Who hasn’t always dreamed of visiting the Taj Mahal? Growing up it seemed like the place furtherest away in the world. An exotic location that one could only dream about.
About 2 years ago, my sisters and I read a book called “Beneath A Marble Sky” by John Shors. It rekindled my desire to see the Taj Mahal.
When Jonathan and I knew that we would definitely be going to India, visiting The Taj was the only thing on our wish list that was un-moveable. It was a must. I had hoped to be seeing The Taj with my sisters, but this just means we’ll all have to go back someday.
Jonathan and I left from Jaipur at 6:00am. We took the train to Agra (about 4.5 hours). From there, we were met at the train station by our taxi driver who would show us around Agra, and then drive us back to Delhi. (We wanted to take the train, but it was completely booked, every train, all day.)
Arriving at the gate to the Taj Mahal, you are greeted with a plethora of options. You can either walk, take a bicycle rickshaw, golf cart, or a camel. We decided to walk. It was about a mile. Walking was good. It gave us a chance to see the monkeys.
Then it was time to buy the tickets. There are two types of tickets, those for Indians, and those for Foreigners. Tickets for Indians cost 10 Rupees (about $0.20), for us foreigners, they were 750 Rupees ($17.00).
There are two entrance lines – one for men, and one for women. This was a bit different for me. But, it was because you go through the whole pat-down routine before you can get in.
But, being that we had to pay more, we got to jump to the front of the entrance line (saving us about 10 minutes wait). : )
When we first got in, we took the recommendation of a friend and went to the right instead of down the middle. There were no people off to the side, so we were able to sit and enjoy the sight somewhat alone.
I’m a little embarrassed to say this, but I almost cried when I saw it. It was so beautiful, and having read “Beneath A Marble Sky” really gave me a different appreciation of the Taj.
Built in the 1600s, the Taj Mahal is nearly symmetrical! An engineering feat when you think that they were using elephants and string to build it.
We approached from the side, and took our time outside before going in.
Words cannot describe it.
The beauty, the perfection, the crowds.
We had a great time. We tried to take pictures of ourselves, but, in the end we found someone to take one for us.
We spent 2 hours visiting, in 111 degree F heat, but it was beyond worth it.
We were celebrities at the Taj. Everyone wanted to take their picture with us…again. The funny thing is that no one even asks us our name. So I almost understand how animals at the zoo feel.
From there, our taxi took us directly to our hotel in Delhi – about a 5 hour drive. It was really nice not to have to wait on a train’s schedule. We could go whenever we were ready, and we were very comfortable in an AC car for the long drive.
Our driver for the day cost 4000 Rupees ($90), and he was great! I would definitely recommend the private driver option when traveling to the Taj Mahal.