Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders and designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you are visiting India’s capital city, New Delhi, you need to come and visit Taj Mahal. Otherwise, it feels like you haven’t visited India just yet. Taj Mahal is located in Agra city, which takes around 2-3 hour drive from New Delhi.
So where is Agra?
Agra city is on the northwest of New Delhi. The thing that you will be surprised once arrived is that the whole town is pretty much the same. It’s old and high in population density but it’s rich with world’s heritage such as Taj Mahal, Agra Fort.
How to get to Agra City
Commercially registered private taxi: It’s relatively easy to hire a private taxi from Delhi and more convenient to travel around Agra town because you can also visit Agra Fort, Baby Taj and etc. So far, my experience with Mr. Ramesh, my driver was the best. You can contact him here.
Shatabdi Express or Railway: This is a good option. Please check out the schedule leaving Delhi to Agra here. You can then hire a private tuk tuk inside Agra city later.
How about the entrance fee?
First of all, the fee is different depending on where you come from. The standard entrance fee is 1000 Indian Rupee and when you get in the line, you’ll find out male and female will have get on separate line. The fee is 510 Indian Rupee if you are from BIMSTEC countries that include Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal. You will be given a bottle of water and shoes cover. You will also be approached by a professional guide there too. If you aren’t interested, just say no.
Time for security checkup
After passing the entrance, you’ll be faced with security check up. Please make sure you don’t carry snacks, cigarettes, lighters along or they will get tossed away. If your bags are too big, there is a chance that you will have to deposit your bags so my driver suggested me to leave all the bags if possible.
Moving on to the next area, you will see intersection. To the left, it’s your destination, Taj Mahal. To the right, it looks kinda like a market. If you are a photo craze, before moving past the arch, make sure you frame Taj Mahal well. Here is the outcome.
We were unlucky to find out that Taj Mahal has been under renovation since 2014. There is a news going around that the restoration will be completed in March 2018. Keep counting until 2019 to save yourself. Despite the renovation, a lot of people are still coming to see this wonder of the world.
There we are, Taj Mahal is so big, just right ahead of us now. This is a good spot for taking people photos. Selfies, couple, family. This is the right spot. Take a moment and capture it. If you are lucky and the sunshine is good and the sky is clear, probably you will see the reflection of Taj Mahal like this.
Before moving inside Taj Mahal, you will need to wear a shoes cover now. Be careful, it’s a bit slippery walking with it. Furthermore, if you are on bare-feet, you can probably feel the heat of India climate on your feet. Now enjoy the moment in Taj Mahal of India.
Photographing inside is prohibited so after taking a quick tour of the palace, we left it. On the way back, we found these people were walking past us. We believe they were carrying someone’s body here.
Let me remind you that the weather is very hot even in September. My visit on 29th Aug is already hot enough that makes me super dehydrated. Don’t talk about summertime. The temperature could go up to 50 Celsius degrees (122 Fahrenheit degrees) in March-April. That could have killed someone.
Tips for buying souvenirs
When getting approached by kids selling souvenirs, make sure you bargain as much as you can. I bought a snowball souvenir for 200 Indian Rupee but my friend bought it for 300 Indian Rupee. At last, my brother bought it for ONLY 100 Indian Rupee. This is indeed a good price. The poverty of people in Agra is considerably high so if you are not on tight budget, just buy a few things from those kids as to help feed them.