Agra City and the Taj Mahal Up Close

Probably the most Significant – recognized Symbol of Indian Architecture is the Taj Mahal , of Agra, Uttar Pradesh State, Central India.  The monument was conceived out of the love of the king Shah Jahan for his deceased wife,  Mumtaz Mahal . Repeatedly mistaken as a temple or a mosque, Taj Mahal is in fact a Mausoleum, where the remains of Mumtaz Mahal, and the King , are buried , right at the center of the marble building. The Taj Mahal is widely recognized as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.

Height: 171 m
Architectural Style: Mughal architecture
Architects: Ustad Ahmad Lahouri, Ustad Isa ( www. wikipedia .com )

Taj Mahal at 7 am, just in time when visitors start coming in.

Taj Mahal at 7 am, just in time when visitors start coming in.

Taj Mahal is located at the center of Agra city , in fact, the industry of this city is mainly on tourism revolving around the Heritage Complex. Agra is a fairly smaller city, as compared to Kolkata or Delhi. And being a touristic place, be aware of the overpriced touts and souvenir vendors around the perimeter of the complex. Better buy entrance tickets at legitimate agencies , or at the complex itself.

Entry to Taj Requires a ticket of 750 INR ( 13 USD ) , which can be purchased from the three entranceways to the complex , namely , West Gate , South Gate ( near Taj Ganj and Market ) , and the East Gate ( near shilpgram , the more quiet side of Agra where nice hotels are located ).   Any Hotel and Guesthouse in Agra can also assist you with this.

Best Time to Visit : Sunrise, at around 7 am. When tourist crowds are minimal. By 9 am, locals came flocking in.

When Entering Taj, do note that food , beverages, pens, cigarettes, lighters , Video recorder and even tripods are forbidden inside the complex. Still cameras and cellphones are allowed after security check.

Entrance Gate to Taj Mahal Complex

Entrance Gate to Taj Mahal Complex

Obligatory Bench Shot , where Lady Diana once  Took hers during the 80's

Obligatory Bench Shot , where Lady Diana once Took hers during the 80’s

Taj Mahal , photogenic on every angle/

Taj Mahal , photogenic on every angle/

View of the complex entrance way, when standing righr at the grounds of the tomb

View of the complex entrance way, when standing righr at the grounds of the tomb

Details of Taj Tomb.

Details of Taj Tomb.

hand carved frescos  on  all sides the monument

hand carved frescos on all sides the monument

Back side view of Taj, Showing the Mosque at the right .

Back side view of Taj, Showing the Mosque at the right .

The Marble Grounds of the tomb is well taken care of. Before stepping on the main tomb structure, Shoes should be wrapped with fabric. which is handed over to you with the ticket.

The Marble Grounds of the tomb is well taken care of. Before stepping on the main tomb structure, Shoes should be wrapped with fabric. which is handed over to you with the ticket.

Moulding designs on the walls of the tomb. These designs are made of cut out stones , and not paint.

Moulding designs on the walls of the tomb. These designs are made of cut out stones , and not paint.

Details of Taj's Hand carved Stone frescos

Details of Taj’s Hand carved Stone frescos

Reflection of Taj on my Sunglasses , as composed by the indian local who helped me take epic jump shots .

Reflection of Taj on my Sunglasses , as composed by the indian local who helped me take epic jump shots .

Close up of Taj Mahal Wall Frescos made of semi precious stones, skilfully carved by hand.  I specifically took this shot of a broken piece , to prove its solid material.

Close up of Taj Mahal Wall Frescos made of semi precious stones, skilfully carved by hand. I specifically took this shot of a broken piece , to prove its solid material.

The Majestic Taj at around 9 am. fully kissed by the morning sun

The Majestic Taj at around 9 am. fully kissed by the morning sun

The Classy 5 star Hotel of The Oberoi Amarvilas Agra  is also worth a visit , which is located within the area of Taj Mahal East Gate and Shilpgram.  For an extra Budget, it would be nice to cool down at this hotel for coffee or tea, right after  visiting Taj complex.

The Oberoi Amarvilas Agra pool side. With the towers of the Taj peeping from the lush treepark surrounding it.

The Oberoi Amarvilas Agra pool side. With the towers of the Taj peeping from the lush treepark surrounding it.

The Oberoi Amarvilas Agra entrance way

The Oberoi Amarvilas Agra entrance way

camel ride from Taj Complex to The Oberoi Amarvilas Agra

camel ride from Taj Complex to The Oberoi Amarvilas Agra

The Agra Fort  , another stunning Landmark of the City .

Entrance Fee : 300 INR ( 5 USD )

Best time to visit : In the afternoon, after Taj Mahal

Entrance way to the Red Fort, Agra .

Entrance way to the Agra Fort

Red Fort Agra. another stunning Architectural landmark of Agra, Uttar Pradesh State, India

Agra Fort. another stunning Architectural landmark of Agra, Uttar Pradesh State, India

Details of the Red Fort Palace

Details of the Agra Fort Palace

Intricate Gardens of the Red Fort Palace, Agra

Intricate Gardens of the Agra Fort Palace, Agra

Play of landscape colors

Play of landscape colors

Typical Mughal Archway. Common All over Inda.

Typical Mughal Archway. Common All over Inda.

Entrance way to the Fort

Entrance way to the Fort

Locals paying homage to the Palace of Agra fort

Locals paying homage to the Palace of Agra fort

Agra Fort

Agra Fort

Vegetarian momo's . (indian dumplings )

Vegetarian momo’s . (indian dumplings )

Chow mien at the guesthouse i stayed, which was very good.

Chow mien at the guesthouse i stayed, which was very good.

Having loads of spice powders and condiments is a usual sight when dining in  India.  For them, life is more than just Salt and pepper.

Having loads of spice powders and condiments is a usual sight when dining in India. For them, life is more than just Salt and pepper.

 

Other than these two monuments, and the Classy Amarvilla 5 star Hotel,  theres nothing else to See in Agra City  itself. I actually find the restaurants there very limited and overpriced . And traveling by rickshaw is total rip off. A Two nights stay at this city will suffice.

Where I stayed :

Friends Paying Guesthouse , 10 minutes walk to Taj Mahal East Gate  , the quiet side of Agra. Rooms are at around 10 usd for two people . This is already a good deal considering the location of the guesthouse , which is just minutes away from the Taj.

Landmark ( ShilpGram complex , where tickets to Taj Mahal East Gate are sold )  Upon Arriving in Agra, tell your rickshaw to bring you at ShilpGram / Taj Mahal East Gate, and walk to the guesthouse with google map. it is impossible to miss.

 

Getting To Agra :

5 hours Train From Delhi , or 4 hours Train from Jaipur .  ( Agra somewhere almost halfway between the two. )  AC Train Ticket  at around 700 INR ( 12 usd )  via the hotel or agency , or cheap sleeper’s ticket  at 255 INR (4 usd) via online , which is more difficult to secure.

I do not recommend getting on a day trip bus as it will take much of your time.

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One response to “Agra City and the Taj Mahal Up Close

  1. hello sir, Princess Diana visited Taj Mahal, February 11, 1992 not in 80’s. It was humanitarian visit, after a visit to Mother Teresa’s Hospice for the Sick and Dying in Calcutta.

    Like

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