Taj Mahal

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Agra, India

Taj Mahal Agra Reviews

gmattel gmattel
1 reviews
Taj Mahal - Inlaid with people! Jan 12, 2015
Taj Mahal – Inlaid with people!



As I leave India this time, I take with me memories of the most beautiful thing its people have physically created – the Taj Mahal. I had seen it before, but this time I experienced in some sense, the beauty of its creation. I knew all the basic historical information: that it was a monument to the love of Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaj; that it took 20,000 people 22 years to complete this marvel; and it was finished in 1653; etc. But it had never quite been real for me before; it had felt more like a beautiful photo.

This time it was different:

Prior to visiting the Taj, I had a chance to visit a store called the U.P. Marble Crafts Palace, which I thought would be a place to buy a piece of the local marble art. But on entry, I saw a worker using an archaic sanding disk on some stones rather than a store with products.


Very quickly I was taken in hand by a smooth young man who -with permission-explained what I was really seeing there. His family was the 17th generation descendants of one of the artisan families that had actually worked on the Taj Mahal. They had worked on the marbles, particularly the inlay work.

One of the amazing things about the Taj is not just the imposing spectacle of its grand appearance, but that when you get up close to it, the amazing detail of the work on the marbles. The marbles are carved into very delicate shapes including a type of lattice called a Jalli. Even more amazing is the enormous amount of inlays of semi-precious stones that cover the marble surface everywhere. This was the work they specialized in.

The marbles were quarried in India, but many of the semi-precious stones were imported from abroad. There were only a specific set of stones used in the Taj.

The family continues to use the same exact stones even now for their artwork: Cornelian, Jasper, Malachite, Lapis Lazuli, Tiger Eye, Paua ( Abalone) shell, Onyx, Turquoise and a few others.

The family is still called upon to do restoration work on the Taj today.

Marbles are cut into desired shapes and then the planned artwork is scratched on to its surface gently. Since the white marble does not show the scratches well, they first stain with natural henna. It provides this elegant orange background to the artisan’s process. As part of the final polishing the henna is then sanded off.

The artwork being done is typically floral with the royal couple’s favorite flowers, -Rose and Jasmine- being common, intertwined with vines and leaves.

The semi-precious stones are used for these flowers and vines. Gaps are carved in the marble delicately and at a very slight depth to accommodate the stones.

But the most amazing part was how the individual petals and leaves of the artwork was made. A flower could be made of 27 to 30 pieces. A single leaf could be made of three pieces with the central vein in the leaf itself being a separate piece. The artists decided the colors to use for the flower and literally cut the semi-precious stones to the exact size and shape and depth necessary for the individual pieces in the flower. They hand-sanded the individual pieces to match the exact shape desired. This was astonishingly detailed work using the exact type of equipment they had used five centuries ago.

Then they glued the cut pieces carefully into the pre-cut spaces one piece at a time to form the complete art. With a little sanding and polishing, the entire piece of art comes alive.



Being lucky to see this before I visited the Taj again, every part of the Taj now spoke to me not so much about Shah Jahan and his wife but all the amazing artists that have worked on this phenomenon.

The value of this monument went up immensely in my mind, knowing the people who inlaid a piece of themselves in this monument.

Gopi Mattel: January 11, 2015

www.mattel.org


#art #tajmahal #lifeisgood
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LucieKoko LucieKoko
1 reviews
Beautiful, Charming, Mesmerizing Taj Mahal Oct 19, 2014
One of the finest architectural mughal monument ever in the world, all the credits goes to the workmanship who created such a beautiful structure.

Truly a marvel to see on full moon night. Beauty of Taj Mahal can only be see under full moon.

I have heard about phrase about Taj. Which states : the changing colour resembles the changing mood of females.. I have witness this and experience was mesmerizing.

Sad thing about Taj is Many precious stones were ripped off from its walls by the British during the Indian rebellion of 1857.

