Our bus stopped quite far from the Taj because motor vehicles are only allowed within a certain distance because they are afraid the smog might damage the marble. There’s a lot of smog in India! Our tour guide claimed it was mist… But it smelt like smog and looked like smog… I highly doubt that it’s mist.
Anyway, we rode on a horse drawn carriage to get closer to the Wonder. There were A LOT of people! Indian citizens pay much less to enter.(which is fair.) On that day at the Taj Mahal there were so many different types of people all in one place! Indian folk, black people, Chinese, monks in orange gowns, Muslims covered in black cloths, indian women adorned in saris and jewels…. And everyone came to see and experience the same thing…the Taj Mahal.
It’s a stunning work of art and architectural creation. The marble they used is so beautiful. The Taj Mahal contains the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, a Persian princess, who was the wife of the emperor, Shah Jahan. She died during child birth and the emperor built the Taj for her.
In the movie, Slumdog Millionaire, they show how tourists shoes get stolen when they leave them outside to enter the Taj. Since people saw that movie the tourists now refuse to take their shoes off! So, Indian citizens enter on the one side and leave their shoes outside and tourists enter the other side and get given shoe covers which look like theater shoes.
Our Indian experience was merely a taster and some day I’d like to return for more! 🙂
If you do plan on traveling to India here are a few things I would recommend:
1. Book a group tour especially if it’s your first time in India, you are not a very seasoned traveller and/or you don’t know someone there.
2. Travel by train if you can. I would not recommend hiring a car unless you are seeking that sought of thrill.
3. A tour guide makes things a lot easier but know that there are cheaper places and restaurants than those your guide will take you. Also don’t be surprised if you unexpectedly stop at a carpet, marble, jewell or expensive spice shop. The guides get commission from taking tourists to these places. A bit annoying!
4. Stay away from indian dogs. The dogs are not always very tame and very often there is no rabies immunoglobulin available in the country.
5. Beware of the water and food especially if you come from a first world country or have a sensitive stomach. Some of the people in our group even used bottled water to brush their teeth.
6. Be open-minded. India is such a beautiful country with so much colour and passion. Food, ways and beliefs will probably be very different to those same things in your country. Observe and experience. Have a cheese burger when you get back home.