Touring the Taj

Built in 1648 by Shah Jahan as a monument to his third wife, who died giving birth to their 14th child, the Taj Mahal still stands as one of the greatest man made structures anywhere in the world. Attracting upwards of 4 million visitors per year, the Taj is India’s top tourist spot, with many foreigners now being inspired to make the journey thanks to the success of Slumdog Millionaire.

Recently the Houston Chronicle published an excellent article with great tips on touring the Taj, which was named a World Heritage Site back in 1983. The article is a great read for anyone planning on visiting the massive mausoleum, which can be quite daunting for the unprepared.

One of the first tips offered up for travelers is that they hire a regulated guide to show them around the sprawling grounds that consist of the iconic white domed tomb, as well as a large garden, and a number of smaller buildings as well. The guide will not only help you navigate the place, they’ll also make sure that you aren’t mobbed by vendors and beggers while making the final trek to the entrance gate, which isn’t all that close to where you’ll park.

Also of note, the article recommends that you go to the Taj twice, once at dawn and once at dusk. This will double your chances to avoid crowds, which can be quite massive and chaotic during the days, and allow you to stroll the compound at your own pace.