Highly recommended.
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DPK DPK
8 reviews
Absolutely Beautiful Feb 15, 2014
Must see place on every visitors list. I have been there twice earlier but its always a beautiful moment to see it again. They have made some changes in the last decade which has helped beautify it even more like stopped people from carrying food and drinks inside. They have also stopped the access to the gardens leading upto the taj. Earlier people had made it more like a picnic spot. Best place to go from is the Eastern Gate. Park your car there and try and buy the composite ticket as that helps cut the cost. The ques are also small there as compared to other gates.
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ramit ramit
50 reviews
Monument of Love Feb 19, 2012
Everyone would have heard of the Taj Mahal in Agra built by a King in memory of his beloved Queen . Am sure everyone would have seen pictures of this monument too ... but each one of us who have seen this magnificent monument should review it from their own point of view :)

For me .. as an Indian .. I had heard of the Taj Mahal right from childhood .. living in Delhi had not been to Agra for quite some time but there was always this desire to see it one day .

Having seen so many pictures of the Taj Mahal .. honestly I did not expect anything spectacular when I went there .

This is exactly where I was wrong . Agra is not a great city to be in ... so the car ride to the Taj & then the 'Horse ridden carriage' ride to the entry of the Taj was nothing too exciting too .. :( .... Then as you walk through the first entrance gate ... arriving at the main gate of the Taj .. & as you step in and the Taj Mahal with its surrounding gardens comes into view .... it definitely is one of the most amazing sights you would ever see of a monument .. It some how mesmerizes you .. stuns you .. awes you ... & you think .. how did they build this such a long time ago ..

The White taj with its lush green lawns is a creation of awesome proportion made & carved by hand by thousands of builders and craftsmen .

Each carved design is exactly the same everywhere .. & one can replace one stone from one place into another place with an exact fit .. how did they manage such accuracy without any instruments ???

The sad part .. all the builders & craftsmen had their hands chopped off by the King so that the Taj could never be replicated ... later the King was overthrown by his own son .. jailed in a building from where he could see the Taj from a small window ... Love .. Tragedy .. Magnificence ... History in the making !!
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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camwilde says:
Wow, this is a place I have always wanted to see, and this review makes me want to see it even more. If only I have more time and more money. :)
Posted on: Nov 28, 2012
sylviandavid says:
Holy smokes... never heard the hands chopped off part... sounds like it would be prudent to get your last paycheck and rrruuuunnnnn like heck!
Posted on: Feb 19, 2012
ramit says:
Thank you Vio ! The story is really incredible ...
Posted on: Feb 19, 2012
banzq banzq
16 reviews
The Symbol of Love Apr 03, 2012
I have seen many world famous tourist attractions in my life and for me, most of them have been disappointments compared to the tourists they get yearly, but Taj Mahal was an exception. We took a tuktuk driver for the whole day and he took us around Agra and in the evening we finally went to see The Taj Mahal. And it totally lived up the expectations I had for it. It was totally amazing peace of architecture, only disappointment was the it was, as any other world famous attraction, very populated. But it was reallly amazing and when you got closer and closer it just got more amazing. I definitely recommend to any traveler to visit the place once in a lifetime.
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Nair2011 Nair2011
246 reviews
One of the new 7 wonders Jun 09, 2012
Wow!!! Taj!!! Wonderful!!!

Above were my thoughts when I have entered the entrance gate after going through the required secruity checks. The amazing sight of Taj Mahal, symbol of love, is one of the feelings we cant forget for life.

In Rabindranath Tagore's words..

"Only let this one tear drop,

this Taj Mahal glisten spotlessly bright

In the cheek of time for ever and ever ....

- Oh king, you sought to harm time

With the magic of beauty and weave a garland

That would blend formless death with deathless form ......

This mausoleum stands still and unmoving in its place

Here on this dusty earth,

It keeps death tenderly covered in the shroud of memory"

The TajMahal, the pinnacle of Mughal architecture is one of the universally admired masterpiece of the world's heritage. It was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, grandson of Akbar the great, in the memory og his queen Arjumand Bano Begum, entitled Mumtaz Mahal. After the death of said queen her mortal remains are enshrined in the crypt of the main tomb of the Taj mahal. The Taj mahal is the mausoleum of both Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan.

