Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders

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Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders

The Taj Mahal – one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a construction with a really beautiful history. We’ll come back to that later though.

The beautiful Taj Mahal Palace in Agra

In the afternoon we drove to Agra, a city located about 210 km from Delhi. The journey took about 4 hours, but although we did not suffer any awful traffic jam we were able to witness India’s famous chaotic traffic. If we had rented a car here we would have been in trouble.

When we arrived in Agra there were 2 things we had to do: try to get some cash from an ATM at a difficult time for the country (that we explained in “5 days in India” article) and negotiate with the hotel to cancel our second night there (as we had booked 2 nights in Jaipur, starting the next day).

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Well, at such a difficult time we weren’t able to withdraw any cash from the ATM, and the guest house we were staying at didn’t accept credit cards, because their machine was broken. For this reason the owner didn’t want to check us in, even though I told him that I would try to go to a bank again later that day and the next morning, and the worst case scenario would be for me to transfer the money to their bank account.

I’m not sure if he has lots of guests who try to cheat him, but that situation was testing my patience and I was about to call our driver and ask him to take us to the guest house he had recommended for us, which was located a few minutes away. In the end, probably because he saw that we weren’t really satisfied with that situation and that we were about to leave, he found a solution so we could pay by credit card – we paid via another hotel where his son is the general manager. With the situation resolved we just tried to enjoy the rest of our trip in Agra.

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The next morning we went to the Taj Mahal and immediately understood why this is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

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At the counter where you buy your ticket you can pay 10 rupees for shoe covers to wear inside the mausoleum, although you can also go barefoot if you prefer. When you’ve paid for your ticket there are some electric buses that take you to the entrance of the Taj Mahal (about 1 kilometer away) for free. It’s up to you if you want to pay for private transportation to cover the distance and avoid getting too hot or tired.

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Family Travel Secret
Luckily that same day ‘Heritage Week’ started in Agra, so we didn’t have to pay entry fees for the Taj Mahal, nor for the city’s fort. Normally the Taj Mahal costs 500 rupees per person, and that saved us 1000 in total (we wouldn’t have had to pay for Noah).

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Our visit to the Taj Mahal

At the entrance (where they told us that the line would be long, although we didn’t have to wait), women go in a different way from men. Noah got a little teddy bear in Bangkok that he has taken nearly everywhere with him since, but they checked our belongings and, after thinking about it for a while, the security guard didn’t let us take it in. We left it temporarily at a shop near the entrance (where we bought a small souvenir) so we could start our visit.

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Family Travel Secret
The Taj Mahal receives around 8 million visitors each year. You aren’t permitted to take in candies, food, toys, or anything that could be dumped or forgotten, as the security staff don’t trust everyone to respect the environment and people leave trash lying around.

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The Taj Mahal … The pictures speak for themselves 🙂

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Family Travel Secret
The Taj Mahal has one of the most beautiful love stories we’ve ever heard. Shah Jahan ordered it to be built upon the death of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, when she gave birth to their fourteenth child.

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It took more than 20 years to build the Taj Mahal, from 1632 to 1653 … It is a beautiful building made of white marble that cost the trifling sum of 32 million rupees (about 52 million rupees today) and was worked on by more than 20,000 craftsmen. It is a shining example of Muslim art in India.

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You enter the interior of the building in an “orderly” fashion and can see a replica of the tombs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan. The original sarcophagi are on the lower floor, which is not accessible. Photos are not allowed, although we were able to take a few in the adjacent walkways.

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There is a building on each side: a mosque and a guest house with an impressive view of the Yamuna River.

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Although impressive, a visit to the Taj Mahal normally takes no more than 2-3 hours, so after that we packed our things again, stopped at the entrance of the Red Fort in Agra for a pit stop 🙂 and headed to our next destination with a beautiful sunset.

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Next stop, Jaipur!

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