My friend Natalia from Brazil was recently in India where she happened to visit the Taj Mahal along with other places in India. She sent me her account of her visit along with some of her photos that she took on her visit. This is the personal account of her visit to the glorious Taj Mahal. I hope you will like it and I hope her story will convince you to visit this amazing Indian monument of love.
Visit to the Taj Mahal by Natalia…
The first tip I got about the Taj Mahal was: don’t miss it! The second tip I got about the Taj Mahal was: go with someone you love.
I’d started my day in Agra visiting the Agra Fort, which is a walled city with both Hindu and Islamic architecture. It was damn hot and there were not so many spots to hide ourselves from the sun, but I still took my time to appreciate the view (you can see the Taj Mahal from there, to have just a glimpse of what is about to come).
The Taj Mahal itself is 2 km away from the Agra Fort. If you’re going by car or bus, you will need to park a bit far and take a rickshaw until the gates.
Attention: You can’t buy the tickets at the gates/entrance; you will need to buy them at the parking lot. As almost every place in India, the prices are totally different for foreigners and for Indians (Indian National Rupee (INR) 750 and INR 20). This means that foreign tourists have to Rupees 750 while Indians have to pay Rupees 20. Don’t try to play smart and pass by Indian to get the lower price; the securities are well-trained and very used to all kinds of situation. Besides, INR 700 (around $14) is a fair place for the most famous tourist place of the Incredible India. Don’t worry, it will be worth it.
Despite of what some foreigners I know think, the Taj Mahal is not a temple, and it’s a mausoleum. It was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third and favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. She died giving birth to their 14th child. There’s a myth that says Shah Jahan planned to build another mausoleum for himself in black marble, across the Yamuna River, but he died and his son didn’t carry on with the project. The Taj Mahal incorporates both Persian and Mughal architecture using white marble with semi-precious stones.
Although I had seen pictures of the Taj before, but I was certainly not prepared for how big the building was. No wonder it’s known as the biggest proof of love in the world. The reflecting water and the tall trees completed postcard scenery I’ll never forget. I did a big mistake and got there on a really hot day and during the afternoon, so there were a LOT of people and you have to fight your way to take a picture. I’d prefer to go during sunrise and get a little closer to the serene and lovely feeling of being there, finally staring at the most known symbol of India.
Inside the Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan’s tomb is placed beside his wife’s. His tomb is bigger than his wife’s and the only part of the complex that it’s not symmetric. You are not allowed to take photos inside, but to be honest the outside is way more interesting and impressive. For me, it was way more interesting just to walk around and take a view of the gardens from above. I’ve found myself going to the exit, but always looking behind me just to check a little bit more of the big Taj Mahal.
When you walk back to the parking lot again, there are a lot of small stores where you can buy souvenirs and other things in marble. I got a baby-Taj Mahal for only 200 Rupees. I’m that kind of souvenir-crazy person and India is a great place for shopping. More than this, who wouldn’t want to take a little something home to remind you of one of the most amazing places in the globe?
Finally correcting myself: The Taj Mahal is not only a place, it’s an experience..