The Taj Mahal (1631-1648) was inscribed on the World Heritage list in 1983. Entry fee is IRS 20 for Indian citizens and 15USD for foreign nationals.

Foot wear is not allowed in the main building of Taj mahal and will be closed on Fridays.

Definitely a must visit while in India..
View of Taj Mahal from Entrance
View of Taj Mahal from Entrance
View of Taj Mahal from Entrance
Ceiling of Entrance building
1 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Vipin Vipin
691 reviews
Iconic, essential piece of Mughal magnificence Feb 15, 2011
This site needs very little introduction. For many people, it’s readily regarded as the symbol of India and shorthand for the best of every tourist site they wish to see while visiting India. Built in the sixteenth century by the mughal ruler Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his wife, the Taj Mahal is often described as a symbol of everlasting last or the ultimate gesture of romance.

There are some wonderful points to note with this site. Although the site is seen as the essence of India, it was built in a Hindu dominated country by the invading Mughals who came over. Consequently, it is a bit of an awkward partnership between the Hindu craftsmen that built it in line with Islamic principles and design. Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that the site was built to placate Shah Jahan’s own ego rather than as a symbol of his grief for his departed wife. The arguments are probably in your guide book; I just thought it was really funny and killed the romantic notions that are typically associated with the place.

My key tips for visiting this site are:

- go early, ideally set off so that you are there before the doors open. The queues will be much better and less chaotic.

- make sure you have eaten and drunk something to keep you going. No food or drink is allowed inside or available on the premises. Although tourists are meant to get a free bottle of water with their ticket, this is not provided on all occasions.

- watch your step. Footwear is not allowed on the main grounds of the Taj Mahal. You have to buy these socks which cover your feet. The ground can also be rather slippy after it has rained or will be baking hot during the dry season.



It is cliché, touristy and overcrowded. However, the impact of the monument is so breathtaking and unforgettable, that even if you are not a romantic or lover of good architecture/art, there is something so awe-inspiring about this site.

Definitely not to be missed.
9 / 9 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Vipin says:
No worries Jutta and thanks for the many smiles you did give! Glad to see that you enjoyed the review :D
Posted on: Mar 05, 2013
sylviandavid says:
Wonderful review... thanks so much. Now I need to look at your wonderful photos. sylvia
Posted on: Feb 19, 2012
jeminigirl says:
Beautiful photos =D
Posted on: Dec 30, 2011
kuan kuan
5 reviews
The immortalization of a man's love for his wife Jan 22, 2011
I have mixed feeling about the Taj Mahal.

On one hand, it is a magnificent structure built purely out of love, a man's love for his wife.

On the other hand, it was just way too noisy with the many local and foreign visitors (yours truly included), the magic is somehow lost in the midst of the crowd.

However, the walk around the building, especially at the back, between the Taj Mahal and the River Yamuna was absolutely beautiful. Here, it was more tranquil and you get to truly appreciate the Taj in its full glory. As i walk along, I'd imagine the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, walking along the same pathway, thinking about his wife, Mumtaz Mahal :)

I'd love to visit the Taj again someday, and this time it will be at night. I heard the view is splendid :)
Prelude to Taj: I remember walking…
The immortalization of a man's lov…
View of one of the minarets at Taj…
Sunset at River Yamuna
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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sylviandavid says:
thanks for this review
Posted on: Feb 19, 2012
sundeepsanil sundeeps…
1 reviews
TajMahal May 18, 2011
A beautiful historic monument!! lots of tourists come here everyday.. to catch the sight of this huge wonderful creation by man!!

