Visited on Sep 2017
Taj Mahal is a must visit monument in when in India. The only reason I decided to visit Taj Mahal is so that the next time when someone asks me if I've visited Taj Mahal, I can look them in they eye and say 'Yes, I have seen the Taj Mahal'. Being an Indian living overseas, everyone who has ever travelled or is planning to travel to India asks me this question and I was tired of saying 'No'. But little did I know that I was about to be blown away by this magnificent marble monument when I laid eyes on it for the first time. It is enormous, elegant and enchanting. The attention to detail is remarkable and the sparkling gem stones embedded in the marble makes you feel like you are floating around in dreamland. Taj Mahal can be covered easily in 3 hours if you are in a rush to catch a bus/train/plane. Or, you also also roam around it soaking in the view if you have extra hours to spare. I would suggest spending 1 day for Taj Mahal and Red Fort when in Agra. Also, hire a guide. I strongly recommend hiring a guide even if you are from India and speak good Hindi. We booked a guide from the same company that we booked the taxi and the guide cost us Rs. 400. The guide can tell you stories behind each attraction and feed you with information that you would have otherwise missed. He can also tranform into a photographer for those group/family pics. The guide might ask whether you want to go shopping and tell you that he knows the "best" places to buy leather products and 'paan petha'. Guides get a cut of the purchase made by the customer. You do not have to feel compelled to buy anything. Only buy if you are interested. Do some research online if possible. I bougth a leather laptop bag (pretty good leather) and some paan petha to take back home for the family.