Here, on this post, I’ll tell you 6 great reasons why NOT to visit the Taj Mahal which I hope will make your visit to Agra much better. We all know that the Taj Mahal is one of the greatest architecture pieces ever built. It may be one of the most famous symbols of India and you all know the rest of those promotional phrases of the Taj by heart. But let me provoke you a bit and challenge the status of the Taj Mahal and its domination as the main tourist attraction.
Before I get to the point I have to admit that I have been living in Agra for more than a year and I have visited the Taj Mahal many times (while I was studying there during a scholarship program I got free entrance privilege to the Taj and many other heritage sites and parks). I am aware to the fact that for someone who has already seen the “great masterpiece” it’s easy to urge you not to see the Taj, but trust me I met so many tourists over there that felt the same way as I’m about to describe below, after they had seen the Taj Mahal for the first time.
Huge shadow over the rest of Agra, high expectations end up with deep falls, disgusting interaction between locals and foreigners at the Taj’s entrance, 750 rupees???? And I love Agra!
Why Not Visit the Taj Mahal?
1) High expectations end up with deep falls. I know you can say this about almost everything and this cliché is the last thing that will prevent us from doing something and if it did I feel sorry for you. We live with expectations and we are bound to fall, that’s life. But the build-up that the Taj Mahal is getting is exaggerated. It has become a symbol of India and has been promoted for many years systemically that this is pure perfection. The “Taj” has become a second (or first) name for companies in India Hotels chains, restaurants and you name it. Travel agencies promoting their tours based on the Taj even their logos is a kind of misrepresentation of the famous piece.
It is a consensus of beauty and perfection, so when you get in there loaded with the weight of pre-conception about the Taj Mahal then you have no choice either to do whatever you can to artificially “find” the beauty or to fall with a deep disappointment.
2) The Taj creates a huge Shadow over the rest of Agra. I Love Agra. I know many people dislike the city (we’ll get to that) without even knowing it. Agra is full of incredible things to do, to see, to eat and even some wonderful spots in nature but all of those places will be always hidden due to the heavy dark shadow of the Taj Mahal. Some do visit Agra Fort, the Baby Taj (Itmad-Ud-Daulah’s Tomb), Sikandra and some other great and intriguing places but the majority buzz off straight after seeing the Taj.
3) There is a disgusting interaction between locals and foreigners at the Taj’s hood. People from all over the world are coming to visit the Taj loaded with money, fancy buses and cars, expensive cameras flashing all over the marble walls from inside outside and the other way around. Tourists take pictures with half-naked boys, images that emphasize alienation. On the other hand, locals see you as a “waking dollar bill” literally speaking; sometimes they target you as a subject for a scam to get some extra rupees. It happens in many places and not only at the Taj Mahal but since the Taj is ‘The Father of all attractions’ it is simply disturbing.
4) Another reason why not to see the Taj Mahal is because of the unbelievably long queues. They are endless! For me it’s a matter of principle, this might not be the most compelling claim for not visiting the Taj but for me, it could be a good enough reason.
5) Every 5 seconds a local comes over and will ask you to take a picture with them. It’s annoying!
6) 750 rupees????