Its said that this monument was created by few men's under the kingdom of Shahajan for his love mumtaz... and after building this.. he chopped of their hands.. so that they won't create another taj mahal like this !!
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Chunna Chunna
9 reviews
Overrated Nov 10, 2011
I'm going to be honest and say, save your money. When I went to buy a ticket, I thought it was a joke that it was 750 rs to get in. All other monumental places are 250 rs. Then when I got in, there was really nothing to look at. Plus, if you go on a hot day (hello, it's India, so that's every day) the ground is too hot to stand on and the direct sun means you really only stay for 30 mins to an hour, otherwise you overheat. I suggest going to eat at one of the restaurants near by that has a roof top view and snapping a few pictures for free. If you do decided you have to see the Taj since you're in India and all, don't take off your shoes; instead, ask the shoe guy for the medical shoe covers. This way you don't have to burn your feet (yes, you can actually burn them enough to cause damage and pain that last for two days) and you don't have to worry about your shoes being stolen. It costs the same amount of money if you were to leave your shoes at the watching booth. Then you can 'enjoy' the Taj. Also, if you want awesome pictures WITHOUT a million people in the shot, get up at 5:30 and be there by 6am. No one goes this early (yes, I know it's way too early) but then you get great, people free shots. But I do feel I wasted my money here; I could have used the money to buy not one, but two trains tickets. It's just the Indian government taking advantage; they know everyone who comes to India HAS to see the Taj and they make bank on it.
Some how manage to get a shot with…
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sylviandavid says:
Sounds perfect to get there at 6 AM ... but is it open? thanks for this review.
Posted on: Feb 19, 2012
ColoradoGG Colorado…
1 reviews
Day Trip From Dehli Jul 12, 2011
I used the state run tour bureau to do a day trip to the Taj Mahal. The cost was reasonable and the service was excellent. I'd recommend the state run tour bureau over the street vendors anytime! The trip included other sites along the way which made the trip even more enjoyable. Offices of the state run tour bureau all located around the city of Dehli.
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aleem_ladak aleem_la…
3 reviews
Taj - pay the foreigner fee May 30, 2011
Dont even try to get by with the indian national fee - they know when you're not india :)

even if you're brown, just the way you carry yourself can give you away.

also, if you are offered to be taken to a local shop where they make marble, dont do it. Its a scam.

i got jacked 200 bucks!
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blferreira blferrei…
2 reviews
Long travel from delhi....do not recoment going to Agra May 18, 2011
Taj is amazing, but if you go from Delhi to Agra is a very long trip by car and very tyring in a dangerous road.

When arrinving to Agra....you get surrounded by beggers and sellers...I hate it and i dint feel very confortable there.

But at taj, after entering, just be aware with your wallet and camera and enjoy the big withe marble building.
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lleucu52 lleucu52
3 reviews
Breathtaking!!! Apr 26, 2011
Took my breath away when I first laid my eyes on this wonder! Would have been nice to see it maybe with less tourists around, but that still didn't detract from this gem! You cannot visit India with out seeing this!!!!
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joe82 joe82
3 reviews
taj mahal, agra Mar 20, 2011
It is absolutely amazing!! I really suggest to do a guided tour to get to know a little bit of the history and the interesting facts about architecture. I have been there in july... It was awful hot then. But on the other hand we didn t have to wait at the entrance as it should happen in january.

be careful about the many traders around... Taxidrivers tend to bring you to souvenir shops.
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kriseurope kriseuro…
1 reviews
Beautiful, Majestic Mar 12, 2011
It's possibly the most romantic place to visit. Combine this with a visit to Jaipur. Get there the previous evening and visit in the morning to avoid the crowds and get some unobstructed and peaceful viewing.
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guitarboy guitarboy
3 reviews
A Day Trip to the TAJ MAHAL Jul 10, 2010
Journey: Delhi - Agra

Train : TAJ EXPRESS (Chair Car)

Cost for the Train: 250Rs (Almost 6$) One way

Journey Time: 3 Hours

There are two Trains i would recommend from Delhi to Agra.

First is The "Bhopal Shatabdi" which runs at 0615 and reaches within 2 hours. This is my First Recommendation as its the fastest mode but costs around 12$ One Way.

The Second is the TAJ EXPRESS. Runs at 0715 from Delhi and reaches within 3 Hours. Costs around 6$ One Way.

After Reaching Agra you will find lots of Agents / Touts trying to fix a deal with you to make you reach the tourist places with a rate Card.

Here you can negotiate a lot only if you act confident and know what you're doing.

