The Taj Mahal in Agra - by Shah Jahan

Reflections

The pool below shows a perfect reflection of the Taj
The pool below shows a perfect reflection of the Taj

Taj Mahal

Wah Taj

The world famous Taj Mahal came into the spotlight again when the new seven wonders of the world were voted for by people on the Internet. It has been through its ups and downs but to visit it once is a must.

A bit of its history won't hurt for those who know little about it. Essentially this world famous building houses the tombs of Shah Jahan and his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal.

She died young and some say it was in child birth. So the heartbroken Mughal Emperor decided to build her a tomb that the world would sit up and notice.

The funny part is that she did not die in Agra, but on a trip to one of his principalities. She was buried there and then when he could not bear to be far from her remains, they dug her up and buried her in an area not far from the Taj.

This is where her body rested till the Taj Mahal was completed. Then the bones were again shifted to the tomb in the Taj.The guide will be happy to show you the exact spot the body lay in for the years before the Taj was built, when you visit.

Then Shah Jahan set about his grandiose plan of building a white marble Taj on one side of the River Yamuna and a mirror image in black marble on the other side for himself. The construction of the white Taj took many years, and the king grew old and feeble. He was imprisoned by his own son who declared himself Emperor. That ended the tale of the black marble Taj on the other side of the river.

The chief architect of the Taj Mahal was rewarded with weath and had his hands cut off and eyes blinded. The Emperor Shah Jahan, did not want him to replicate the design for any one else. This was his way of ensuring that it would never happen.

Shah Jahan spent the last few years of his life imprisoned in Agra Fort watching the Taj from his window. When he finally passed away he was buried next to his wife in the white Taj. It is believed that the two eternal lovers have returned to the Taj as pigeons, and you see them sitting in the dome area when you enter the Taj.

Getting here is relatively easy. You fly into India to Delhi. Then take a cab or train to Agra. Three hours by train and about four by cab. If you start out early morning, you will be there by mid day. Take a look around. It will not take more than a couple of hours and drive back to Delhi in the evening.

If you want to take in the fort and other local sites you can spend the night and do sightseeing and leather goods shopping at Sadar Bazaar as well. If you are looking for a local guide, call me and I'll take you around. If I'm still here when you visit. Considering that I have already been here two years, its almost time to move.

Anyway. It would make no difference if I am here or not, as the Taj is surely going to be here. In fact the ASI has recently come up with a plan to give the Taj a face lift by putting a multani mitti pack on it. I believe it will help clean the marble from the toxins that have settled on it. The main source of which is the Mathura Refinery. The threat of Acid Rain is a very real danger to the Taj.

The white marble has begun to yellow with age and that's what every one is upset about. Some measures like banning petrol run vehicles in a km long radius have been taken. So you need to park at the parking and walk the rest of the way. If you are willing to spend some dough you can take a horse tonga or a battery operated vehicle to the outer gate.

A lot has been said for the different price tickets for Indians and Foreigners as well. It costs the out of country visitor more than three times what it costs an Indian to see the Taj. The theory is that the funds will be used to maintain the monument. Personally I feel its monstrously unfair. No one charged me more than the Italians when I went to see the ruins of Ceasar's Palace. And no one charged me more than the French when I went up the elevator on the Eiffel Tower. Just another stupid idea from some one in the bureaucracy.

Besides that the video cameras have to be left in lockers before you walk to the Taj. So if you are staying overnight it would be best to leave it behind in the hotel. It is fun to get some of those trick photographs that the photographers present there can click for you. Bargain nice and hard with them. The more snaps you have taken the lower the price should be.

And use the shoe covers rather than removing the shoes at the main building. Far easier and handier to do. Specially if you have no religious compulsions. No point getting blisters on the feet as you see the Taj. Which is why it's a good idea to go visit it in the early morning or evening. By moonlight is even better. Only its far more expensive and happens only four days a month. So you need to be lucky to get that experience.

Any way no matter what time you see it, it will always be the Taj. SO enjoy your visit and don't forget to say Wah Taj

West Side Door of the Taj

The carving in marble is exquisite
The carving in marble is exquisite

These pannels run all along

You can touch these pannels
You can touch these pannels

Marble Gem Stone Inlay

This is a dying art
This is a dying art

From The Top Railing

This is what you see when you look down
This is what you see when you look down

Some more inlay designs

The Tombs have a special inlay lattice around them
The Tombs have a special inlay lattice around them

Enter from here

This is the place you enter the complex from
This is the place you enter the complex from

Agra

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Comments 38 comments

sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago

Nice hub Cashmere. I know that at some places at least - Kenya eg, if you go on safari, park entry charges vary between residents and non-residents. And quite substantially at that.


khadilkarprakash profile image

khadilkarprakash 7 years ago from India

What are the popular products manufactured locally that can be bought from Agra? Say if you come to Benaras, you will definitely by a Benarasi Sari.


cashmere profile image

cashmere 7 years ago from India Author

Thanks Sabu. I did not know about the safari and park entry fees in Kenya. Maybe its a third world thing to fleece the tourists?!

Khadilkar Agra is famous for its pethas, leather wear and marble artifacts. So when you come here you will buy a packet to petha to carry home, and maybe shoes, belts or purses as well. Not too many takers for the marble as it can be quite heavy to cart.


Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Wonderfully done, Cashmere! It's a great thing to save these Monuments for future generations.. We have to know our history, our legacies. Thank you!


cashmere profile image

cashmere 7 years ago from India Author

Thanks Candie. Look forward to reading more about your local monuments.


futonfraggle profile image

futonfraggle 7 years ago

I'd love to see it in person. I never heard the story about the two pigeons. Very poetic!


cashmere profile image

cashmere 7 years ago from India Author

Not many believe its true, I guess one of the local guides made it up. And then it caught the imagination of others.


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

A wonderful hub!

I've visited the Taj Mahal twice, and enjoyed it greatly. I'm not quite so fond of Agra, though, sorry to say.


cashmere profile image

cashmere 7 years ago from India Author

I know exactly what you mean London Girl, there are areas in Agra I wish I could clean with a nuclear bomb!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

I caught Salmonella from a veggie curry in a place I won't be eating at again (-:


cashmere profile image

cashmere 7 years ago from India Author

We call it "Agra Belly" And you have to be really careful eating out here. I even carry my own RO water bottle with me.


Kushal Poddar profile image

Kushal Poddar 7 years ago from Kolkata,India

Wonderfully conjured.


cashmere profile image

cashmere 7 years ago from India Author

Thanks Kushal


Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France

The Taj Mahal has always been fascinating, now that I know more about it I want to see it more than ever. Thanks for all the tips!

thumbs up.


cashmere profile image

cashmere 7 years ago from India Author

Come and visit Princessa, Its worth a trip.


Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France

I am sure it is. The taj Mahal is one of my "must see places"


cashmere profile image

cashmere 7 years ago from India Author

Let me know when you do come. We can meet up as well.


Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada

An incredible piece of architecture that houses a beautiful and unique history.


cashmere profile image

cashmere 7 years ago from India Author

It sure is Beth100. Have you visited it?


livewithrichard profile image

livewithrichard 7 years ago from Charleston, SC

Very nice PR for the Taj. I would love to visit some day. I have never been to India, what is the best time of year to visit?


cashmere profile image

cashmere 7 years ago from India Author

In the winters. You do not want to come here from April to July! Trust me on this one.


livewithrichard profile image

livewithrichard 7 years ago from Charleston, SC

I trust you, I have quite a few Indian friends in Chicago that say to stay clear of India during the summer months. I don't think I could handle that much heat. I would think that winter would be a big touristy time in India.


cashmere profile image

cashmere 7 years ago from India Author

The season starts in Septemeber and lasts through Feb. Try not to come in December as the rates kind of shoot up due to the holidays.


Dheeraji profile image

Dheeraji 7 years ago from Leicestershire

Great hub cashmere

I've been to visit the great Taj Mahal and it's just so beautiful and the wonderful architecture. A brilliant place to be.

I didn't know until now that Mumtaz Mahal wife didn't die in Agra.


cashmere profile image

cashmere 7 years ago from India Author

Yes dherraji, not many know that she died elsewhere and was reburied in Agra


cashmere profile image

cashmere 7 years ago from India Author

Anuj did u find the hub useful?


itcoll profile image

itcoll 6 years ago

i have visited it just once and really loved it.


H P Roychoudhury profile image

H P Roychoudhury 6 years ago from Guwahati, India

Nice to read. I have also written something of Taj. May I request you to look to that. Thanks to you as I came to know many of unknoun information from this hub.


Krishty 6 years ago

I really enjoyed reading your hub.

I have read a lot about Taj Mahal over the Internet.

And definity see Taj Mahal on my next visit to India.

Just found some of best tour packages of Agra on http://www.southalltravel.co.uk .

One of my close frined told me that “Petha” (A different type of sweet) of Agra is very famous and delious too.

I just want to know, Is Agra well connected to Delhi?

As it will be our entry point in this country.


cashmere profile image

cashmere 6 years ago from India Author

Yes Krishty, you can visit Agra from Delhi by Plane, Train and Hired Cab! There are many people doing the same and it is usually easy to find company for whatever mode of transport you pick.


mona manj 6 years ago

i have visited it just once and really loved it


cashmere profile image

cashmere 6 years ago from India Author

Hope you plan to come back soon mona.


Princessa profile image

Princessa 6 years ago from France

Hi, I remember reading this a few months ago (I left a comment then)

Yesterday my little Princess was asking me about the Taj Mahal, and I must say that thanks to this hub I was able to satisfy her curiosity. Thank you cashmere!


cashmere profile image

cashmere 6 years ago from India Author

My pleasure princessa! I added the map capsule to it...just trying it out on the old hub.


Mahesh Jhalani 6 years ago

R is a traveler who likes to share his experiences. All the articles published by him will help you understand India better and answer all your holiday queries regarding Rajasthan Tours,tours Operator ia Tours, Tour to India and much more………….


Rocky 5 years ago

very nice and help full article thank you


Santosh 5 years ago

Tajmahal is a symbol of love so I always remember of sahan jahan and mumtaj.


Sathi 4 years ago

just i want to see the agera taj mahal.its nice, beautiful, an execelent.

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