The very first thing people dream about when journeying to India is the world-renowned Taj Mahal.
We look up blogs, pictures, times and all information we can possibly find so that when WE see it for the first time, it’s as magical as we’ve dreamed about.
What often is missed, is how unbecoming Agra can be at times. I generally avoided the large cities of India and the reason my trip was filled with beauty and surprised so many of just how beautiful India could be, was for this reason.
Agra is not an un-beautiful city, but the cleanliness, poverty and overall grappling of large crowds can be overwhelming to say the least.
I chose to commit to seeing the Taj Mahal at the best possible time in the easiest possible way.
So I chose to stay within a short distance of the beautiful Taj Mahal at the quaint but well-services Safarnama Agra
I was able to arrive and be one of the first to enter the Taj Mahal and was able to head straight over to east corner to get a somewhat uninterrupted viewing and of course, let’s be honest here, great photo opportunity.
The crowds pour in as early as 3:00am to line-up even though entry doesn’t start until 6:00am so I am still yet to discover the best time to go to get a “magic hour” moment without crowds.
Tip of the day and my experience would be to head to the east wing, as generally everyone crowds around the front water fountain and inside dome thinking this is where everyone takes that infamous shot, which it is, but there are many more beautiful and hidden corners as well as the sun rising and hitting the glistening white marble and creating a shimmering diamond effect over the Taj Mahal from this side.
I stayed there from about 6:00am til after 8:00am and I can say it truly didn’t start becoming interrupted views until about then, with locals coming inside to pray in the temple.
My overall experience of the Taj Mahal I wouldn’t say is overrated or underrated. It is magnificent to behold, but of course, that beauty comes with maximum eyes witnessing it and the crowds of course would make it a less authentic experience. But obviously to expect that is neither letting yourself down or not. I don’t think I had a gasping moment, it was beautiful and surreal to stand there and more so the fact of “where” I was mentally, physically and spiritually in the essence that I had “made it to India” and epitomised the Taj Mahal as the representation of that, was probably more the take-away for me personally.
I did have quite a nice time the day before as well visiting the gardens that over-look the Taj Mahal during sunset and was able to witness lovers picnicking and birds flying across in flocks making some very beautiful moments for me to have fun capturing. Another added bonus of staying close-by.
Of course the Taj Mahal is not to be missed. Therefore I recommend staying somewhere for the one night to see the sunset and the sunrise of the Taj Mahal that is close by and I liked the fact that Safarnama is reasonably priced, offers everything that you need and is tucked away close by but away from the dirtier main roads and large crowds making it feel safe and comfortable.
To enjoy the Taj Mahal, I recommend Janu Private Tours for their logistical services as well as providing a local guide who went above and beyond standing in the ticket line while we waited in the entrance line and general knowledge of the areas and efficient pick-up and drop-off times.
I also would recommend the convenience of Safarnama Agra when visiting the Taj Mahal for its location and friendly staff. The rooms are equipped with what you need, perhaps more on the average side but you’re truly only staying for a main Taj Mahal purpose and they make up for it with incredible service and friendliness, as well as a welcomed array of snacks in the room for you to have all that Taj Mahal energy 🙂
To book the hotel: safarnamahouse.com
To book the tour: www.januprivatetours.com
Thank you for reading! I’m sure a lot of you have been to the Taj Mahal before, please help me and fellow readers by sharing your tips below for any welcomed suggestions and advice on visiting the Taj Mahal