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10 things you didn’t know about Taj Mahal, the monument of love
Friday, February 13th, 2015

This is the month of love. There is no destination more suited to celebrate love than our very own marble wonder – the Taj Mahal. The monument epitomizes the undying love and devotion of Shah Jahan towards his deceased Queen Mumtaz Mahal, and serves as the eternal resting grounds for both.

Today, the beauty and significance of the Taj Mahal are widely celebrated. But there are still some unique stories about the monument that remains veiled from us. We compiled such stories about the Taj Mahal along with other key facts and information, which will come in handy for visitors.

10 facts about Taj Mahal you didn't know

3 Taj Mahal Facts

  • Love and Paradise – It is widely known and believed that the foundation of the Taj is love.  Built in the memory of his beloved queen by a bereaved king, the Taj Mahal is still regarded as man’s greatest tribute to love. However the inspiration behind the establishment of the structure is not singular, rather it also loosely alludes to the idea of paradise in Islam. This is best illustrated in the compound’s regal entrance – the Darwaza-i Rauza.
  • Amalgamation of cultures – A Mughal King’s tribute to his departed queen, this monument is however is not purely Mughal in its architectural makeup. The influences include Persian, Hindu, Turkish, and Islamic features. The Taj is a melting pot of different cultures when it comes to structural design.
  • Changing Colours of Taj – Whenever we hear the name ‘Taj Mahal’, we get the mental image of a stunning white marble monument, but not everyone knows that Taj Mahal actually changes its colours depending on the time of the day. Pretty in pink at sunrise, white as snow in the day and a golden stunner under moonlight – the Taj Mahal never ceases to surprise.

Taj Mahal Information

  • Timings – The Taj Mahal is open to visitors from 06:00 a.m. to 19:00 p.m. on weekdays, excluding Fridays as on this day the mosque at the complex is opened up to the public for prayers from 12:00 p.m. to 14:00 p.m. Night visits are allowed on Full Moon nights (2 days before and after) from 8:30 PM to 12:30 AM.
  •  Things you can carry – Taj Mahal is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world, and therefore, security is extremely tight around the complex.  Owing to such concerns, visitors are allowed to carry only 5 items with them within the grounds, these are: small purses, mobile phones, personal video cameras, still cameras and drinking water in small transparent bottles.
  • Shoes – Visitors are not allowed to wear their own shoes within the grounds hence they have to leave them out. We have heard that foreign tourists are handed out shoes by the authorities that can be worn within the complex, but Indian visitors are not always given the same.
  • Tickets – The monument has a two tier ticket pricing system whereby Indian citizens are issued substantially cheaper tickets than the foreign visitors. Tickets for foreign visitors are priced at Rs 750 (both day and night visit), for citizens from SAARC or BIMSTEC countries at Rs.510, Indians pay Rs.20 for day visit and Rs.510 for night visit, children below 15 enter for free in the day but night visit tickets cost Rs.500. Entry free at all times for children below the age of 3.
  • Best time to visit – Though open around the year, the perfect time to visit is between October and March, when the scorching heat of the summers is long gone.

Facts to remember while visiting Taj Mahal

  • Dressing Etiquette – Agra gets very hot around summer, so a visitor around this time might be tempted to wear shorts and tank tops. But it would be prudent to wear Capri pants rather than shorts and light t-shirts covering one’s shoulders rather than tank tops.
  • PDA – You might get swayed by the romance in the air while at the monument which epitomizes love, but owing to certain social constructs and socially expected behaviour and the fact that the grounds bears religious connotations for some, public displays of affection, even the most innocent ones like a simple peck on the check or a hug, are best left out.
  • Personal Belongings – Since shoes are not allowed inside, it is best to wear inexpensive footwear to the complex, just to ensure that in case they go missing you are not at a loss. Furthermore, for foreign nationals who need to carry passport or other important papers, it is best to keep them securely in your pockets or carry them in a fanny pack.

Other Attractions near Agra

Agra has more to it than Taj Mahal though it is seldom acknowledged. One of the most interesting attractions is the one time capital of King Akbar’s kingdom – Fatehpur Sikri (40 kms away). Another is the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary at Keoladeo Ghana National Park (55 kms away). The Agra Palace and Akbar’s Mausoleum at Sikandra are must-see sites too.

Popular Destinations nearby

Within close vicinity of Taj Mahal, Agra are Delhi and Jaipur. The nearness of these two destinations not only provides us with several more tourist destinations, but also with better staying options than those available in Agra.

Where to stay

  • Delhi – Some of the best places to stay in South Delhi include the luxury B&Bs like Colonel’s Retreat, B-Nineteen and G-49 B&B.
  • Jaipur – One of the most colourful and thriving holiday destinations of India, Jaipur has a number of boutique and luxury hotels along with spa resorts to delight its visitors. Some of the finest establishments among this list include previous havelis and or heritage bungalows, which have been, restored as hotels e.g. Samode Haveli and Royal Heritage Haveli. There are also a few homestays and spa resorts present in the city like Tree of life Resort and Spa and Dewa Rawatsar (family boutique homestay).

What to see

  • Delhi – The city is brimming with numerous tourist attractions, the most popular among which are the Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb, The Lotus Temple, The Red Fort, Hauz Khas Village, Purana Qila, Jantar Mantar, Rajghat and Lutyen’s Delhi i.e. India Gate and Rajpath, Lodhi Gardens, Sansad Bhavan, Connaught Place and Rashtrapati Bhavan.
  • Jaipur – A historic city with a regal past Jaipur is dotted with royal and heritage destinations. The most popular tourist destinations of the pink city include Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, Amer Fort, The City Palace, Nahargarh Fort, Jaigarh Fort.

How to Reach Agra

  • From Delhi – Agra is easily accessible from Delhi by trains in a couple of hours. The trains which run the line are Malwa Express, Bhopal Shatabdi, Gondwana Express, Bhopal Express, Jabalpur – Jammutawi Express, etc. The luxury train Palace on Wheels also makes a stop here.

Delhi and Agra are also well connected by roads and Agra is only 204 km away from the capital. It falls on the crossroads of NH (National Highway) 2, 3 and 11 and plenty of buses and taxis are available for commuting between these two destinations.

  • From Jaipur – Agra is about 286 Kms away from Jaipur and can be reached by either trains or buses. The Marudhar Express, Pratap Express, Ibadat Express and Af Aii intercity runs between Jaipur and Agra and the transit time is about less than 7hrs. While state buses and taxis ply the roadways regularly and the NH 11 can be taken for such a road trip. Book train tickets at irctc.co.in or cleartrip.com.

Book train tickets at irctc.co.in or cleartrip.com and bus tickets at redbus.in.

 Picture Courtesy: Wikepedia


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Posted by Sudha at 7:23 pm
1 comments
    Comments ( 1 1)
  • manoj yadav

    March 30, 2017

    i love taj

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About me

The wise man travels to discover himself - JR Lowell

 

My name is Sudha Mathew. I'm an ex-banker who quit the rat race after a decade to follow my passion for travel and to combine it with my experience in understanding client requirements and exceeding their expectations.

 

While our content is mostly about the holiday experience, the accommodation and services, there's so much more to a journey. I have discovered a whole new me through travel. So I've reserved this corner of the website to share the unexpected aspects of travel. This space is also to hear from you about your journeys and discoveries. Bon Voyage!

 
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