I once drove from Hyderabad to Delhi with the family. Stopped overnight at Agra, went to the Taj in the morning, parked, walked ten or thirty paces, saw the hassle- it was summer too- and everybody decided to go back. We then drove off to Delhi.
I don't think it is a must see anyway. Besides, it is tourists that equated the Taj with India, and tourists can well un-equate it.
. This is computer generated drivel. No signature is required.
+1 for overrated. I added it to my itinerary because people had convinced me you couldn't go that far and not see the Taj. I actually spent longer in lineups getting in and out (40 minutes to get in, 20 to get out) than I did inside (30 minutes).
It's a beautiful building, there's no doubt about that, but for me the hassle, security and crowds made it an unpleasant experience. I enjoyed the other sights around Agra (Tomb of I'Timad-Ud-Daulah, Tomb of Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar, etc) more ...
I went with my boss in 2007. No crowds, no hassle, 7 million rupees to get in, and after an hour or so, we were just a bit hot and bored. It was great, all the stuff around it, but the actual Taj was a small room, with a dead person in it, that you can't see. Then we went to Fatephur Sikri. Now that was amazing. We found a guide called Mr. Bomb, an ex army colonel, who was so funny, I couldn't see anything.
The Taj had about 40 touts to every tourist. And it was the first time I realised that Indian people not in their home town get hassled too. Won't go again, I don't think. Couldn't see what all the fuss was about.
I liked it! Was 2 times in Egypt and spent alot of months there and never saw the Pyramids. Was 4 times in Guatemala, total time 1 year and never saw Tikal(greatest Mayan Pyramids), so it's all relative really. But I did like the Taj, and maybe one day will see the other pyramids.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice,bigotry and narrow-mindedness" Mark Twain
Myself, I loved the Taj - it is the most impressive building I have ever seen. We arrived in late September a few years ago from Delhi on the early Shatabdi and waited at the station in Agra until all the tour groups had settled on their buses before venturing outside the station. A driver approached us and offered his services in his 4x4 for the day. He was excellent - changed some money, saw the Taj, had a nice lunch, went on to Agra Fort etc etc etc. He then arranged for us to be driven to Tundla station to catch the night train to Mughal Serai (scary drive in the dark). This is a round about way of saying that I don't recall being harrassed by anybody and certainly wasn't bothered by touts - I wonder if this was because it was only just after the monsoon and the tourist season was not yet in full swing? I certainly hope so becuase we're headed back there in early October.
Taj was more beautiful to me from a little far, from Agra fort (standing near the Musamman Burj) and over the Taj Reserve Forest (specially at dusk and dawn).
I felt that it was too much decorated, even not a single inch of wall was spared. This, at times, can be a little tiring to the eyes. It seemed to me special due to its gigantic stature, not the finer details.
I liked Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri over Taj, even Sikandra.
"There is no happiness for him who does not travel ... Therefore, wander!" - Aitareya Brahmana, Rig Veda.
It was interesting from outside, and from across the river you get great FREEEEEE views. I 'spose when i went, it was with about two hundred giggling young Japanese Girls, not my ideal travel companions.[shock]
We visited the Taj early 2002 when it was not crowded at all because nobody was travelling due to the 9/11 attack. An absolutely amazing experience. And the more I learn about Indian history the happier I am to have seen it.
I've visited Taj 4 times, and definetely include it in my next trip itinerary :) Never have any problems with touts and "too much tourists" - if you come at 6AM, you can get inside really fast and catch one of the most beautiful picture in the world - the sunrise at Taj Mahal, it's really something! And every time I have seen Taj it appears so different, I can never get bore.
As for touts - in Agra I have much more problems with touts at Red Fort and Fatehpur-Sikri. They are really annoying :( But nothing can compare with touts in Khajuraho :)