Taj Mahal – Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India

From Khajuraho we caught a train to Agra, the home of India’s most famous landmark, the Taj Mahal. We arrived in Agra just in time for sunset and decided to view the Taj from one of the roof-top restaurants recommended by the Lonely Planet. After, we decided to have an early night intending to catch the Taj at sunrise.

Early in the morning, though not quite as early as the Sunrise Ganges boat ride, we made our way to the Taj’s west entrance. Once we were inside the complex we made our way through the Great gate (Darwaza-i rauza) providing our closest views (well, my closest view given Sonya had already seen it) of the beautiful Taj. We snapped the obligatory photos with the Taj mirrored in the reflecting pools and due to the early hours of the day there were only a small amount of fellow tourists.

We spent a good few hours wondering the large garden and surrounding buildings. The Taj was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and it was really interesting seeing all the Mughal architectural traits, a lot which we had seen along the Silk Road starting in Iran. One of the most impressive features was the detailed floral Pietra dura, the coloured stone inlays or floral patterns on in the inside and exterior of the Taj.

The Taj Mahal
The jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritageTravis and Sonya with the Taj in the backgroundThe finest example of Mughal architecture
Great gate (Darwaza-i rauza)The Taj Mahal viewed from the great gate (Darwaza-i rauza)The interior ceiling of the great gate (Darwaza-i rauza)
Pillared halls of the walls adjacent to the great gateGreat gate (Darwaza-i rauza)Local Indian men crossing one of the many pools found in the surrounding garden
Floral designs carved in the red stone of the Taj Mahal MosqueInterior ceiling dome of the Taj Mahal MosqueDecorative sunken reliefs of the Taj Mahal Mosque
Boy walking inside side the courtyard of the mosqueThe Taj Mahal viewed from the mosqueSonya resting near the Taj Mahal mosque
One of the four 40m minarets surrounding the Taj MahalContrasting red and white tiles surrounding the Taj MahalCarved stone screen surrounding the Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal MosqueColourfully dressed locals walking around the Taj MahalOne of the corners of the Taj Mahal
View from the Taj of the great gate (Darwaza-i rauza)The great gate (Darwaza-i rauza)Detailed floral Pietra dura
Coloured stone inlays or floral patterns on in the inside and exterior of the TajArabic verses in stone inlaysIntricate decorative borders from coloured stone inlays
One of the four 40m minarets surrounding the Taj MahalLocal women resting outside the great gate (Darwaza-i rauza)Colourfully dressed local women