Taj mahal guided

Taj mahal guided tour for photographers

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Who has come to India without ever thinking of visiting the emblematic Taj Mahal , the grandiose tomb that Emperor Shah Jahan had built for his loving wife Mumtâz? Tourists agree on this point: this garden tomb is the finest treasure of Mughal architecture and at the same time the most perfect testimony to the omnipotence of the Muslim empire.  Before visiting the Taj Mahal, discover our tips and tricks for capturing photos of the famous mausoleum.

Avoid the crowds at all costs

The Taj Mahal (literally “Crown Palace”) is to India what the Sistine Chapel is to Italy. A site that every self-respecting photographer dreams of photographing! That said, nearly 15,000 visitors go there every day. You don’t need to be a photo pro to realize that the beautiful white marble will lose its charm if there are too many people. A word of advice: you should only take out your camera at times when the square is deserted or frequented by as few tourists as possible.

When Mumtaz, Shah Jahan’s third wife, passed away in 1631, the emperor could not be consoled for his grief. To immortalize their love, he gave the order to build a mausoleum. Shah Jahan called upon skilled architects, goldsmiths, sculptors and engineers from Europe and Central Asia. The result was a sublime construction in white marble resting on a red sandstone base, adorned with 4 minarets and a central dome of 74 meters. Designated as “  a solitary tear placed on the cheek of time  ” by the poet Tagore and listed among the seven wonders of the modern world, the Taj Mahal is an exceptional monument that will not disappoint lovers of stone or photography.

In the heart of Agra, a three-hour drive from New Delhi, the mausoleum stands on the banks of the Yamuna River. Construction began in 1632 and ended in 1648.

The right season to go to the Taj Mahal

We are firm on this subject: winter is not recommended if you want to have a unique view of the Taj Mahal . Despite the clemency of the temperature, the sky is shrouded in a thick fog which completely hides the building and hardly allows its white marble to stand out. The worst months to avoid are December, January and February.

To pay homage to this Mughal heritage, the recommended season is spring , which begins in April and ends in June, or autumn , from September until the beginning of November.

Best time for Taj Mahal photography: sunrise and sunset

The Taj Mahal site is open to visitors every day except Friday. Visiting hours are from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Foreign tourists must pay an entrance fee of Rp 1,000, the equivalent of €12.56.

For a fully successful photo of the Taj Mahal , we advise you to leave at dawn. Be careful not to show up at the wrong door. The east door is invaded by a procession of holiday coaches, while the south door does not open until later. It is necessary to choose the West door and to point there well a long time before the opening of the enclosure. If you arrive at 8:30 a.m., it’s hard to avoid the flood of tourists who will spoil your photographic experience.

Leaving early improves the quality of the image by taking advantage of the dewy morning light. The stone marquetry of the mausoleum stands out clearly, lit by the rising sun.

The visit is just as magical at sunset. The Taj Mahal is strikingly beautiful when its white marble dome is bathed in twilight, with plays of shadow and light. Only concern: the place is crowded at this moment, and the long line of tourists will appear on the photo.

The best vantage points to photograph the Taj Mahal

To visit the Taj Mahal at a low price while ensuring a unique point of view, the trick is to explore only its outer part. In addition, it will save you from facing the uncontrollable swell of tourists.

On the other side of the Yamuna River, photographers will have a splendid view of the Taj Mahal . Direction the gardens of Mehtab Bagh (allow 200 Rp, or 3 €/pers.), a wooded park of around 14 ha facing the mausoleum. You can be sure to get a great picture provided the sun is out!

Another tip: take a boat ride on the river, like a 17th century court lady , then descend to the foot of the mosque.

On the east wing of the Taj Mahal, there is an abandoned watchtower rarely used by tourists. It is also one of the best positions to photograph the huge funeral mausoleum.

Regulations concerning photography

There is only one rule applicable to all visitors: carrying a backpack or camera bag is prohibited. Put the bare minimum in your stuff. Your cell phone, wallet, shawl, sunglasses, camera, water and a light snack. Cigarettes, alcohol, pens, lighters and high-tech objects apart from the telephone are prohibited.

The interior of the site is not accessible to photography. Beware of offenders!

The white marble mausoleum , the large “Darwaza-i-rauza” gate which gives passage to the gardens and the entrance gate to the mosque are the attractions of most photographic interest.  Fans of towers, bas-reliefs and floral motifs will enjoy a happy hour.

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