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Visit the Taj Mahal
Prior to visiting India from the USA, you will need a visa. See our article here.
For a general idea of what to do in India, click here.
If you do a search of "top places to visit in India," the city of Agra, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, almost always comes to the top of official lists and personal opinion blogs. The reason: the Taj Mahal. Here's what you need to know:
|The Taj Mahal and gardens|
1. It's a mausoleum. It was commissioned by Shah Jahan in 1631 in memory of his wife Mumtaz Majal, who died in childbirth of her 14th child. The entire complex was completed around 1648. Mumtaz was allegedly the love of the Shah's life, beautiful, adored and respected.
|If you go early or are there before closing, there will be fewer people for your dream photo|
2. The mausoleum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, designated in 1983, most notably for its beauty in Muslim art. The site was also listed on the New7Wonders of the World.
|Get creative with still photography; video cameras are not permitted|
3. Inside the actual area with the tombs, photos are not permitted.
|Also, shoes are not permitted but there are shoe covers available|
4. The grounds include a magnificent gateway (the great gate), which is so impressive that you may have a slight traffic jam as people first stop to admire the gateway and then are starstruck as they pass through and see their first view of the Taj Mahal.
|The Great Gate|
5. Also on the grounds are two almost twin outlying buildings (a mosque and guesthouse) and the famous pool.
6. Many people visit with tours, which is strongly advised. Your tour guide will give you all the historic and fun facts. You guide will also get you through the line to the bag check a little quicker.
7. Plan to go special times: sunrise, sunset or a nice moon make for a memorable visit. Don't discount the rain, which may be accompanied by a mysterious fog.
8. You can hire an approved photographer, which is highly advised. They are outside of the site and have ID to show they are official.
|Don't forget to tour the gardens|
9. See this page for what is not permitted. It's the usual, such as video cameras, tripods, big bags, etc. For some reason, the web site says no mobile phones for night time viewing but it also says they should be switched off.
|Use your phone for photos only|
10. Speaking of night viewing, they have a special schedule 5 times a month when the moon is full and the two days prior and after.
For more information, including current admission information, visit the official website at https://tajmahal.gov.in.