Our Early Morning Visit To The Taj

on Sunday, 28 March 2010

We had been told by numerous sources that the best time to visit the Taj Mahal was early in the morning, so that’s what we did. We were up at 5:30am to get ready, aiming to be there at 6:00am, it was hard work getting up so early, but you have got to make the effort. I have been bitten really bad on my feet and legs the night before, because of the river near the Taj Mahal they are out in force, I literally have about 15 bites on each foot! We had decided to walk as it was only 5 minutes, although there was a free electric rickshaw ride there, we didn’t want the hassle from the guides wanting to show us round. We get to the east gate entrance, and there is already quite a few people queuing, luckily the men’s queue is considerably shorter than the women's and it only takes 5 minutes to get through the security and inside. We walk through the courtyard and through the gate to where the Taj Mahal is. It really is as impressive as everyone says and definitely worth the extortionate foreigner entrance fee. We take a few photos from the typical positions, but even this early there is hundreds of people, so it’s hard to find a good shot. We go and have a look a bit closer and see the two huge marble coffins inside where the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal are buried. Apparently it was built for her, by him and he also had planned to build an identical one but in black marble for himself. They started building the year after her death and it took over 20 years to build. Shah Jahan was overthrown shortly after completion by his son and could only view the Taj Mahal from house arrest in Agra fort. The inside is pretty basic with just some small rooms surrounding the main room, we make our way back down the garden and take a few more photos, but there is even more people now, so we decide to make a move.







We have a little stop for breakfast at an extortionately priced restaurant and then visit Agra fort. The entrance fee for the fort is 250R and if I am honest it is a bit of a let down. Compared to the Amber fort it is nowhere near as good and much more expensive, also some parts are closed for renovation. There is a good view of the Taj Mahal from the fort, but the heavy smog make it just a outline in the distance



We have finished by 11 o'clock, although it feels much later, because of our early start. We return to the hotel and chill out, waiting for our train to Varanasi at 11:30pm. Our last stop in India, before we enter Nepal, where has the time gone, 4 weeks already! I leave you with my favourite photo of the Taj Mahal with a bit of HDR added.