Sunday 10th June
Today we went to the Taj Mahal, a place that I've always wanted to check out. Tickets were pricey but it's understandable considering that it's a world renowned monument. Foreigners pay 1000Rs whilst locals pay 40Rs. Go figure lol. The benefits however are that you get to queue jump which is only fair considering that you're paying such a large amount. You also get a 500ml bottle of water which is included in the price and toilets are free for you to use. Considering how hot the country is, the water goes so quickly but there are water fountains conveniently situated at various points. A free ride from the main round to the Taj is included too though we did not use it as we found out about it too late. As is expected, security checks are rigorous so only bring essentials such as your camera, phone and national ID with you. You're not even allowed to bring food with you so bear that in mind if and when you go.
I was really excited to see the monument and I literally just stood for a minute to take it all in. The monument isn't as big as I thought it would be but it certainly is beautiful. It is understandably a very crowded place so you really have to be determined to get some good pictures especially those cheesy tourist type ones like the one I have below.
The experience was almost ruined by pictures constantly being taken of us with many taken without our consent. Imagine going to a monument and not being allowed to enjoy it in its totality due to being stopped incessantly. I really made a concerted effort to just enjoy myself and I'm glad I did. The Taj Mahal is a beautiful testament to real love and it is worth checking out. They have managed to maintain religious integrity as on Fridays the place is closed for those that go to the mosque attached to the monument which is good. There are quite a number of touts however so be careful and don't fall for the various tricks that people will say. It's up to you if you want a tour guide, bearing in mind that many are offered at inflated prices. Even some of the government officials were in on it too unfortunately. As such we decided to forego any tour guide and went around ourselves.
One of the garden quadrants was undergoing some work but apart from that everything else was intact. I would definitely recommend it and everyone should try and see it at least once whilst they're still alive. For me, it's more the story behind the monument that intrigues me though the marble work is exquisite and a beautiful sight to behold. All in all it was a lovely trip and I'm glad I finally got to check it out.
P.S. Next week I will be covering my time in Jaipur, a.k.a. the 'Pink City'.