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“It's a real Miracle!”
Review of Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal
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US$ 67.00*
and up
Agra Tour From Delhi Including Home-Cooked Lunch in a Local Home
Ranked #1 of 106 things to do in Agra
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
NY
Level Contributor
24 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“It's a real Miracle!”
Reviewed 12 January 2011

We saw Taj Mahal many times on pictures, photos, but could not imagine that to see it by ourselves would be such huge difference - it is astonishingly beautiful, just AMAZING.
And site itself is maintained very well too. We were so glad that we did not rely on what we saw on photos and went there.

Visited August 2010
Helpful?
1 Thank AZSZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Breckenridge, Colorado
Level Contributor
114 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Weekday morning for short line”
Reviewed 10 January 2011

I see that a lot of other travelers have given some of these tips, but I'll still reiterate them...

Train vs. Car - We drove from Delhi, and the highway is under construction the whole way, so it took almost 6 hours. I hear it's only 2.5 hrs by train, which would be much less stressful. Also, bathrooms along the way were often holes in the ground, which may not appeal to a lot of Western travelers. Not to mention driving in India is like playing chicken and riding a roller coaster for 6 hours! You may want to take the train!

Tour - A guided tour of the Taj Mahal was a great idea, but I agree that it's nice to have some time to explore it on your own. I had a guide for the day, taking me to multiple sites, so I felt a little rushed. If you have a day guide, set their expectations early if you'd like to spend extra time there, and they can take a lunch break or something during that time. My guide also pushed the photographers on me - the offer sounded nice at first 100 rupees per photo - but then I learned that they are printed photos and have a minimum purchase of 12.

Shoe Covers & Bottled Water - my tour guide bought my ticket for me, so I'm not sure if there's anything special about it, but she told me not to buy water, it was included. In the same building, she showed my receipt to the vendor, and he handed me a bottle of water and shoe covers. You may want to see if this is available for your ticket, it was much quicker than removing & storing shoes, and most visitors were wearing them.

Flashlight - if you choose not to have a guide, there is a trick mine showed me - if you shine a flashlight on the red "firestone" inside the Taj, you'll see that it's completely transparent and the light also passes into the translucent white marble.

Time of Day - I read a lot of recommendations to go at sunrise, so I was really trying to get an earlier tour. When I arrived at 8 (much after sunrise) due to my tour company's schedule, I found out that earlier isn't always better. There was a ton of fog & haze making the Taj almost blend with the sky behind it. My guide told me that is typica for December especially, and that it was actually better to view it around 10am. I will say that there was no line to get inside the Taj, but when I finished walking around and taking photos, there was quite a long line to go inside (about 9:30am, 100 people in line). By 10am, when we were leaving, the air was much crisper, and the view of the Taj was stunning. So, arriving early was great for having fewer people around and no line, but the view actually became better as the day progressed.
Because of the materials used to view the Taj, it does appear differently in different lights - the mother of pearl reflects light (great for the full moon viewings) and the firestone lights up at sunrise, I hear...

Make sure you don't try to go on a Friday, it's closed - also, I went on Saturday and they told me that it's much busier then since it's closed the day before.

Visited December 2010
Helpful?
3 Thank jennibeans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melaka, Malaysia
Level Contributor
118 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
“Beautiful, but too much harrassment by touts and guides......”
Reviewed 10 January 2011

Our visit to the Taj Mahal was an interesting experience. I shall not repeat what the others have said....indeed it is very beautiful and majestic.
My complaints are mainly about the way the place is filled with touts, "guides", roadside sellers and photographers offering to take your photo.
I think the tourism ministry should do something about all this. On our journey to Agra, we were told so much about what to expect that we felt afraid.. especially since we were with our two small kids. We were warned that the touts may harrass us and insist that we buy from them. I am not blaming the tour agents for telling us this, as it is all true
When we were done, we were warned to be careful when exiting the Taj, as sellers always approach the tourists to buy something and we may end up losing our wallets!
The exit from the Taj to the electric car area is also hazardous. The walkway was filled with people trying to harrass tourists, as a result of which we walked on the road. This may end up in a catastrophe for someone someday, as the autorickshaws and private vehicles drive haphazardly. One question - why are motorvehicles allowed near the Taj when tourists are commuted by electric cars? This perplexes me! (The reason why they use electric cars is because the fumes from the motor engine may spoil the marble, but why is the regulation applicable only to tour vehicles and not local vehicles, I don't understand).
After you finish at the Taj, you will inevitably be brought to some shops. "You don't want a replica of Taj in your house, sir", or "Take a piece of Taj with you home".
We were taken to a "factory" producing marble handicrafts with the semi-precious stone inlays. What a rip-off! If there is one advice I can give you... DO NOT buy the marble handicraft items at these "factories". The reason - you can get it at half the price in Jaipur... and since most people do go to Jaipur after their visit to the Taj. You may also get the same items in Agra a bit further away at a cheaper cost. The "guides" that take you to the "factories" are actually getting a commission from the total paid. (We learnt all this the hard way).
The marble at Agra is Makrana marble, from Rajasthan, not far from Jaipur. The technic of inlaying the stones is actually from Jaipur, I was told. When we went to Jaipur, we went into many shops selling these handicrafts and regretted paying so much for our marble table in Jaipur.
So was the Taj lovely? Yes, if you can put up with all of the above mentioned issues!

Visited December 2010
Helpful?
1 Thank widespreadvisitor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
85 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 368 helpful votes
“Well worth its new Wonder of the World status”
Reviewed 7 January 2011

I visited here in 2008 and am only now getting round to reviewing, sorry.

The Taj Mahal is one of the new Wonders of the World and truly deserves it's status. Alongside the Pyramids, Macchu Picchu, etc, it is one of those sites you MUST visit before you die.

A few facts first off. You do not in any way need a guide, there are plenty of touts around trying to fleece you, do not let them and watch out for scams. It is very easy to visit this site independently. And you WILL be shocked at the massive price hike between what Indians pay and what foreigners pay, they have a tiered system; but it is well worth the money if you consider what you are seeing and it isn't that much anyway (compared to UK prices).

You have to come here if you are in India, it is as simple as that. The first time you enter through the red brick front gate, through the dark tunnel ... and see the majestic Taj Mahal open out in front of you, words just can't express that awe or wonder.

Visited February 2010
Helpful?
2 Thank MichaelHuxley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MUMBAI
Level Contributor
17 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Definitely must see”
Reviewed 26 December 2010

This was my second visit to the Taj .

Actually my last trip was more than 25 yrs ago & I had some faint memories from my previous visit

I could spend approx 3 hours within the complex

A guide could be helpful , but you need to spend some time trying to negotiate a fee for the servive

I will come back again to view the Taj in moonlight someday

Helpful?
Thank MdmMumbai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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