There is no point in describing a structure as iconic as this, but a few practical comments may be welcome. Firstly, the line-ups are enormous and the heat usually deadly, so make sure you take water with you. Also try to visit the toilet before joining the line, and have some toilet paper with you ----- the toilets are a disgrace to UNESCO and the Indian authorities. It is a great advantage to be with a foreign group; the price is more than the locals pay, but you will get access to a priority line that will get you in much faster. Once inside the mausoleum, it will not take more than 40 minutes to walk round, and what you will see is some of the richest carving bestowed upon the human race, but the exterior is equally impressive and really requires more time. Take a good walk round the back of the main building on exiting.
The standard photos of the Taj Mahal do not reveal the astonishing slant of the two side towers, designed to minimize earthquake damage. Nor do they show the two marvellous buildings on each side of the mausoleum. One is a mosque, and the other is identical in structure to maintain the symmetry of the entire complex; it was used as a burial site for later members of Shah Jahan's family. I don't know if and when their interiors are visitable, but their exteriors are worth a good look. So are the gardens and fountains. Finally, to the left of the main entrance arch into the garden is a long arcade that displays splendid photos accompanied by fascinating descriptions of all the approximately 100 World Heritage Sites to be found in India. Three hours is not too much to set aside to savour the entire experience.
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