If you’ve heard anything about Incredible India and it’s ravishing tourism- a trip to India will definitely be incomplete without a visit to one of the most breathtaking architectural brilliance India has to offer. Considered one of the world’s seven wonders, the Taj attracts millions of tourists from around the world. In fact, this historical excellence is famous even amongst Indians seeking a quick recreational trip amidst their busy routines. However, the brilliance of the Taj does come with certain drawbacks, for instance, you might get caught up in one of those days when the crowd is simply over the moon, or lack of proper knowledge about the historical wonder may limit you from truly connecting with the destination.
We have, hence, streamlined the top 15 most useful tips that you should keep in mind when planning for a visit to the great grand Taj Mahal.
- Do your homework
The Taj Mahal is not just an architectural beauty but a palace that was built on the sheer foundation of love. The binding tale of Emperor Shah Jahan and his beloved Mumtaz Mahal stays forever engraved within the palace walls, which took an extraordinary 22 years to build using manual labor and unmatched creativity. The architecture is phenomenal with a stupefying mention going to the incredible marble use that makes the Taj Mahal such a sight. The historical tale of love doesn’t end here, and that’s for you to find out. Researching the stories, myths, and rumors veiling the architectural elegance will make your trip 3X interesting.
- Choose your guide tactfully
The Taj is an exotic monument that stretches wide and to cover all the interesting bits while trying not to get lost- a guide may be in tow. You will be handed a tour map on purchasing the Entry Fee to the Taj. However, the fee will vary if you’re not a local. You can either rely on yourself or your traveling team/partner for directions or hire an expert travel agency in India to take care of all the miscellaneous bits leading up to your Taj visit. Try not to opt for the guides that are in front of the monument since they tend to be a bit pricey.
- Know when to go
Traveling favorite in the off-season is the best way to beat the crowd and enjoy the stupendous monument. However, the off-season tends to be during the summer, i.e, during June-September. The heat at this time can be quite brutal although. The best season for a Taj Visit is from October-March and the best time of the day would be early morning. Catch the sunrise if possible or be present at the entry gate right when it’s opening to avoid getting caught up in a crowd
- No dress code sensitivity
You don’t need a particular dress code for the Taj. You can simply put on your comfortable everyday wear. However, shoes are not allowed in the monument and you may risk losing your favorite pair in the crowd. Dress accordingly.
- Know your gates
The crowd you experience will heavily depend on the gateway you choose to enter the monument. Usually, there is a huge surge of tourists at the gateway and the crowd would be quite difficult to handle. There are particularly three gates- the East, West, and South gate. The East and west gates would preferably be closer to your hotels, but the south gate is nearby to a local market, which probably means it’ll be the most difficult game of all.
- What to do for lunch?
Snacks, lunches, and other edibles, including personal water bottles are not allowed in the monument. You’ll be provided with a water bottle at the entry gate. It’s always best for you to book with a travel agency during times like this since they come with extra perks like luncheons in popular eateries as a part of their tour package.
- Basic Photography only
Tripods are not allowed inside the building and hence it is important that you carry no extravagant shooting gear. A simple DSLR or a proper phone camera can do wonders at times like this.
- Did you know about the full moon opening?
The Taj was hand-chiseled out of pure translucent marble which is why during a full moon night, you can actually see the marble glow against the moonlight- a view that’s mesmerizingly spectacular. The Taj, hence, allows night tours during this time but you must book the Full Moon Opening tour beforehand since it is an invitees only party.
- The golden triangle may not be a bad idea
Many tourism companies offer you the golden triangle, which is typically a route that covers New Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. If you’re a solo traveler or just incredibly interested in Indian scenic beauty- taking this route to the Taj is not that bad an idea. You might end up experiencing something more than you’ve imagined.
- Devise a plan to stay connected with your travel team
It’s natural for you to get detached from your traveling team/partner in the huge crowd and that’s why you need to devise a proper back-up plan for times like this so you don’t find yourself lost. Decide a meet-up spot, for instance, a particular gate or a monument entrance beforehand.
- You can’t carry certain items inside with you
This can be anything from a deck of cards to water bottles or a pack of gum. There is a local shop adjacent to the monument that has lockers where you can store your item until you get out but expect the shop owners to try and sell you some of their items when you go back to collect. The best at situations like this is to ask your travel agency car to stop at the nearest parking and you can leave your bags in the car safe, while you enjoy the ravishing architecture within.
- The less crowded sections yield the best-looking pictures
The crowd is always overwhelming, but if you take the time out to search for unconventional spots within the monument, you will find many small sweet spots where the view is clear and the crowd, less. Make use of these areas, such as the Taj view from the river Yamuna side, or photograph the gates on your way out.
- Don’t forget the neighboring architectural excellence
While the Taj Mahal definitely steals the show, there are many minuscule architectural flashes of brilliance that might appease you if you take the time out to look for it. They are within 3 km of the main destination. Don’t miss out on the baby Taj, red Agra Fort, or the Mehtab Bagh Gardens while you’re there.
- Get your ride sorted beforehand
The more crowded a location, the difficult it’ll be to get yourself a ride to and from the Taj. Booking agencies offering same day Agra tour from Delhi and other locations not only help you plan your trip in a meticulous manner but also provides extra perks like a.c cabs for pick up and drop services.
- There’s more to Agra
Take out time in your hand to visit Agra. Post your trip to the Taj, you can check out some of the culturally exquisite locations in and around the city. Even though it’s best advised that you take the whole day and plan the trip instead of planning a sleepover in Agra.