Taj Mahal is unarguably the most recognizable monument of India. You can that Taj Mahal is the poster place of Indian Tourism. It has been described by Rabindranath Tagore as a ‘Teardrop on cheeks of eternity’. Throughout the world, Taj Mahal is known as a symbol of Eternal love. Millions of travelers from parts of the world and India flock to Agra to witness this grand monument. Built from white marble, Taj Mahal outshines the grandest of monuments from all across the world. The reason it is one of the wonders of the world.
If you are visiting India, then spot is one that must be included in your itinerary. If you reside in India and haven’t seen Taj Mahal, then the first thing you must do is plan a trip to Agra. For people who have visited this magnificent monument, there is no specific count on how many times you can visit it.
In this blog we will familiarize you with everything that you need to know about Taj Mahal.
A brief History of Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal was built in the memory of Third wife of Shah Jahan the Mughal Emperor, named Mumtaz Mahal. Mumtaz Mahal died while giving birth to the 14th child of Shah Jahan. It is estimated that around 20,000 workers were employed to build Taj Mahal, from India and Central Asia. It is rumored that the workers of the Taj Mahal were chopped off their thumbs by the Kingdom so that a monument like this could never be made again. The entire monument and the premises took whopping 20 years to be built. The monument was made from white marble and was studded with thousands of semi precious stones. After the death of Shah Jahan in 1666 he was buried besides his beloved wives tomb.
During the last days of his life, Shah Jahan was imprisoned in the Agra Fort by his son Aurangzeb who took over the reigns of Mughal Empire. The chamber where he was imprisoned had a view of the monument, which he used to see and remember his beloved wife.
In 18th century the monument was raided by the Jat Rulers of Bharatpur who plundered the site. Then again in the Revolution of 1857, the monument suffered damage from the British army, who even style the semi precious stones from the monument. It was in the early 20th century that the monument underwent renovation work under the command of Lord Curzon the then viceroy of India.
It is estimated that the cost of building the Taj Mahal back in those days was around 32 Million Rupee which in today’s time would be around 1 Billion Dollars.
Top things to see in Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal is built from white marble that was sourced from the quarries of Markana in Rajasthan. Taj Mahal is built in a blend of Islamic, Persian, and Indian style of architecture.
The entire premise of the Taj Mahal is spectacular and houses many things to see. Some of the top highlights of your exploration must include Plinth on which the monument is built, The Marble Platform that has the tomb chamber, The Pishtaqs and Monumental Porches, the Four Minarets, The Riverfront Terrace which is the most beautiful riverfront terrace built by Mughals, The Roof Terrace, The Main Finial. The monument is adorned with Rauza I Munauwara décor, which is quite Picture worthy.
Taj Mahal Garden
The main monument of Taj Mahal is surrounded by 980 Square feet of Mughal Gardens, or known as Charbagh. It is one thing you cannot miss while visiting here. There is a marble water tank which is placed between the main gate and the site of the tomb, which further adds to the beauty of premises. The original gardens of Taj Mahal were inspired from the Persian Gardens.
Taj Mahal Museum
Inside the premises there is also a small Museum that houses many artifacts and paintings from the Mughal Era. One of the prized possession of this museum is the ivory portrait of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. Another unique item if this museum are the Caledon plates that break into pieces if poisoned food is served on them.
Inside the premises you will find two red sandstone buildings that compliment the beauty of Taj Mahal, which are the mosque in the west, an in the east what used to be a guesthouse.
On the Tomb of Mumtaz Mahal the 99 names of Allah are inscribed, in calligraphy. In fact throughout the premises you will find calligraphy work inscribed on the walls, comprised Islamic References or quotes from the Holy Quran.
When visiting Taj Mahal, you must take a picture from the Diana’s bench. You might have heard the name first time, but it is the same bench from where every person gets a picture clicked of themselves with Taj Mahal in backdrop. All the leading personalities get a picture clicked from there.
How long will it take to tour Taj Mahal
It will take few hours to visit the Taj Mahal in depth. However if you want to indulge in every detail of this monument, and enjoy walks in its gardens, then keep one day aside for touring Taj Mahal.
It is to be taken note of that the airport of Agra is located at a distance of around 10 kilometer from the site of Taj Mahal. By Rail, you can reach Agra and descend down in its main station which goes by the name of Agra Cantonment. There are two more stations in Agra that go by the name of Raja ki Mandi and Agra Fort. By Road then best way to come to Agra is through Delhi, and the ISBT of Agra is well connected with other cities through its bus services.
Best Time to visit
It is estimated that around 7 to 8 Millions of Visitors come to see Taj Mahal every year. It is also listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The best time to visit Taj Mahal is in early mornings, when there is a little hue in the air, and there is sunrise in the backdrop. The monument also looks very beautiful during the moments of twilight before the night creeps in.
The best time to visit Agra is during the months of winters, when the climate is cool and the rainfall has passed away. It is between November and March. The day time viewing of the Taj Mahal can be done in between 8AM to 5PM. During night the monument can be visited between 8:30PM to 12:30AM. However the travelers must take a note that night time viewing of Taj Mahal is only admissible during the full moon week of the month which lasts for 5 nights.
Price of Tickets for entering Taj Mahal
For foreign tourists the price of tickets is kept around 1100 Rupee. Then citizens of SAARC Countries need to pay only 500 Rupee. For Indian Residents the price is only 40 Rupee. The tickets to enter Taj Mahal can be bought from three counters in the premises which are Taj Mahal Eastern Gate, Taj Mahal Western Gate, and Taj Mahal Southern Gate.
Taj Mahal is open on all days of the week except the Fridays. This is something you should take a note of, if you are planning to visit the city on weekends.
Taking a Guide is a good idea
Majority of the tourists destination in Agra have tourist guides that you can hire at the premises, and Taj Mahal is no exception. When visiting Taj Mahal, you should take a guide with you as these guides have all the information about the monument and its history in detail. You get to know about the more interesting facts about the monument from these guides. They also know the best spots from where you can click awe inspiring pictures best suited for your social media handles.
Then guides can also help you with details about shopping near the Taj Mahal premise, and will guide you to the best shops for buying souvenirs. You can hire a Tourist guide with the help of your hotel staff, or you can also get them at the Taj Mahal Gates. There also are Government approved tour guides that you can hire.
There nothing else like the Taj Mahal!