Saturday, 10 March 2012

2.27.12: Taj Mahal, Agra

This may sound stupid but I thought that Taj Mahal is in Delhi.  I assumed because Delhi is the capital and most capitals have the most popular tourist spots.  This was true for Petronas in KL, Grand Palace in Bangkok, The Parliament and London Eye in London, Eiffel Tower in Paris and Colosseum in Rome.  See, I'm making sense still.  :P

Taj Mahal is located in Agra, a two-hour train journey.  The most comfortable to take is the Bhopal Shatabdi.  The journey starts with a piece of rose.  Yup rose, followed by a liter of bottled water, newspaper and breakfast set.  It is the first stop from Delhi and it can't be missed as most of the tourist get off from this stop.

Agra, according to the locals, is a city of love.  Why?  Shah Jahan have this temple made for his favourite wife who died giving birth to their 14th child.  Shah Jahan was buried next to Mumtaz Mahal when he died, inside the Taj Mahal.  It is available for viewing but not for photo taking.

Opening Days:  Everyday except Friday for prayers.
Entrance Fee:  750 Rupees for foreigners and 20 Rupees for locals

When is best time to go?  Definitely full moon.  But it's good to take photo of the Taj Mahal just before sunset when you can see Taj Mahal's reflection on the water.

Is it worth spending more than a day in Agra?  I don't think so.  Apart from the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, I don't think any place is worth the visit.  Drivers would suggest driving 35ish km but I think that time is better spent elsewhere.

Important Reminders:

  • No food or drinks allowed in Taj Mahal.
  • Forget tripods.  They don't allow tripod inside Taj Mahal.  Tripods have to be deposited in the nearby lockers.
  • No video camera allowed.  You have to have special permit to shoot video.
  • Bags are scanned and speculated.
  • People entering the premises get inspected too.
  • You have to take off your shoes and socks inside the Taj Mahal.

We got lucky with this shot.  Thank you foreign lady!  :)

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