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One of the world's largest mausoleums, the Taj Mahal was completed in 1643 under Shah Jahan, who commissioned it in memory of his most beloved wife who died in childbirth. So what are the top architectural features you should watch out for?
Perhaps the most distinguishing part of the Taj Mahal, this massive feature crowning the building is popular not only in Islamic architecture but also Russian Orthodox.
The Taj Mahal is flanked by four tall minarets. In recent years, the Indian Archeological Society has expressed concern at the fact that they are beginning to tilt slightly!
The iwans are the pointed arches at the sides. If you take a closer look, you'll see they are decorated with intricate Koranic calligraphy.
The awesome tessellating patterns and sweeping geometry covering the inner walls of the Taj Mahal are proof of the confluence of science and art.
The Taj Mahal's white marble changes color with the time of day. Pastel pink or blue, dazzling white - if you spend the whole day there, you will experience the whole spectrum.
Please remember that the Taj Mahal is an Islamic building. Although no specific dress code is enforced, it's best to dress modestly out of respect - this means covering knees and shoulders.
If you want to avoid the lines, it's best to arrive at the Taj Mahal at the crack of dawn. If you're not a morning lark, don't worry - this is one of the most beautiful times of day to view the monument and its gardens.
Lockers are available, but please note that your bag is likely to be searched - no food is allowed to be brought into the Taj Mahal.
Although you might be stopping at the Taj Mahal via New Delhi, the nearby city of Agra is worth a visit, too. It's easy to combine your Taj Mahal trip with a tour to Akhbar's fort and the ghost town of Fatehpur Sikri.
- When should I visit?
- Open from sunrise to sunset daily, closed on Fridays.
- Is it expensive?
- Adult tickets start at just Rs710 (about $11) but go up once you add in tour packages and transportation.
- Will I need a guide?
- The Taj Mahal is one place where a guide will enhance your experience ten-fold. Look at a few different options in order to find the experience that works best for your group.
- How to get there
- Check trains departing from Agra for the easiest route.
- Additional information
- Ticket prices vary for domestic versus foreign visitors, but children under 15 are always free.
- Tickets can be purchased at the Western and Southern gates, and about 750 meters from the Eastern gate.
What people are saying about Taj Mahal
The drive with our lovely driver Meher to Taj Mahal from Delhi was very pleasant&calm. We stopped both times on the way, were treated a chai and chatted with Meher (made us fan of Punjabi Singer Teri Mitti & aware of our environment & beautiful views and animals around) In Agra our Tourguide Mohammad Rafeeq joined us very welcoming, got us in smoothly & was at all time very attentive. You could tell that Mohammed is very proud of his heritage & absolutely passionate about his job. He was very knowledgeable of the history of the Taj Mahal & gave us deep insights. Not only was Mohammed an excellent tourguide (very interesting facts but presented in such an entertaining way), he also is a super talented photographer - by far the most beautiful pictures we have of our India trip. Thanks to Mohammed we were able to dive in the spirit of this wonderful country, its history and of course of the beautiful Taj Mahal - we were absolutely blown away. Thank you Meher & thank you Mohammad! :)
Aman was a wonderful guide! He gave us a lot of history about the Taj Mahal and guides us through the best way to experience the Taj Mahal. Next he asked us our preference on visiting baby Taj or Fort Agra. We chose the baby Taj and were not disappointed! It's beautiful as well. And Aman took fantastic photos of us in the best spots. After visiting, we saw how the the semiprecious gemstones were inlayed in the white marble. The entire day was a great learning opportunity and a splendid day of seeing a wonder of the world.
I visit India very often, if I am travelling with friend, I always make we make a whistle stop to the Taj and Agra Fort. Landing in Delhi at midnight, we were promptly pick up at 3am. Arriving into Agra bu 6h30. We were guided around the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort - with an interesting young guide. We saw everything we need to, without being forced to visit shops or factories. We left and were back around the pool in Delhi by 15h30. There is no need to spend any more time in Agra. It was the perfect trip!
Our guide was thorough and clear. Very good English. There were some logistical hiccups at the outset (the guide was unaware that we both paid fully in advance as well as paid an additonal $100 for specific drop off instructions) but we got it all ironed out. He also was very adamant that we left several reviews for him which was a bit strange but overall we were very pleased with the day.
I had the opportunity to take this day trip with Saeed from Keeper Landwey and it was a real pleasure. His endless knowledge is just incredible. He was also very kind and patient regarding my requests (lunch, historical questions, architectural questions, etc..). Do yourself a favour and book a trip with Saeed.