The Taj Mahal: A Photo Essay (with Tips)

... Before the stories begin, before you see it up close, before the magic of the creation enthrals you, it's the grandness and the majestic brilliance that captures your imagination.
… Before the stories begin, before you touch it, before the magic of the creation enthralls you, it’s the grandness and the majestic brilliance that captures your imagination.

Let’s face it, you know about The Taj Mahal.

It’s one of the 7 Wonders of the World. You’ve either visited it at some point or have seen pictures of it at another. And, you have a faint idea of what makes it so special.

Still, here you are, wanting to know and see just a little bit more, even though it hasn’t changed in all these years.

That’s the magic of The Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal A Photo Essay

The Main Gate - Taj Complex
The Main Gate – The sight of Taj Mahal often takes away the spotlight from everything that surrounds it. Take your time and appreciate everything that is around the Taj. Each building is unique in its own way and true architectural marvels.

I’ve been going to Agra, and visiting “The Taj” all my life. Since it happens to be the prime destination in India for any visitor, often these visits are to take guests and show them around. It helps that Agra is about a 5 hours drive away from my home in Delhi and with the highways getting better and better, this time has only reduced over the years.

Everyone comes with somewhat of a preconceived notion of the Taj Mahal, but no one is ever ready to take in its grandness as soon as it becomes visible through the arch of the Main Gate. A walk though the well maintained gardens with fountains – bringing some respite during Indian summers; the closer you get to this labour of love, the more evident do the intricacies of the handiwork done on the marble impress you.

The architecture of this mausoleum is awe inspiring and the fact that it comes with a back story that is filled with intrigue and is often mysterious about certain aspects makes it all the more special. But it is not just the Taj that impresses, rather the entire complex with its location next to the often dried up river Yamuna, the minarets that corner the main monument, the mosque and the guesthouse on the west and the east, the gardens and pools, all add to the enchanting beauty of this wonder of the world.

What makes Taj Mahal a “wonder” is that it isn’t simply architecturally magnificent – and one of a kind – but as a monument it holds a lot of emotions; that of tragedy, death, and most importantly love – the real reason for its existence. It is this bond that forms between religion, architecture, and human nature that makes the Taj Mahal remarkable and in a league of its own.

Taj Mahal - First look, when the beauty hits you slightly, but the grandness and delicate nature of it is still a walk away.
The Taj Mahal – That first look, when the beauty hits you unexpectedly, but the grandness and delicate nature of it is still a walk away.
Different styles, different colours, different techniques - all beautiful.
Different styles, different colours, different techniques – ALL beautiful.
One of the Taj Mahal minarets which has been restored back to its whitening beauty.
One of the Taj Mahal minarets which has been restored back to its whitening beauty. There has been a massive drive to restore the Taj back to it’s shining glory and the efforts are visible throughout the complex.
Thousands of people could be seen at the Taj Mahal. The government doing a commendable job by restoring the monument, the police and local management trying their very best to control th
Thousands of people come everyday to see the Taj Mahal. The Government is doing a commendable job restoring it. The police and local management try their very best to control the crowds. It is not the easiest of tasks, yet very well managed.
Taj Mahal has two similar looking buildings on its east and west side. While one is the Mehman Khana (Guesthouse) also known as Jawab because some think it was built to bring symmetry to
Taj Mahal has two similar looking buildings on its east and west side. One is the Mehman Khana (Guesthouse) also known as Jawab (reply) because some think it was built to bring symmetry to the complex. Pictured here is the Mosque.
Taj Mahal - Majestic
No matter the angle, no matter the direction, be it from afar or up close, the Taj never fails to impress.

 

The Taj up close for you to marvel at the workmanship... In black and white.
Up close to marvel at the workmanship… In black and white and still spectacular.
The Taj Mahal - Beautiful Designes
It’s interesting to notice the different forms and techniques of designs – on pillars, walls, ceilings – used in the entire complex.

The Taj Mahal Complex

One of the minarets of the Taj being renovated which includes whitening it from all the damage the smokepollution has caused over the years. The yellowish colour is quite evident when yo
One of the minarets of the Taj being renovated which includes cleaning it from all the damage the smoke and pollution has caused over the years. The yellowish colour is quite evident when you compare it to the minarets that have already been restored.
Mehman Khana also known as Jawab at Taj Mahal, Agra
Mehman Khana also known as Jawab at Taj Mahal, Agra
The is a red stand stone wall that corners the Taj Mahal complex on three sides. These archways are a haven for people to take a breather, continue to watch the magnificence of the Taj a
The is a red sand-stone wall that borders the Taj Mahal complex on three sides. These archways are a haven for people to take a breather, continue to watch the magnificence of the Taj and save themselves from the afternoon sun.

