Taj Mahal – One of the new wonders of the world
One of the new seven wonders of the world is the Taj Mahal. I guess it’s one of the most famous buildings in Asia that people from all around the world would recognise after seeing it in movies and magazines. It’s a huge monument located in the middle of the Indian town Agra.
The whole area stretches over 17 hectares and consists of several buildings and a beautiful garden. The white marble building is a mausoleum that the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan had built for his favorite wife after her death. Around 1648 the Taj Mahal was finished after more than 10 years of construction.
In 2009, when I was 22 years old, I visited India with a bunch of friends. It was my first time outside Europe and a really special trip in many ways. We started in Delhi and continued to Jaipur, Ranthambore national park and then Agra before we finished in Varanasi. So, when we got to Agra we had been in India for about a week. We were there for about 2 days with the Taj Mahal of course being the main attraction.
Taj Mahal is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and was in 2007 elected one of the new 7 wonders of the world. It is open for visits all days except for Fridays. You can get your tickets online or by the entrance. Opening hours are about 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.
Below is one of the other buildings on the area, the main gate.
According to Wikipedia, Taj Mahal is the seventh most visited monument in the world with 7 million visitors per year. And it’s quite obvious from the photos that it is a very popular place to visit. The queue to go inside the Taj Mahal stretched for several laps around the building. We didn’t go inside but were happy enough to watch it from the outside. I think the waiting time to go in was several hours. The details and the beauty of the building is spectacular. Really impressive architecture. We had to wear protection on our shoes when we were walking up on the platform to avoid wear and tear.
Just north of the Taj Mahal is the Yamuna river. On the other side of the river there’s a garden that you can visit for another view of the monument. From here you get to see it from a different angle away from the crowds. At least in 2009 when we were there, there were almost no people at all, but I’m guessing it’s much more visited nowadays.
Some say that the emperor planned on building an exact same building but in black marble on this side of the river. Others say that this is just a myth though. And I guess we will never know?