I Paid 30Rs from the Agra Cantt Station to The Entry to The West Gate of the Taj. Then a 5Rs Rickshaw ride to the Entrance.

Bought a Ticket for Rs. 20 being an Indian citizen. It costs Foreigners around Rs750 i think (16-17$) to Enter.

You can buy a locker in the Locker room for Rs. 20 for a day upto 6pm as bags, eatables etc are not allowed inside.

Only Cameras,Water,Umbrella etc are allowed.

Do carry an Umbrella if you plan to go in the afternoon as the SUN can really be bad.

Once you reach the entrance you will find a lotta people Calling themselves Guides who will wanna give you a tour. Can charge anywhere from Rs. 50 to 100 (1-2$).

The Trick here is to Negotiate.

Go in an walk to the magnificent monument. Walk all around it. Video Cams are not allowed Inside the Taj Mahal Building. There is a Video Cam Locker box there where you can give your Video Cam if you want to.

Lots of local restaurants in the area. You can find Joneys Place by exiting the South Gate and walking for about 5-7 mins.

They usually have everything in the menu to be cooked only after 2pm. Awesome food but they may get a little preferential to some people.

Do Try Mango / Banana Lassi.

I Advice you to go there in the Indian Winters (September - February).

The TAJ MAHAL is closed on FRIDAYS so make sure you dont land there on a Friday.

It Looks beautiful in the Night esp. on a Full Moon Night.

The Trip can come out really cheap if you plan it well.

Other places to see in Agra are:

The AGRA FORT

FATEHPUR SIKRI
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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sylviandavid says:
Really informative review. thanks so much!
Posted on: Feb 19, 2012
TravelBug24 says:
awesome review.. thanks a lot
Posted on: Nov 19, 2010
Glynnes says:
A nice reveiw and the photos are great. Thanks!
Posted on: Jul 10, 2010
biostar biostar
3 reviews
Lovers Monument Dec 17, 2010
Ok so i only went here for a day but I will tell you something useful

when you go to Agra there is actually nothing to see in the city except the Taj Mahal but if you want to see the city then take a taxi and let them drive you around for the whole day

But if you go to Agra then spend most of the day in the Taj Mahal it is a great place and it is the biggest monument to a wife you will find...go with your husband your lover or even the guy/girl you're having an affair with but hang out there and create a magical moment

there are many mathematical/geometrical designs in the wall of the Taj where even if you hate math you will be interested and there is alot of history behind everything you see there like how gods are depicted and their stories

It is cheap and very affordable for even college students who need to go out only for a one night thing...take a night train and then stay till evening and go back well from where i live

Anyways its a great spot to do many things my friend was asked by her current boyfriend to be "committed" to him in the sense to be more serious in their relationship its like they are almost engaged

Make memories because its what you look back on when your OLD
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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sylviandavid says:
nice review. thanks so much
Posted on: Feb 19, 2012
sharmahimanshu79 sharmahi…
1 reviews
Things to do and places to visit in Agra, India Nov 19, 2010
Agra happens to be my hometown and I spent my first 25 years of my life there. It's a small sleepy town on the bank of river Yamuna with little or no nightlife. So people who are looking for late night pubs and all will be disappointed. But if you are interested in historical places of grandeur than Agra is the place to be.

First and foremost is the "Taj Mahal" which is a must visit place for anybody travelling to North India. Tourists coming from abroad usually stay at New Delhi, the Indian capital city and travel to Agra by road or railway. If you want to stay at Agra than the town has many hotels in every category from luxury five stars to budget hotels.

Other places that you must visit are "The Red Fort","Sikandra" and "Fatehpur Sikri". These are all prominent historical places of Mughal era.

Agra is well connected to other major cities by road and rail.

As far as shopping is concerned, there are some good markets like Sadar Bazaar, Kinari Bazaar and Raja ki Mandi where you can buy some contemporary stuff and also not too expensive. Remember to bargain hard :)

As I said before that Agra doesn't have much night life so there are no good pubs and bars apart from the hotels where you are staying.

