December 26th was one of the busiest days the Taj Mahal has ever seen. At the end of the night, they had turned away thousands of people. Luckily, we got in just in time to watch the sun set behind this wonder of the world. Here are some steps to ensure the best experience at the Taj Mahal:
First, you have to make it to the Taj Mahal. To be honest, Agra is kind of out of the way. We were told that they drive from Delhi to Agra would only take 3 hours.. we arrived 6 hours later. Anyways, regardless of the time commitment it is probably cheapest to drive if you are traveling in a group. Flight prices are a bit more expensive but would be a better option if traveling alone. Once you’ve arrived in Agra:
- Agra is a fairly small city (to India standards) but not the easiest to navigate. The roads are labyrinth style and it is so overcrowded due to tourism. Your best bet for smooth transportation to and from the Taj Mahal is to stay in a hotel nearby and book an auto (small open-air cab) for the day. If you’re lucky, the driver will let you take it for a spin.
P.S- Driving in India is probably one of the most terrifying, yet satisfying, things I have ever done.
- Next, you’ll arrive at the parking for the Taj. There is a guest building where you can grab a shuttle to take you to the actual palace about a mile down the road. If you choose to walk there are plenty of stalls to shop at on the way.
- At the gate you purchase your ‘foreigner’ ticket for 1000 rupees (15 USD) while Indian visitors only pay 40 RS. Do not let this take you by surprise, nearly every tourist destination in India charges more for tourists.
- If traveling with a local, try to get them in line with you and pay the extra rupees to purchase them a foreigner ticket. The lines for locals are much longer and you won’t be able to see the Taj together.
Some people say it isn’t worth it.. don’t listen. Seeing the Taj Mahal is one of those pivotal moments as a traveler. I was so shocked that I literally hugged it (pictured below).
When you see it, take a breath. Realize where you are, because it is a place that not many people get to see. You worked hard to get here; it costed money, time, and effort but you made it to the T A J M A H A L! In this moment, I felt #blessed (#sareenotsorry for that one.)
I hope these little tips help make your once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Taj, Taj Ma-breezy!
Until next time-