Category: India

Planning A Trip to The Tajah Mahal? Consider These Tips

The Taj Mahal

A visit to India is often not complete without a tour of the famous Taj Mahal in Agra. This mausoleum sitting on the banks of the Yamuna river was commissioned in 1632 and continues to be one of the most celebrated sites of India’s history. The Taj Mahal was planned by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.  It also houses the tomb of Shan Jahan, the builder. The complex is on approximately 17-acres. Visiting this UNESCO World heritage site takes some planning. Below are some helpful hints. I hope you find these helpful.

Plan Time for The Lines and Getting Into The Taj Mahal

You will need to consider that timing is often everything when visiting this often very busy attraction with crowds beginning to increase throughout the mid-morning. Please keep in mind that the Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays.  The following will add to your time and schedule, a) walking to the ticket booth, b) getting to the main gate, c) going through  the security check points, and d) potentially, checking a bag into a paid luggage storage locker while you visit the site.

Separate Lines for Foreigners and Indians

Don’t be overwhelmed by the swell of crowds as you first arrive to visit the site. One hint and please be advise that this just a way for them to get extra money. You can’t skip the line. You may be approached by a few locals who will offer you the option to ‘skip the line’ or go in front of the crowd. Don’t fall for this little ‘extra service.’ I recommend getting in the line as it often moves very quickly. There is often long lines for Indians and shorter lines for foreign travelers.

Reflecting Pool Taj Mahal to Main Entrance

Consider Leaving That Large Backpack Behind for this Tour

If you bring any kind of bag (purse included), this will add time due to need for an extra security screening to have your bag checked before you can enter the Taj Mahal. You may wish to just take some water with you, your camera, and other essentials that you can carry on your person. This way you can avoid this part of the process as you will have to move over into the longer line to wait and have your bag checked.

What if your bag doesn’t pass the security check? This means you will have to check your bag into one of the luggage lockers (not very expenses (under $1 when I visited), but do you want to really go through this process? It is something to consider. If you do take a backpack or purse, you will want only things in there that you don’t think twice about if stolen. Remember, they will not be as secure as you would like them to be during your visit. A real oddity considering the guards with automatic weapons once you are in the Taj Mahal.

Read the Do’s and Don’ts prior to visiting The Taj Mahal.

Take Water With You and Enjoy the Tour More

I can only recommend bottled water for the Taj Mahal as sometimes you risk security not allowing you to bring in a reusable bottle depending on size. Fresh water is a must and please don’t drink the local water. I also recommend keeping an eye out for your personal bottle water to avoid a quick exchange by someone. This happened to my friend and he ended up with the Delhi belly for the next half our trip. Please read more about the remedy for Travelers diarrhea by visiting Dr. Kohn’s post here

Agra Fort – Another Option for Visiting

A Visit to Agra Fort is an excellent option and I would recommend this other UNESCO World heritage site near the Taj Mahal. We visited the Agra Fort and this site was far less busy than the Taj Mahal. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and offers some time to quietly reflect or enjoy a walk around the lush grounds. Depending on the day, you can see the Taj Mahal in the distance. Don’t ignore the small marble palace at the top as this is quite beautiful inside and worth the climb up the flight of stairs.

Info About Agra Fort

25% off Intrepid Travel trips

Musamman Burj


Views of the Interior of Musamman Burj


Taj Mahal from Agra Fort




Animals Across the Globe

Earth day is fast approaching and during each trip we see many animals. The little critters we come across can be someone’s pet, a poor stray one, or an exotic creature that requires a second or third glance. The first photo is one of my favorites from our trip to Costa Rica. The bulging eyes just make me laugh. We came across this little guy during a raining and humid walk through a Costa Rican Rain Forest. Dividing the photos into countries and regions is challenges and of course, this is just a sample of what I have seen through my travels from North America, Central America, and South America; and the African continent. I hope you enjoy.

Central America & South America

The Red-Eyed Tree Frog

The Poison Dart Frog

Costa Rica has 8 known species of poison dart frogs or poison arrow frogs. We heard this misconception during our tour that if touch these frogs you will be poisoned and die. This little amphibians of Costa Rica do not carry enough toxin that is strong (poisonous enough) to penetrate unbroken skin. I do caution not risking picking them up if you think any tiny cuts. In addition, these frogs are small, fragile species. They are best left unhandled and viewed from a distance.

Hummingbird of Costa Rica

A Keel Billed Toucan

Iguana on A Bridge

Ecuador is a small South American country that is offers a paradise feel nearly the very near paradise feel and an amazingly relaxed culture expressed by the people. You can visit many historic churches, buildings, and heritage sites and cities. The animals I saw during my first trip here varied and this included bats, snakes, reptiles, and birds. I missed visiting the Galapagos Islands. This is not to be of a too much a concern as it offers me an excuse to return and see other parts of Quito and the country during my next visit.

A Bat in Ecuador or Perhaps Two (Hard to Tell)

Watch Out for the This Little Guy…

Llama in the Field in Ecuador


Enjoying the Sun- A Lioness in Tanzania

Perhaps one of my favorite places to visit is Africa and this wonderful continent is on my backlist for a the next international trip soon. I just need to find the time and plan this next adventure. Love seeing the animals in their nature environments. Zoos are wonderful and offer the opportunity for those who may never be able to see the animals, but there is nothing like seeing the pride of lions, wildebeest, or a baby elephant with its mother at a watering hole. Go and explore this planet. 

Stork in Africa

Giraffes -Traffic Jam Not Often Seen

North America– The House-pet Review 

Enjoying the Morning in South Carolina

Little One Seems Sad

A Couple of Wild Critters in North America on Land and Sea

Humpback Whales

A Rabbit Enjoying an AM Snake

Kure Beach Pier—Don’t feed the birds!

I just realized that this could go on and on as I keep finding photos of animals. Seeing animal friends in photos gives me a different perspective of my travels. Until the next adventure and please do share your thoughts…. 

A final photo from India here. 

A Goat to the Slaughter