The Taj Mahal Walls

A visit to the Taj Mahal is a moment full of excitement and enthusiasm, especially for a first timer, so here are some tips that can help you;

The Taj Mahal remains closed on Fridays for the general public.

U.P. Tourism now has a designated website with all the information on Taj Mahal and a place where you can book tickets in advance. I recommend visiting it – http://www.tajmahal.gov.in/

The last time I was at the Taj with a foreign guest, we had to buy a Foreign Tourist ticket. Although priced higher, at the time, it came with a lot of perks – entry through separate less crowded gates throughout the complex, water bottle, a designated guide (you may or may not choose to pay him extra at the end). The good thing was that we – having Indian National Tickets – were also allowed to use the same entry lanes since we were accompanying our guest and trust me, that itself is a good enough reason for buying that Foreign Tourist Ticket at an extra cost.

The walk from the parking to the entry can be made on foot or via a camel or horse driven carriage. Do remember that there is a lot of walking outside and inside, so it might be wise to save energy and use one of the latter modes of transports when travelling to and fro from the parking.

The Taj Mahal - Precious and Semi-Precious Stones
Beautiful engravings with Precious and Semi-Precious stones on the walls of the Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal - The Floor Outside
The famous Agra Red Stone. Fun Fact: The exteriors of my house have been done with the same stone, although in brick form. 

Carvings on the Taj Mahal

For a few days around the year, The Taj Mahal is open at night time – usually on full moon nights. There are limited seats available for these days and as you can imagine this is quite a spectacle.

You are more than likely to be approached by local guides along the way to the Taj, but simply remember to keep you calm, refuse if you don’t want one, and even if they are persistent, keep quiet and continue onward. They might keep on asking you, but they never get physical or cross the line.

Be as early as possible. Check the opening times and try and reach before the crowds. Furthermore, during the summer months, it can get really hot so stay hydrated and carry sun protection.

It’s a good idea to keep some change handy when visiting the Taj. There are a lot of “street sellers” selling knick-knacks like key-rings and postcards outside the main complex and not only can you put your bargaining skills to test with them, but also it’s a great way to support the locals.

Be respectful at all times. The Taj Mahal is also a religious monument, so be aware of the customs and traditions and abide by the rules.

Although you get shoe-covers when entering the Taj Mahal, it is a good idea to wear socks in case you have to take off your shoes and walk on the hot ground.

Carry a camera, obviously. In case you want slightly more professional photos, there are local photographers in the complex who can take and process the photos for you by the time you are done viewing the Taj. You may try your bargaining skills with them as well although most of them already have a printed price sheet handy.

In the streets that surround the Taj Mahal complex, you are likely to find some great street food and souvenirs at comparatively cheaper prices. It can get crowded there, so keep that in mind if being adventurous and venturing out.

Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy and marvel at the beauty of the Taj Mahal.

The Taj Mahal A Photo Essay

The Taj in a Frame

Taj Mahal - Advert

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41 thoughts on “The Taj Mahal: A Photo Essay (with Tips)

  1. I worked out in India for a bit and was lucky enough to head to the Taj Mahal twice. Back then there were no blog posts or information to read about before I went, so I was taken back a bit the first time I went as I could only go off what the driver gave us. I wished I had a post like yours to read beforehand with all the information and tips, I especially like the fact that it opens sometimes at night. I think that would be an amazing site to see with the full moon reflecting off it. Lovely pictures by the way

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We had been to this marble wonder long long back and though much of the memory is hazy the feeling of visiting this magnificent beauty still fresh. Good to know about the foreign ticket entry sounds like recommended to avoid queues and crowds. The Taj definitely has some of the exquisite work which makes it one of the greatest monument of the times. Hope to visit it sometime soon again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great photographs. Liked the closeups showing intricate details on the walls that are not always seen. I also avoided visiting it for a long time as it was a bit too famous for my tastes. But even I eventually went there I found it to be a great spot for photography.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A magnificent wonder to see in the world. The Taj Mahal looks glorious from the outside; I can’t imagine the beauty of it inside. It would be neat to see it at night as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The Foreign Tourist ticket sounds like the best option to visit this place. I am a bit concerned in terms of the welfare of the horses and camels. I hope that they get to rest and eat some food from time to time.

    Iza c/o Fill My Passport

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I haven’t been to the Taj Mahal, but I’ve always been entranced by its beauty! I absolutely love the close-ups of all the detailed tiles and stone work. It truly captures the grandeur of the Taj Mahal. I’ve heard many people say that sunrise is the best time to see it- would you agree?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sunrise and sunset are both equally wonderful. While you may not be able to go inside the complex at those times, you can see the Taj from surrounding areas and make the most of it. One of the best viewing places is from across the river.

      Like

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