37 countries, that’s the number of countries I had visited and yet I had not been to Taj Mahal. Yesha on the other hand, had been to 36 countries, and had seen Taj Mahal just a year ago when she went for her friend’s wedding. I was over excited, and boy, was I not looking forward to this trip.
We drove from Delhi to Agra on the new highway, but it still took us about 4 hours or so get there. Along the way, one would be amazed by the number of small dhabas (food joints) and numerous chai (tea) stalls. We took a stop at one of them, and had some nice tea to freshen up and pick up our next phase of journey. Once in Agra, we took accommodation close to Taj- Crystal Sarovar Premier, but these become expensive, so if you are on budget, there are plenty of hotels at a distance from Taj. As with all things in India, plan for traffic and rush hours, it can really get very crowded.
We visited Taj the next morning. Cars aren’t allowed to get to the Taj entry, and you must take the entrance tickets right from car parking, and then either walk 15 mins or take a bicycle rickshaw, who will charge you a lot of amount, but plenty of bargaining to be done here. Bargaining doesn’t stop once you enter the Taj, as there will be series of photographers and tour guides. If you are going for the first time, highly recommend one of these, but negotiate the prices with them beforehand. We had our camera, and since Yesha had recently been here, she decided to be my tour guide
Taj is sure to enthral every visitor and is sure to leave an impression that will last a lifetime. The water alley and surrounding walkways are massive and plenty of corners for you to take pictures of the Taj with reflections. If there is one challenge, it is going to be with the rush and heavy people traffic. This continues inside the Taj mahal building as visitors line up to see the global wonder from inside. While we were standing in the queue, we noticed a beautiful park right opposite the Taj Mahal, after crossing the Yamuna river. We discovered the park is called Mehtab Bagh and decided to visit it. To our surprise, the park was completely empty, and we had the magnificent Taj views for ourselves. We highly recommend people to visit this park if they want complete view of the Taj Mahal and have some great pictures with Yamuna river in front it of the monument and no people around.