It's Agra and we have a cow here.
Up early this morning, and we're looking for a ride to go and see the Taj. Oh with any luck, this should be it. [Simon] Good morning, I want to go to the Taj.
Might have needed to put something warmer on. I'm heading down to see the Taj Mahal. Oh and look at that queue, look at that.
Tickets i think are over there, people are everywhere. Oh I got here before opening but not before the queue started. Well, it is one of the most popular sights in all of India so not surprising.
Let's cut through the queue to get our ticket. And people, tickets here we go There's a counter for foreign tourists and a counter for Indian tourists, here we go, in we go. No queues now everybody has got their ticket and is queuing over there already.
With me no need to wait in line. [Simon] Well if i have to wait i'll wait. If they're nice to you they'll ask to help you skip the queue I hear it's a km long, three hour wait but i believe if you go over this way there's a way in for foreigners, i think.
I'm about to find out because everyone in this queue is Indian. Okay so i just to prepare yourselves a little bit there is quite long queues to get in although there is separate queues for men and women and for foreigners who buy a priority ticket, a ooo rupee ticket as opposed to locals so make sure you get in the right queue. Also when you get in they do search and they are quite strict on security, tripods, metal items that they don't understand anything or don't know what they are, are not allowed in.
So the security is tight, excuse me a minute. Obviously he's gotta blow his horn to get through, uhm, oh he's security so will not pick on him. So yes when you go through security they search, if you've got a bag on you they search your bags and if they find metal bits and odd random things so I of course had my steady cam, I didn't bring a tripod I thought maybe I could hold it, no you're not allowed it in, and a map of Delhi which was not allowed in.
I have no idea why, so you then have to walk about metres from the entrance, when you've already queued and got in to a locker room which charges pesos to hold it for you for the day so I've just walked down there given them my pesos, my steady cam and my map of Delhi for them to look after while I eventually now get in and see the Taj Mahal. Now i'm not sure what happens now because I obviously queued, got in, went through got all the stamps and everything then I had to go out to put my things in the locker. Now, you know, does it mean i can skip the queue and just go straight to the front? Or straight through the entrance? I don't want to check security again, I don't know, but we're about to find out.
Because i really don't want to wait in this queue again, I should have been more prepared. Anyway when you come along, you'll be more prepared now. Ok, gonna put the camera away now while I attempt to skip through security again, well not skip through, skip the queue and get through here again.
And I'm in! I am officially inside the Taj Mahal, well inside the grounds of the Taj Mahal. Past the queues, past the ticket, past the security, past putting things in the locker room then back to security and check again and I've just got my first glimpse of the roof of the Taj Mahal. There it is there, so let's go and get a closer look.
And this is the main entry you come in through east, west or south gate, and then you arrive here, I know it's a bit distant but if you look through arch where everybody is streaming is the Taj Mahal peeking. Wow it's huge. The Taj Mahal, one of the most iconic spots in all of India suddenly when you think India this is one of the things that springs into mind, that and sari's and good food.
But here I am at the Taj Mahal in Agra, built by the Emperor for his favourite wife as a mausoleum to house her body after she died. Now that's a sign of affection. Now coming to the Taj there's a few tips for you to bear in mind, first of all even if you come early there's long queues.
Now if you're a foreigner and you buy a foreigner ticket what they call a privilege ticket, you can shortcut alot of these queues. Secondly you go through quite a bit of security obviously to keep the place safe, a lot of things like tripods, anything metal, certain written materials are not allowed in. If you do bring them with you once you get through the ticket process into the queue and then security they check your bag and they find these, you have to go and put them in a locker room which is about a to minute walk outside again.
You deposit your things, pay rupees they look after them for you then you have to walk back in, you don't have to queue the second time, you show your locker ticket that you've been stamped then you go in again. But to bear in mind that things like tripods, metal things, certain written material is not allowed inside so bring minimum possible. Food is also not allowed in either, if you get a privilege ticket they do give you a free half litre bottle of water as well, so that's quite nice.
Secondly as you come in, even if you come in early it's gonna be busy I mean except in the wet season the monsoon seasons good time of the year, November, December, January, February or October it is busy. So expect that, the earlier you get the less busy it is but there's still gonna be lots of people. But there's still plenty of room to enjoy, it is a fantastic sight.
As you go into the first entry you come to a big arch, you see the Taj Mahal and then there's some steps down before the water starts like in this picture. Up to that point and where I am now and right to the edge of it you're allowed to post and photograph but you're not allowed to post from this point onwards. So you can only post from back here and you can photograph into the ground up to the mausoleum and inside the mausoleum you're not allowed to photograph or post anything at all.
Also going in to the mausoleum at the end there you either take your shoes off and leave your shoes outside or they do provide shoe covers over your shoes and you shuffle round. An they look fetchingly like this. So that's a quick tour, that's a quick explanation of the Taj Mahal, if I think of a better way of putting it or if I've missed anything out I'll do another post but in the meantime here's some shots I took, mixture of post and photos because I could only take posts up to a certain distance from there in the gardens I had to take photos only but here they are, so enjoy them as I sit back and enjoy this fantastic bit of Indian architecture.
The Taj Mahal, yes.