By Carla Maradey
Living in this part of the world, one has to find time to visit one of the world’s seven wonders. It’s a must-see, no doubt in my mind. After living in India for seven-plus years, I can honestly say I have lost track of the number of times I’ve been able to visit The Taj Mahal, the world’s most mesmeric monumental phenomenon made for Mumtaz Mahal (the fourth and favorite wife of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan) in the name of love. I never got tired of visiting and traveled there whenever I had a chance.
The Taj Mahal has attracted people globally until Covid came into our lives simply because tourism is not allowed into India until things go back to normal. Nevertheless, I decided to take a trip over the weekend and with my husband, my three years old and all our house staff. The Taj Mahal is a three hour drive from Delhi as the expressway has made the commute more enjoyable and if you leave early morning, you can easily make it a day trip. I wanted to take some family pictures and make an album of our memories in India. I truly believe now is the right time to visit.
The massive ivory-white marble building overlooking the Yamuna river is an inspiration to many other tombs and domes constructed worldwide. It is relatively empty due to Covid, and I believe it’s a right time to visit and enjoy without the massive crowds. A chance to take lovely family pictures. Known for its beauty, charm, and glorious love tale, the Taj Mahal is one of India’s most frequented attractions. If you take the necessary precautions, you could make a day trip from Delhi and make the most out of our current situation during Covid.
There are tales of people who visit Agra just to catch a glimpse of this beautiful monument. When planning a vacation or a day trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, there are certain things you must know. I have made a list of essential points that can come in handy when planning your next trip to the incredible Taj Mahal.
No Tobacco and alcohol
You are not allowed to carry certain things with you inside the premises of the Taj Mahal. Alcohol and Tobacco are 100% restricted, and if you are found trying to carry alcohol into the premises, you can be imprisoned. Beware! There are several security checks and it is near impossible to escape the clutches of the police.
No food items or beverages
However long you stand in the queue to enter (which at the moment are non-existent, as you buy tickets online before arrival). Before you enter the building, you aren’t allowed to have food or beverages with you. The only things allowed are a bottle of water and baby food if you have an infant with you.
No Chargers and tripods
Do not carry any electronic gadgets, including your mobile chargers and tripods, as they are not allowed. Smartphones are allowed. There are safe lockers at security checkpoints. During normal circumstances, you may spend a while with others in long lines trying to get back your things so best not to carry extra electronic devices. Along with the entrance ticket, you have to get a separate ticket to carry the phones and cameras inside. Also note, taking photos is forbidden inside the mausoleum of the Taj Mahal.
No extra bags
There are several security checkpoints to go through on the premises of the Taj Mahal. Only ONE handbag per person is allowed and it is thoroughly scanned. They will make you empty your bag into a bin to make sure you follow the guidelines of what you can bring into the sight.
No notepads or books
It is forbidden to read or write within the premises of the Taj Mahal. Best to keep any notepads, journals or any form of reading material at your hotel or in the car if you want to avoid the hassle at security checkpoints.
Have a Guide
Learning the history of this beautiful masterpiece is essential. However, when you are hiring a guide, it is crucial to get a good one through proper channels. Otherwise, you might lose a lot of money. We’ve lived in India for a number of years and have traveled to the Taj Mahal several times so I have an excellent contact to share.
Mr. Gupta (please find his info. in directory), a retired Indian from the Air Force known to our family for many years. He has helped our family and friends every time we’ve visited the Taj Mahal. You can call if you have any questions and arrange to meet at the Taj once you’ve made your booking. He will be of great help if you have any questions.
The Taj Mahal closed this year on the 17th of March and reopened on the 21st of September, 2020.
At present, all tickets need to be bought online before arrival.
Kids below 15 years of age enter free.
OCI holders and locals pay 245 rupees.
Foreign nationals pay 1250 rupees.
ID is required at the entrance. Please have it with you when you’re at the gate.
These are some of the most important things you must know when visiting the Taj Mahal, and don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Taj Mahal even during Covid times as you won’t regret it. As long as you follow proper social distance, use your mask and carry hand sanitizer, you should be fine.
The Taj Mahal, a monument built in the honour of his beloved wife.. and men nowadays complain about gifting flowers and chocolates. It’s just crazy….lol