Expectations Vs Reality Of The Taj Mahal

Expectations Vs Reality Of The Taj Mahal

We did 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 story behind is just as fascinating. Although the reality of the Taj 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.


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.

Wanderers & Warriors - Taj Mahal, Agra, India

So what most people don’t realise, is the Taj Mahal is basically one MASSIVE tombstone. No pressure when your wife dies guys!

Our Experience

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!

Wanderers & Warriors - Charlie & Lauren - Taj Mahal, Agra, India

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.

Wanderers & Warriors - Charlie & Lauren - Taj Mahal, Agra, India

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 one major tourist attraction!

Where To Stay

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 and a once in a lifetime experience.

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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  1. Sejal Chandak
    July 11, 2017 / 1:34 pm

    Sometimes expectations are so high that reality can never match I guess! But yes, one of the saddest part of India is the litter. Hopefully the future might be where we do not take our culture for granted and is litter-free!
    Enjoy the diverse culture otherwise:)

    • July 11, 2017 / 7:44 pm

      Such a true comment. We love India and it’s diverse culture but hopefully one day it’s more looked after! Thank you 🙂

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