Instead of writing about India’s most famous monument we thought it would be best to just post some pictures…. we had quite a few so have worked hard to reduce the amount to a reasonable level so you don’t pass out half way through!
The Taj is in the city of Agra – not the most pleasant of places to spend time! Despite having the feeling you have seen the Taj a million times already, its symmetry, design and grandeur doesn’t fail to impress. Considered the “jewel of Muslim art in India” it combined elements from Indian, Persian, Ottoman and Islamic architectural styles….
Although beautiful, the visiting experience is hardly smooth or enjoyable until you are actually inside!
If you do make it to the end then congratulations 🙂
Despite 500r per foreigner ticket going to the ‘Agra Development Authority’ the area around is a stinking mess. This is the ‘new’ road that approached the east gate. The 1km walk from the ticket office to the entrance is a gauntlet of hustlers, scam artists and people touting for business amongst the strong stench of open sewers and piss soaked streets.
The ticket office where you pay 37.5 times the price of an Indian tourist… this would be a bit more bearable if each of the many members of staff didn’t ask for ‘tips’ every step of the process…
A list of prohibited items at the ticket office, shame camera accessories are not listed, this may have saved a 2km walk back to use a locker. As you can see, the Taj may be beautiful, but the experience visiting is hardly pleasant considering the price and fame of the building!
Finally when you have been searched twice, walked 3km and spent 10 minutes arguing that yes your ticket has been stamped but no we have not been in as we were turned away to deposit our spare camera batteries in the ticket office…
Our first glimpse!
Of course, this is the most common view of the Taj. You could be forgiven for thinking the building is 2D, pictures from other angles seem quite rare!
Built between 1632 and 1654 it took 22 years to complete. It required 20,000 people and 1000 elephants.
Although the designer was from Persia, specialist workers were bought in from Syria, Afghanistan, Central Asia and across India.
Parrots here are as common as pigeons in London. We never get bored of seeing them!
Shah Jahan built the Taj after his third wife died during the birth of their 14th child. Said to be the ultimate display of grief/love it contains her tomb.
Being India’s most well known tourist attraction, security is quite tight.
The tomb is the central focus and most famous part of the complex.
The Taj is estimated to have cost 32 million Rupees at the time – about $1 Billion today!
The marble used to build the Taj came from Rajasthan.
The outside is covered in intricate carvings.
Nope, we have no idea what a wazoo is either!
The buildings either side are impressive in their own way, this one is a functioning mosque (which is why the Taj is closed on Fridays).
Again it is intricately carved throughout.
The entrance and inside has verses from the Quran, the writing is slightly larger at the top than the bottom so the text appears to be the same size.
Perhaps one of the most opulent tombs in the world?
You are not allowed to linger, guards with whistles hurry you along if you stop!
28 different types of precious and semi precious stones form across Asia were used as inlays,.
The minarets lean slightly away from the tomb so should they fall they would not damage it.
If you don’t want to visit India to see the real Taj then you have two options….
You could go to Bangladesh, in 2008 a Bangladeshi filmmaker spent $58 million to build a replica….
… or if you waited a few years then you could go to Dubai where they are building a luxury hotel and shopping mall that will be 4 x the size of the original?!
A burial place for the favourite servant.
With over 3 million visitors per year, you are unlikely to have the place to yourself! It was getting particularly busy as we left.
Enjoying a drink on a rooftop cafe nearby.
At another sunset!
A view from behind.
Despite the crowded business of Agra, the other side of the river is fairly quiet and undeveloped.
You are no longer allowed to walk along the river behind the Taj, the area is sealed off with barbed wire.
From Agra fort.
Shah Jahan was overthrown by his son who imprisoned him in Agra fort. From his cell he had this view of the Taj.
Agra has some of the worst air quality in India (and therefore the world)… its not such a pleasant place to spent time.
The ‘backside’ as Indians call it!