incredible Taj Mahal in Agra, India off my list! What a spectacular place!
As I may never get to see the Taj Mahal again, we decided it would be worth it to catch it at sunrise. We set our alarms at 5.00am, hurriedly got dressed and headed to the ticket office, luckily only about 400metres from our hotel! The foreigner ticket price (there is a different price for locals) is 750 rupees, and includes: entry fee, shoe covers and a 500ml bottle of water.
The walk to the Taj Mahal is about 10 minutes from the ticket office through street stalls and past an abundance of rickshaw drivers who will continually shout out their best price at you…
however as it wasn’t too far we decided to go by ourselves! There are separate ques at the Taj Mahal, one for Indians, one for foreign women, and one for foreign men. Including security checks the wait time took about 35 minutes. Once inside there are multiple tour guides/ professional photographers offering their services, we didn’t think there was any need to utilise either of these! (OnTheQT tip: Always ask a tour guide for his license as there are quite a lot of people pretending to be tour guides!) It was SO exciting when we caught our first glimpse of the Taj Mahal… we hurriedly rushed past the crowds until it came into full view! Although I had seen pictures online, and on television it was truly exquisite to see the stunning building in real life! It felt a little surreal!
We stood there admiring the beautiful building which is a tomb built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in commeration of his 3rd (and favourite wife) Empress Mumtaz Mahal. Upon her death during birth of their 14th child, the grief stricken built the tomb in her memory which is now universally recognised as one of the most beautiful buildings on earth! Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983, the Taj Mahal attracts some 3 million visitors a year. On 7 July 2007 it was declared one of the Seven winners of the New 7 wonders of the world! It is reported to have taken approx.. 17 years to build, at a cost of 40 million rupees. The colour of the translucent marble keeps changing from dawn to midnight giving it a magical aura in keeping with Shah Jahan’s vision that the tomb and garden should represent paradise on earth! After his death in 1666 AD, Shah Jahan was also buried beside his beloved wife at the Taj Mahal!
We took multiple selfies and countless photos before we realised there was a que of people waiting for us to take a photo with them! In India having blonde hair is such a novelty it sometimes feels like the paparazzi when you get stopped so many times!!
We walked through the gardens before reaching the tomb itself, popped on our shoe covers and went inside the tomb itself! Although it felt a little weird being inside the tomb chamber… it was certainly a once in a lifetime experience!
I most certainly recommend a trip to this wonder of the world should you wish to travel to India soon (which I highly recommend doing!), its is a country bursting with colour, personality and wonderful people! Happy travel planning x