It is not an exaggeration to say that the Taj Mahal is one of the most famous buildings in the world. This magnificent mausoleum is located near the city of Agra and 200 km south of Delhi, the capital of India, and is considered one of the new seven wonders of the world.
If you dream of visiting the Taj Mahal and are preparing to take a tour of India, stay with us until the end of this article to know more about the Taj Mahal and learn tips to visit the Taj Mahal in the best way.
Story of Taj Mahal
Shahabuddin Muhammad Shah Jahan or Shah Jahan Azam was the son of Jahangir and the fifth Mughal emperor who ruled a large part of the Indian subcontinent between 1658-1627. When his beloved wife Arjmand Bano passed away while giving birth to their last child, he decided to build the most beautiful tomb in history in memory of his wife. This tomb that we know as Taj Mahal has now become a symbol of love all over the world.
The love between Shah Jahan and his wife was more than an ordinary love. The king considered his wife superior to all the women of the time in terms of appearance and character, that’s why he gave her the title Mumtaz Mahal.
This love was so deep that Shah Jahan did not tolerate even a small and short-term separation of Mumtaz Mahal and took her with him in all his travels (even for war). In one of the king’s campaigns, the Mughal king set out to suppress the Afghan ruler of the Deccan and took Arjmand Bano along with him.
In the midst of the war, Shah Jahan was informed that Mumtaz Mahal, who was expecting the birth of their fourteenth child, was in great pain and fatigue and there was no hope for her survival.
When the Shah comes to the bedside of his pregnant wife, Arjamand Begum makes two wishes as a will; First, the king should not take a wife after her, and secondly, he should build a tomb to commemorate his name and memory.
It is said that after the death of Mumtaz Mahal, Shah Jahan’s black hair turned white during one or two months of mourning; But in the end, the king complied with both of the queen’s wills. After Shah Jahan died, his tomb was built in the Taj Mahal next to his wife’s grave.
Architecture and design
It can be said that the Taj Mahal was the turning point of Mughal art and architecture. In this building, for the first time, marble was used instead of red stone, which was common in Indian architecture.
The symmetry of the building, along with the use of tricks to create visual errors and the use of precious stones, has given this building a unique beauty. Thousands of architects, craftsmen and engineers from India, Iran and Central Asia have participated in the construction of this amazing building.
The exterior decoration of the building is also special. Since the use of anthropomorphic motifs is prohibited in Islam, the decorative motifs of the Taj Mahal include inlays and plastering of either calligraphy, abstract forms or vegetative motifs.
The Taj Mahal is located in a garden. In the distance between the tomb and the gate and in the center of the garden, a marble water tank with a reflecting pool is placed to reflect the image of the tomb. This marble tank is called Hawd al-Kawthar in reference to the “Tank of Abundance” promised to Muhammad. In addition, there are rows of trees and some water fountains in the garden.
Myths of marble mausoleum
Visiting The Taj Mahal is the main reason to take a tour of Agra. This mausoleum has become a symbol of India itself. When a building becomes as popular and famous as the Taj Mahal, many myths and stories are formed about it.
For example, it is said that the Taj Mahal has many secret corridors and rooms that are hidden from the eyes and no one has been able to discover them. It is also stated in one of the famous myths that Shah Jahan wanted to build a black crown in front of the Taj Mahal and on the other side of the Yamuna river and connect the two with a bridge. Now, either he has not lived long or he has not been able to build it after being removed from the throne.
How to Reach Taj Mahal
There are many ways to reach the Taj Mahal. The fastest way is to use the airlines of India and reach Agra. You must have heard about the Golden Triangle of India. The city of Agra, along with the capital of India, Delhi, and Jaipur, are three famous cities of India known as the Golden Triangle. Many travelers start their journey from Delhi and then fly to Agra and Jaipur.
Of course, it is about an hour and a half from Delhi to Agra by car. you can hire a Taxi on special discounts. There are buses and taxis to Agra from other cities like Jaipur, Mathura, Fatehpur-Sikri; So you don’t have to worry about anything.
You can also use rail routes to reach Agra. There are three train stations in this city. Once you arrive in Agra, you can take a taxi, tempo, auto-rickshaw and cycle rickshaw to reach the Taj Mahal and see other places of interest in the city.
Buy a ticket and enter the Taj Mahal
This building has several gates, each of which has its own characteristics. The west gate is the main entrance to the Taj Mahal, which is made of red sand and has unique decorations. Outside this gate there is a red sandstone mansion known as Fatehpur Begum, another wife of Shah Jahan.
But the official Taj Mahal website advises travelers to choose the eastern gate to enter the Taj Mahal because this gate is less crowded than the others. However, this place is so popular that you should expect crowds. The Taj Mahal has another gate in the south which is currently closed for entry.
Do not choose Fridays to visit the Taj Mahal because you will be met with closed doors. Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays, and if you choose this day to visit this place by mistake, you will probably lose your day.
The Taj Mahal entrance fee is also different for people from different countries. Indians pay 50 rupees to enter the Taj Mahal. If you are from South Asian Regional Cooperation Union countries (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives, Bhutan and Afghanistan) you will pay 540 rupees and people from other countries pay 1100 rupees to enter. You may not like to pay more but visiting one of the most amazing buildings of history is worth it and by the way paying more has a benefit; you don’t have to stand in long queues of locals.
Tips for visiting the Taj Mahal
- Go to the Taj Mahal when the moon is full: your trip will be more special If your visit to the Taj Mahal coincides with the full moon. Almost once a month, this beautiful and spectacular attraction is open to watch the full moon. There are usually a limited number of tickets to watch such a special event, which must be purchased online in advance.
- On some days, entry to the Taj Mahal is free: entry to the Taj Mahal is free on the morning of Eid in India and also during World Heritage Week. However, you should keep in mind that you will definitely encounter more people on such days.
- The sunrise and sunset at the Taj Mahal are unique: many tourists go to the Taj Mahal early in the morning to capture the golden light of the sun on this polished attraction. People prefer to take pictures of the Taj Mahal in the morning, but it also increases the chances of encountering a much smaller crowd.
- Don’t miss watching the Taj Mahal from the surrounding gardens: there is no doubt that everyone likes to see the Taj Mahal up close. but if you are a photographer and want to take more beautiful views of this fascinating attraction, you can go to the surrounding gardens. Mahtab Bagh or moonlight garden is one of these wonderful gardens.