Welcome and I hope you enjoy the hospitality and warmth of India :)
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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sylviandavid says:
nice review. thank you
Posted on: Feb 19, 2012
toddster184 toddster…
22 reviews
Wonderful but a possible tourist trap...read on... Apr 19, 2009
To see the "new" Seventh Wonder of the World is an awesome experience...if it is your first one. But to be told about it 20 thousand times makes it annoying.

1. I say it is cheap if you area already in New Delhi or Agra. Entrance I was told was Rs.750.00 (approx. $15 USD). But if you have to fly to Agra or Delhi from somewhere else just to see it, it can be expensive. I got in for "free" but I dont know what that really meant. I didn't pay the Rs. 750, but I paid for the Rs. 20 for the socks to go over your shoes so that you can enter the Taj Mahal instead of walking barefeet and leaving your shoes by the steps. Then of course I paid the tour guide.

2. Shoe cover was a blessing for Rs.20 since I'd probably would not want to take off my shoes. There is a place to leave your shoes but it was 42C/100F outside and I reckon that the rubber carpet you will walk on would be hot. It is dark and cool inside the Taj, but still. Just the whole unsanitary walking around in bare feet didnt appeal to me.

3. It is majestic outside...yes...it was unimpressive inside. Yes, everything is symetrical but what wasn't that was built in those days. Light pass through marbles...yes...but what marble stucture doesnt. The fake tombs were just that...appeared fake and required no further investigation. I'd be impressed if you can see the real tombs. I've seen saint's burials that looked more authentic. I've put a torch on the marble to see the orange flowers reflect back...pretty.

4. The tour guide didn't let me take a photo inside when every one else was. One sure fire way to lessen the tip.

5. The smell of the river in the back was unbreable. It was particularly hot, humid and windy that day...nothing could mask the sewage smell. Bring a hanky with you.

6. After much talking about the Seventh Wonder of the world...which you will likely understand better if you were to read it on Wikipedia, the tour guide will take you to see some "artwork" associated with the Taj. Simple terms...he will take you to the shops. First stop: something that appears to be an educational demonstration of how the inlays on the Taj was achieved, then pressured to buying marble tables. Two, See the the stones that were used on the Taj that makes it sparkle in the night...more forcing to buy at a jewelry store. Three, will ask you if you are would like some tea...will take you to a tea shop but not to buy you tea...to sell you packets of tea.

Beware...photo ops with cameras folks that take your photo. Was told are too expensive. Photo people who say they will send it to you. Bring your own camera and have a friend take it. Do not hand camera over to anyone to take your picture. You may end up chasing them. No video cams, or tripods allowed either...sorry.

If you can go by yourself...do it...the tour guide will bore you and will take you to shops where they are linked afterwards. You will get the same information on Wikipedia. But just be aware of your surroundings and stay alert. Pickpockets are still to watch out for. If you are a woman, maybe go with a tour guide if you are alone. This may be a safer choice.

Overall, a nice thing to see...to bring back a lover...probably not...it wasn't very romantic. A cafe with a view of the Eiffel Tower is more romantic...and I wont feel pressured to buy anything afterwards except the espresso and biscotti I am having.

Photo spots: Walk towards the bathroom on your way out. The crosswalk before the bathrooms, there are trees and benches. Good shot of the Taj amongst the trees.

Arches near the bathrooms. The building where the bathrooms are in, walk to the end of it towards the exit. The last arch works as a good frame for your photo of the Taj like looking at the Taj Mahal from a window.

New Edit: Legend has it that lovers kill themselves on the Taj on full moon nights so it is no longer open to the public...I wonder if it is trully disappointment from love OR disappointment with this place. I'd say the latter.
Taj Mahal (Agra, India)
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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sylviandavid says:
thanks for this review
Posted on: Feb 19, 2012
KeikoCreative says:
Bring a hanky, probably I'll bring a whole huge bottle of perfume with me ha ha:P
Posted on: Aug 23, 2009
Flyinhigh says:
Wow! You had a much different experience than I did...but I did book my guide direct from the Oberoi hotel. I would consider myself well traveled and would say this was one of the best trips I have taken...perhaps that worked to my advantage.
Posted on: Apr 26, 2009
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