Posts tagged advise
The Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays
In keeping with the religious sensitivities of the local Muslim population which throngs the monument in huge numbers for their noon prayers, Taj Mahal is kept out of bound for the tourists the whole day on a Friday. In short, this means that you can simply walk in and have an unhindered view seven days a week, if you are a Muslim, but in case you are a non-Muslim, you are deprived of the opportunity, even if you are arriving from thousands of miles away and you do not have much time in hand to stay in the city. Sorry, Hard Luck! Interestingly, this prohibition applies only to the Taj Mahal, as other major Mughal monuments like the Agra Fort, Sikandara (Akbar Tomb) or Itmad-ud-Daulah’s Tomb) are yours for the asking seven days of the week.
In case, you have not been forewarned and actually arrive in the city on a Friday morning only for a day, you can take a taxi to the other side of Yamuna, which will get you a spectacular view of the north face of the Taj, but without affording you the glory of a Taj view from its south face set amidst the lush green garden. The other option is to view the Taj longingly from the edge of Agra Fort, but this is at some distance. The last option is to check in one of the Taj Ganj hotels, many of which have rooftop Taj viewing as one of their attractions.
In view of the heavy tourist traffic from all corners of the world, many of whom are unable to converse in the local language Hindi, there are chances that you might fall prey to some sharp practices indulged in by some unscrupulous elements posing as a bonafide guide. Unfortunately, the immortal monument not only attracts tourists, but also cheats and swindlers in various garbs, the most popular being as a guide. Many a time, they throng the Taj Mahal entrance and try to win your confidence through chaste English with an American slang. As they are often unauthorized, they might slink away at the entrance, but before that they might ask you to hand over your valuables in the name of depositing them in the locker, but later you may find to your horror that the trickster and your valuables have vanished in thin air.
As such, while thinking of hiring a guide, make sure that
- You insist on the guya official identity card before giving him your trust or your valuables
- Make sure that he is able to speak your language fluently, or he might later turn out to be a net liability