With restoration work under way, here’s what you need to know about visiting India’s Taj Mahal this year.
- Though the 17th century mausoleum remains open for visitors throughout the renovation, expect scaffolding to come in the way of those perfect photographs. And then there are the mudpacks being applied to clean the monument.
- Get there early in the morning to beat the heat and crowds, and get the most stunning photographs.
- It is best to hire a certified tourist guide to hear stories and legends about the Taj, as well as get tips about the best spot to take photos from.
- For unblocked views of the Taj, head across the river to the Mehtab Bagh gardens at sunrise or sunset. From a distance, you’ll see it bathed in mellow golden light.
- Agra is also home to other Mughal-era monuments, including the UNESCO listed, russet Agra Fort. All Agra monuments are open from sunrise to sunset, and so timings change according to the season.
- On full moon nights (and a day before and after), the Taj Mahal is open for viewing, between 8.30pm and 12.30am. Tickets are restricted to 400 per night, and can be purchased 24 hours in advance from the Archaeological Survey of India.
- A new Visitor Centre for detailed information about the monument is coming up at the premises but is still work in progress and will take a good 12 months more to open.
– BY CHARUKESI RAMADURAI