Monday, October 07, 2019

India: Part 12 - The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal! The Crown Jewel! A Wonder of the World! You've seen tons of photos already, but I'll show you more.

Our tour itinerary initially had us slated to visit the Taj the day before in the afternoon, but we voted that we wanted to see it in the morning and try for some less crowded photos instead. So we swapped Agra Fort for the afternoon and woke up at 4:30am to be in line by 5am to get in at 6am when it opens. Thankfully hot tea can keep you warm while you wait in the dark.

We had 15 minutes or so for photos after we rushed in, then we spent some time with our guide to learn a few things, and then we had a couple hours on our own to wander around.

Being there in the dark fog was pretty magical. And yes, there were plenty of other people there, too, but it definitely got much more crowded later. Go early!

I was very comfy and warm-ish in my hoodie and sneakers. But those Instagrammers who came in here with sundresses and full makeup, whoa.

You get a bottle of water with your entrance fee, FYI.

I'm sure you know the story about why this was built. If you don't, go Google that. But short story, Shah Jahan, who was imprisoned over at the fort across the way, built this for the tomb of his favorite wife. He's buried in here, too. The entire complex is totally symmetrical, with the Taj Mahal in the center and two buildings on each side, one is a mosque. The only thing not symmetrical is inside the tombs, where each of them are buried. Slightly different shapes and sizes of tombs, and you can't take photos inside of that part.

It started to get really foggy as I walked around the back of the complex.

Enjoy the rest of my meandering.

Looking from the Taj Mahal back to the entrance.

I'm dark, but I'm in this.

Watch that fog roll in.

I thought it was pretty cool. But I will say this at the risk of an unpopular opinion - the Taj Mahal is certainly beautiful, but it didn't blow me away like I expected it to. Since I visited it towards the end of my trip, I'd already seen SO MANY incredible places that this just was another one of them.  I probably liked other palaces and temples more than this. If you're going to India to see the Taj, cool, but please consider getting to other spots not in the Golden Triangle, because it's all really amazing!

Way more people on the platform later.

One of the guides walking around insisted I take a photo with the Taj Mahal reflection in my glasses. Is it the coolest photo ever?

They also have photographers you can hire for a photo shoot around the complex, so you get that perfect shot. Or the one of you pinching the top of the dome so it looks like you're holding it up. I figured I'd be okay without that.

Almost time to leave!

See ya next time, Taj Mahal. That's me, Susan, Mel, Ona, Cassie, Mark and Angela.

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