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The one for his wife is the one we all know, and the second one, for himself, was supposed to be a black Taj Mahal! Imagine that!
Two Taj Mahal, one white, and another one in black, with a bridge between them! Anyway, the emperor was deposed, they completed the Taj Mahal that had been under construction for years, but they never started the construction of the second one! I arrived in Agra from New Delhi one day before visiting the Taj Mahal, and I still had a glimpse of the monument before going there. How come? There are several rooftops in Agra, and you can see the Taj Mahal from there.
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Being a backpacker, long-term traveling, I recommend not going to the Oberoi hotel. Drinks are more expensive than in Paris there! Either go to the rooftop of the Kamal hotel , or the one at the Saniya hotel.
Photos of Taj Mahal
Thus, very few people know it exists. I give all the tips at the end of the article, but as you might imagine, a wonder of the world, that popular, is constantly invaded by tourists from all over the world! To fully enjoy your visit of the Taj Mahal without feeling overwhelmed by the crowd, I strongly recommend you to be there at the opening time, 6 in the morning.
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There will be people, but it will be nothing compared to the crowd at 8, and then all day long! And writing about it cannot explain how beautiful this place is!!! Tripods are banned. Remember to retrieve your free ml bottle of water and shoe covers included in Taj ticket price.
If you keep your ticket, you get small entry-fee discounts when visiting Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, Akbar's Tomb or the Itimad-ud-Daulah on the same day. Bags much bigger than a money pouch are not allowed inside; free bag storage is available. Any food or tobacco will be confiscated when you go through security, as will pens.
From both the east and west gates you first enter a monumental inner courtyard with an impressive 30m red-sandstone gateway on the south side. The ornamental gardens are set out along classical Mughal charbagh formal Persian garden lines — a square quartered by watercourses, with an ornamental marble plinth at its centre.
When the fountains are not flowing, the Taj is beautifully reflected in the water. The Taj Mahal itself stands on a raised marble platform at the northern end of the ornamental gardens, with its back to the Yamuna River. Its raised position means that the backdrop is only sky — a masterstroke of design. Purely decorative 40m-high white minarets grace each corner of the platform. After more than three centuries they are not quite perpendicular, but they may have been designed to lean slightly outwards so that in the event of an earthquake they would fall away from the precious Taj.
The red-sandstone mosque to the west is an important gathering place for Agra's Muslims.
The identical building to the east, the jawab , was built for symmetry. The central Taj structure is made of semitranslucent white marble, carved with flowers and inlaid with thousands of semiprecious stones in beautiful patterns.
Taj Mahal, India
A perfect exercise in symmetry, the four identical faces of the Taj feature impressive vaulted arches embellished with pietra dura scrollwork and quotations from the Quran in a style of calligraphy using inlaid jasper. The whole structure is topped off by four small domes surrounding the famous bulbous central dome. Directly below the main dome is the Cenotaph of Mumtaz Mahal , an elaborate false tomb surrounded by an exquisite perforated marble screen inlaid with dozens of different types of semiprecious stones.
Beside it, offsetting the symmetry of the Taj, is the Cenotaph of Shah Jahan , who was interred here with little ceremony by his usurping son Aurangzeb in Light is admitted into the central chamber by finely cut marble screens.