TAJ MAHAL ‘GENIUS’ GUIDE: GET THE BEST TAJ MAHAL EXPERIENCE:-
After successful hitchhiking (xxx LINK xxx) from Delhi to Agra within 8 hours, I finally made it to the destination that impresses people from around the world: the Taj Mahal. Here I share unique tips about not wasting time, including my opinion and a crazy unique story…
Arriving in Agra / Hostel
After arriving in Agra, I stayed at Zostel (Click here to book on Hostelworld), the hostel chain in India, again. I was still carrying the sign I used to hitchhike from Delhi to Agra, so when I entered the hostel and the employees of the hostel saw it, they seemed quite impressed that I managed to hitchhike from Delhi to Agra and asked me questions. They even put the sign on the wall. That same night I connected with some other people in the hostel and we all had a lot of fun talking and playing card games.
Buy your Taj Mahal ticket in advance
To arrive at the Taj Mahal on time for sunrise, we had to wake up at around 5:30 am, the earliest I’ve gotten up in a very long time and it wasn’t so easy haha. I went with Cassie, Adel, and Rigel, who I met the night before. We walked to the East-Gate ticket booth to purchase our tickets but it only opened at 6:00 am and cost 750 Rupees/person (ca. 12 USD). I realized that I had been told to get the ticket at night to avoid a long waiting queue in the morning but I had forgotten about it – clueless. We also purchased an audio guide tour for about 118 Rupees (ca. 2 USD), which wasn’t good, so don’t do it!
Important to know before going to purchase your ticket:
- Tickets can be purchased at the following booth from sunrise until sunset (check beforehand what’s suitable for you / check with your hostel:
- Taj Mahal West-Gate (ticket booth next to the Gate)
- Taj Mahal East-Gate (ticket booth ca. 750 m from East-Gate)
- Taj Mahal South-Gate (ticket booth next to the Gate)
- Don’t forget your valid ID.
- FYI: Taj Mahal is closed on every Friday.
For more information, read here: www.tajmahal.gov.in/ticketing1.html
The Taj Mahal experience/ arriving at the gate
From the ticket booth, we then headed to the gate on an auto rickshaw but the main door was still closed and the waiting lines were pretty long. There were four different lines separating women and men as well as locals and foreigners. The lines moved really slowly and I just wanted to go and see the sunrise; then there was the moment to start a little experiment:
Trying to connect with a policeman
I went to the front of the main door and asked a policeman a question. Then I asked if there was any way to come to the front and showed him 150 Rupees (ca. 2 USD), but he smiled and said: “Sorry bro, that doesn’t work here!” – worth a try tho. I went back to Rigel and we had to officially wait in the queue. Before we got to the front, I could see a sign with all the items prohibited and my German flag was one of them – damn.
It was finally our turn after waiting for at least 40 minutes to go to the Taj Mahal and unfortunately, we didn’t make it in time for the sunrise. First, I took some photos with fewer people. You know why? Because a whole bunch was still waiting outside the gate to get in – lol.
TAJ MAHAL EXPERIENCE
This was the moment of me doing something I wouldn’t have said, before but realized after that it was pretty crazy. In the morning, I spontaneously decided to get a photo with my Budgy Smuggler swimming trunks not thinking about any consequences. For me, most of the time when I do things like this, I just do them without thinking. Why plan so much and think about things too much before because it’s all about doing and not thinking.
The moment: I was standing in the restricted area pretending to take pictures of the Taj Mahal without many people – beautiful. I was already told off by a guy to leave the restricted area where I was getting ready for my crazy move because people who wanted to take a photo from the platform were getting annoyed at having me in the photo. This is the moment when I slowly started pulling down my shorts, then kept looking around before I quickly took off my t-shirt and ran over to the pool to pose in front of the Taj Mahal, so my friends could get a photo of me wearing my Budgy Smugglers with the Taj Mahal in the background.
A short video summary of this craziness:
What happened next? / Was I in serious trouble?
The policemen and a guy from the army came over and screamed at me, and this is actually the moment when I actually felt: oops what have I done? Was it something really bad? I was just about to put my t-shirt back on when the army guy took it off me with a really angry posture, as you can see in the video above. I looked at his face and he didn’t seem happy, rather very serious in fact, and perhaps this was not the right time to be amused. At this moment, I was thinking will this have any consequences? I was just taking a picture without any bad intention…
To be honest, in the first moment standing there posing for the picture when the policemen and army guy made me aware that I might have done something wrong, it got me shaking a little bit – but I still thought it was pretty cool and brave after all. It wasn’t my intention to be disrespectful to the culture or anyone there in any way because it was just to capture a fun picture like what the brand Budgy Smuggler stands for.
So, the answer was luckily nothing really happened – puuuhhh – but they made sure that the people around the picture taking deleted all the photos. The good thing about it was that I was pretty smart and prepared (as I almost knew), and I had all my friends with me using several cameras:
- Rigel was responsible for a video, which he got and didn’t get caught – good job.
- Cassie was to take photos with two cameras, one I told her to hide when they came and the other she had to delete – still a good job.
- Adel took photos but she had to delete them – so she was the loser of the day, haha.
After that, all my friends smiled at me and we walked away.
The audio tour – not recommended
At the end of this madness, we kept walking around to discover the area before we started our audio tour, which was pretty boring, and so we wandered around the Taj Mahal and didn’t end up listening to the tour; so I really don’t recommend it.
Fun fact when in India
Some guys approached me and asked to take a photo, later on, many others lined up to take photos with me. I wasn’t sure why they did after what I’d done, but I enjoyed connecting with the locals and it was still entertaining. For more fun facts about India: click here: www.itravelforever.com/24-must-knows-india
I TRAVEL FOREVER’s VIEW & RECOMMENDATION
I would apologize for being disrespectful to anyone whatsoever because it was never my intention. Just acted like a free spirit without thinking of the consequences of the action. I’m happy that I went all the way to do something randomly and so I’m glad I walked the walk. Unfortunately, I missed the sunrise; so I would say either go there or skip it because it was a neutral experience considering the majesty of the Taj Mahal itself.
An important quote that came to mind during my journey that I want to share is that “traveling has no limits!”
#TW # GET THE BEST TAJ MAHAL EXPERIENCE
Addendum: We had breakfast. I tried to book a train but didn’t really know what to do and, it’s such a hassle to find availability, so I decided to head to Jaipur on the local bus. I napped, packed and left Agra at 4:00 pm with my newly-made English friend, Ella. The first stop was Budhapur and then some others. The distance to Agra was 248km and cost 211 Rupees (ca. 3 USD) for men, 200 Rupees (ca. 2,90 USD) for women – so random. We finally got there at 9:00 pm and went to McDonald’s before heading to Zostel.