le 21 décembre 2007

The advantage of having a tour guide was that, there are many advantages, Ha; he knows the goings and way through the place, so we head off to the Taj Mahal so early in the very cold morning before seven, for him, so that we will avoid the crowd, which he also always said for us to be aware of pickpockets.

west gateThere are entrances leading to the main gate to the Taj. The Southern Gate faces the old Mumtazabad (Modern Taj Ganj). It is meant for pedestrians or the pedlars only. On the right side of the gate is a tomb of red stone which is surrounded by court Yards and crowned with a dome, said to have a grave of one lady companion of Mymtaj Mahal, and due to this reason, the building is called the tomb of a Maid of Honour.

Eastern gate faces towards Fatehabad. There is a domed tomb erected on the elevated platform near this gate, built in the memory of another wife of Shah Jahan called Sirhindi Begum, and so the gate is known as “Sirhi Darwaza”. The main building is eight sided, having twenty four arches, a big hall and a veranda.

west gate

The western gate is the main entrance of the Taj Mahal, facing towards Agra cantonment and Agra city. There is a red sand stone edifice erected on a beautiful terrace outside this gate which is known as Fatehpuri Begum, another wife of Shah Jahan. There we entered through the west gate. There were guards on the entrance, and no matter how they seemed to be very old and outdated, the guns would still prevent troublemakers. Upon buying the tickets, which is 750 rupees each, (now they only accept rupees, dollars are not accepted since it is devaluating) there is a complementary bottled water, great. There are lines for men and women to enter where each one is inspected and all bags opened. Food are not allowed, and if you have one in your bag, it will be confiscated and thrown for the monkeys to catch. There were just so few people there that we made it through easily and fast through the gate and the be in the Fore Court leading to the main gate of the Taj Mahal, where photographers were selling their services. Though we have our cameras, I asked hubby to hire one of those photographers for you know, they are professionals, and just great, along with the album it also comes with the film.