Taj Mahal Visitor Guide and Photos.
It's important to remember that the Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays - they are also likely to suddenly close it
to the public for a few hours if someone or other who is apparently "important" turns up and wants to take a look round. Ticket costs for non-Indians are enormous - in November 2014 a
whopping 750 Rupees however luckily you do get disposable shoe covers and a small bottle of water so that's ok. You cannot take much in with you - just basic items such as perhaps money, camera, handbags, possibly your guide book and a bottle
of water - things like rucksacks, cigarettes and lighters etc will not get through the check-point so these need to be left at the left-luggage facility. Note the left-luggage office is located before
reaching the ticket office.
No motorised traffic is allowed on the road leading up to the Taj Mahal's ticket office and entrance gate so you have to leave your coach or auto-rickshaw and walk the last half kilometre. Expect to be pestered by rickshaw drivers who will insist it's a really long walk
but obviously this is not so - you simply stroll along the road between trinket sellers and touts trying to sell you their offerings or be your "guide". In truth a guide is not necessary at all - once inside the entrance there is nothing difficult about spotting the Taj Mahal. The gardens and sometimes wet ponds around it are nice to walk around as are the several buildings - but this is not a really huge area and so you are unlikely to get lost and need a guide to save you.[ Click the thumbnails for a larger picture - use the back button to return to this page. ]
Taj Mahal Entrance Gate
Taj Oxen and cart
Taj Mahal Mosque
Generally about The Taj Mahal (which means Royal Palace) and it's History. From the Chowk-i-Jilo Khana forecourt there is a massive square and arched gateway which leads into the walled complex when instantly one of the world's most famous views appears. In front of the mausoleum there is a formal garden (char Bagh) which has fountains and water channels which were originally supplied from the Yamuna River. The whole area is usually very busy however the side paths are much quieter and very pleasant to walk around - maybe grabbing a bit of shade from under the numerous trees.
A huge square marble platform leads to the mausoleum and at this point shoes must be either removed or covered with provided plastic shoe covers. Inside everything is really crowded and hot and can be extremely smelly (all those sweaty feet) therefore somewhat and perhaps not too pleasant to walk round. Note that the actual coffins are in a crypt below and visitors walk around the cenotaphs on the floor above them.
Taj Mahal side view
The Taj Mahal contains the tomb of Arjumand Bann Begum (Mumtaz Mahal) who was the favourite wife of Emperor Shan Jahan and in fact his tomb is situated alongside hers. The Mahal stands in formal gardens in a terrace beside the Yamuna River - from the terrace there are good views of the river if the air is not to smoggy.
Built between 1631 and 1648 of white marble which was brought in from Makrana in Rajasthan. Floral decorations with a bands of black marble and Arabic calligraphy and beautifully carved screens. On the calligraphic panels the size of the Quranic Verses i.e. the writing increases as the arches get higher - an optical illusion of uniform script. Beautifully proportioned the height of the Taj is equal to the width of the plynth and the height of the facade is equal to the height of the two bulbous domes above it. There are four minarets which are 131 feet high and each is topped with an open octagonal pavilion or Chhatri. The minarets lean slight outwards in case of earthquakes so that in the worse case they would
hopefully not fall on the actual building.
Agra - Jamat Khanan
Agra - Yamuna River
On the west side of the Taj Mahal there is the red sandstone built Taj Mosque and on the Taj Mahal's eastern side there is an exact replica of the Tak Mosque which is known as the Jamat Khanah (Mehman Khanah). As the Jamat Khanah's central arch does not face towards Mecca it cannot be used for prayer.
There is much more about touring in India via our India Travel and Touring Guide Home Page.
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