We done it! A massive tick off the bucket list and our first of the seven wonders of the world. It’s true what they say, the Taj Mahal is a work of art and the history of the Taj Mahal is just as fascinating. Although expectation vs reality was a little disappointing.
Expectations Vs Reality Of The Taj Mahal
We’d seen all the incredible shots online and had high expectations of what was to come from the one of the most famous monuments in the world. So here’s how it all went down.
History Of The Taj Mahal
In 1632 the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan had the building constructed by over 20,000 artisans. It was built to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Nearly 20 years later it was complete and the whole 42 acre complex now includes a mosque, a guesthouse and precisely arranged, formal gardens.
So what most people don’t realise, is the Taj Mahal is basically one MASSIVE tombstone. No pressure guys!
Taj Mahal Entrance Fee
Foreigners – 1000 Rupees*
Locals – 40 Rupees*
Tickets cannot be bought in advance and must be purchased from the ticketing booth on the day of visit. The Taj Mahal entrance fee includes a bottle of water and transfer by buggy to the entrance gates.
*Prices as of June 2017
The morning we headed down to the Taj we set our alarms for 4:30am. Our plan was to beat the crowds and hopefully witness a beautiful sunrise. The latter didn’t happen, but we were the first ones in and although we were still half asleep we were ready, cameras in hand, to recreate all those iconic photos.
After paying our 1000 Rupees (it’s only 40 Rupees for Indians but hey ho tourist prices and all that) we entered into the grounds of the big TM. There it was in front of us in all its glory, an incredible marble sculpture…covered in scaffolding!
We took a few touristy photos after our initial disappointment wore off. Before convincing ourselves, ‘hey, it’s not the end of the world’, it was just bad timing and unlucky.
So we turned our frowns upside down and headed down the famous walkway into the Taj. This is where the tombs lay. Enclosed by barriers but visible to the public it was the most peaceful place of the grounds.
Well we say visible to the public, the electricity had gone and left the inside pitch black. Even tour guides were struggling to show their groups around. Some had to revert to using the lights on their phones. Another disappointment but just like the scaffolding it was nobody’s fault, and again it was just bad timing. So we moved on.
The Big Disappointment
One thing that could have been avoided though was the LITTER!!
The grounds that were once so precious to the emperor were absolutely covered in rubbish.
We’re talking endless empty bottles, shoe covers everywhere and we even spotted 2 dead birds on the walkway. The grass and trees were maintained but the lawn mowers and hedge trimmers were just left in the middle of them.
We were completely taken aback by the lack of upkeep. The amount of money the Taj Mahal must turn over in a day, the least they could do is send someone around in the morning to pick up the rubbish.
We tried to make excuses for them but it’s not as if they didn’t have enough staff. There were plenty of people manning the gates and holding down security. We were literally the first people through the gates that morning, so all mess had been left from the previous day!
Overall, don’t get us wrong we spent a few hours walking around and managed to get some awesome photos. After all it’s obviously a wonder of the world for a reason and the Taj itself is breath taking but come on India…take some pride in your major tourist attraction!
Luxury – Radisson Blue Agra Taj East Gate – This is such a beautiful place to stay. You can see one of the seven wonders of the world right from your bedroom – a true once in a lifetime experience.
Mid-Budget – Hotel Taj Resorts – A mid range place to stay in Agra for your Taj Mahal visit.
Backpacker – Moustache Agra – With a few Moustache Hostels dotted around India, this up and coming chain is a hit with backpackers.
You can also check out the prices of other places to stay in Agra here.
For things to do in India or which route to take, make sure to check out our break down – The Best Of India – A Route & Trip Guide
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