Taj Mahal


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October 8th 2011
Published: November 29th 2011
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October 6, 2011

No visit to India would be complete to me without seeing the Taj Mahal, and as Sean and Jerlin hadn't been yet it was a perfect opportunity for the four of us to get out of the city and check it out...

Agra is one point of what's known as the Golden Triangle of India, with New Delhi and Jaipur being the other two points. The plan was to drive to Agra and see the Taj Mahal in the morning/early afternoon, then drive to Jaipur to spend the night, get up and visit the Pink City in the morning and then head back to New Delhi in the afternoon...sounded simple enough to me, not exactly as it worked out...

We did get up and on the road around 5:30am, and with the approximate four to five hour drive we figured it would land us there well before lunch...no hiccups here, made it around 10am which was perfect, and after sorting out the rendezvous point with our driver we started out to see this wonder of the world...

Surprisingly to me we walked right up to the ticket booth (there was no one around) and
Sweaty!Sweaty!Sweaty!

Man it was hot...
within minutes we had our tickets and were on our way in the shuttle bus to the Taj Mahal, about a kilometer from the parking lot (I believe no gas vehicles are allowed near the Taj, the shuttle we took was electric...). After passing through the mandatory security checkpoint (where I discovered that camera tripods are not permitted, which prolonged things a bit) we were in and off to see the Taj...

Breathtaking; no other word to describe it really...you come through this building with a high arched gate, and as soon as you step foot in the archway the Taj Mahal comes into view, and it is simply a magnificent sight to behold...made entirely of white marble, the Taj absolutely glows in the reflection of the sun...

Once again I was struck by the fact that there wasn't that many Western tourists here, it seemed to be mostly locals...I figured the one spot we would visit that would be packed with bus tours would be here, it just wasn't the case...not sure if it was the time of year, the time of day or what but strange and nice at the same time...

Spent two or three hours wandering the grounds; the pools of water leading you to the Taj along with the beautiful landscaping gave the Taj Mahal a certainly majestic feel...The Taj itself seemed much bigger than it appears in pictures, and the architecture is absolutely amazing...no detail seemed left to chance; even the four minarets were slightly angled away from the main structure so that in the event that they should crumble with time they wouldn't fall into the mausoleum...unbelievable!

Had a bite to eat and a pint and then it was back in the car, next stop Jaipur...another long 4-5 hour ride, we were looking forward to a swim in the hotel pool and a nice relaxing dinner...and that's when the wheels fell off of the plan...

Arrived at the hotel around 9pm, only to discover our reservation wasn't there...after some phone calls and haggling we sorted that portion out before being asked for our passports in order to check in...d'oh! We had all left our passports back in New Delhi, thinking we wouldn't be needing them here (Sean travels around the country for work and only uses some sort of local identification for hotel check-ins). Truly one of the
RevellersRevellersRevellers

Partaking in one of the festivals at the time, can't remember which one...
dumbest things I've done traveling; of course the police come around to the hotels to check on tourist visas, and here we are a long way from Delhi without proper ID. Decided to try the hotel next door to see if they would bend the rules; and after thinking they would they changed their mind, suggesting we find a third star hotel or less as the police were not as likely to check those..

Not sure what the penalty is for being caught without proper ID but we certainly didn't want to find out. We felt bad asking the driver if he was okay to get us back to New Delhi that night (he'd already driven for about 10 hours) but he assured us he was fine and that it was no problem. With more assurances from him that he would stop for a break whenever he felt tired, we decided that this was our only option and off we went...fortunately we all made it back safely, although not one of the brightest things I've done traveling either...

It was a shame we missed Jaipur, it looked pretty cool when we drove through it...even managed to see an elephant strolling down a backstreet in the wee hours of the morning, something you don't see every day...haha...

Do not miss a visit to the Taj Mahal if you are in India or in the area, it is absolutely worthwhile and certainly a highlight of the trip for me...

(Some photos copyright of Karen C., denoted by (KC)...used with kind permission)


Additional photos below
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CheckpointCheckpoint
Checkpoint

My first time through, just as they are about to find the tripod...with Sean rockin' the hat...haha.. (KC)
The Great GateThe Great Gate
The Great Gate

...which leads into the garden and Taj Mahal
Lost in TranslationLost in Translation
Lost in Translation

Sean & Jerlin having just picked up their audio guides...
The gang...The gang...
The gang...

...ready to roll...
The Taj...The Taj...
The Taj...

Again, absolutely beautiful...
Suckaz!Suckaz!
Suckaz!

Say, you from around here?


2nd April 2015

What a trip...
I'm envious of your sparkling sunny photos! The only day it rained on our 30 day trip in India was the day we visited the Taj Mahal. Sorry to hear about your non-starter at Jaipur, but glad you made it back to Delhi safely :)

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