How to reach Taj Mahal:
The city of Agra, where the Taj Mahal is located is 204 kms from Delhi, 235 kms from Jaipur and 125 kms from Gwalior – these three places are the main tourism hubs surrounding Agra. The most popular method of reaching Agra is from Delhi by train (2 to 3 hours) and road (4 to 5 hours), and from Jaipur by road (5 to 6 hours) and train (4 hours).
Best Time to visit: October to March
The Taj Mahal is open for visitors from sunrise to sunset everyday except Fridays, so timings vary around the year.
Entry Ticket Cost (February 2017)
- Foreign tourist – INR 1000 per person
- Citizens of SAARC and BIMSTEC Countries – INR 530 per person
- Domestic/Indian – Rs. 40 per person
As soon as one enter the main entrance gate, they get the first glimpse at this immense mausoleum of white marble, the Taj Mahal. It is worth taking a picture of this white marvel from the gate.
The Taj Mahal was built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife Mumtaj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is the jewel of Mughal architecture in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage. The construction project employed some 20,000 artisans under the guidance of a board of architects led by the architect to the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.
The Taj Mahal is currently(as on 27th Feb, 2017) undergoing restoration work by Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) which is expected to last a year more or so. During the restoration, the discoloration and yellowish tint on white marble will be cleaned white. You can see scaffolding on the North East Minaret which is under restoration, after which the restoration of the dome is slated to start from April, 2017.
One can clearly see the difference and results of restored north-west minaret from rest of the Taj Mahal in the picture above.
The exterior decorations of the Taj Mahal are among the finest in Mughal architecture. As the surface area changes, the decorations are refined proportionally. The main and highly intrinsic decorative techniques used on the outside of Taj are Inlay work, Marble latticed screen carving (Jali), Calligraphy, plant motifs, etc.
The calligraphy on the Great Gate reads, “O Soul, thou art at rest. Return to the Lord at peace with Him, and He at peace with you.”
All Images above © Pradeep Parihar