Seeing the Taj Mahal, without hurting your Wallet

 

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Every month, I’ll be inviting a few intrepid ‘Budget Travellers’ to share their experiences on the blog and this week I’m very excited to introduce you to Sarah Kloke, travel blogger at the very cool wheremytoothbrush.com

Taj Mahal is something that most travellers might visit at some point of their life so this guest post is incredibly handy guide to making the most of your time at the ultimate shrine dedicated to love. Enjoy. Take it away Sarah…..

 

 

Taj Mahal

 

 

With cheap accommodation, even cheaper eats, and some of the most rewarding cultural experiences on the planet (ya, I said it), India is a practical yet challenging paradise for the budget conscious traveller.

 

It is undeniable that the cost of travel in India will only put a minimum dent on your wallet, especially if you respond to those “foreigner” prices with some playful (and hopefully successful) bartering.

But sometimes the price tags in India can’t be altered.

Like for instance, the Taj Mahal’s entrance fee (leave your bartering skills back at the guest house for this one).

With a foreigner admission price of 750 rupees, this attraction could very well end up being the bulk of your daily budget.

But it’s the Taj Mahal…and you’re in India. So even with a steep (by India standards) price tag, the Taj Mahal almost always ends up being a must on everybody’s India To-Do List. But there still are a couple ways to pay the Taj Mahal’s entrance fee, see one of the greatest wonders in the world, and still keep that wallet dent to a minimum. You see, it’s all about the before, after, and in-betweens of that beauty of a palace.

 

 

 

The Before….

Walk into the grounds

With harmful CO2/ gas emissions of vehicles and the generally high index of pollution in India, the Taj Mahal has recently seen a lot of environmental wear-and-tear. Reactively, the city of Agra has outlawed all vehicles within a 500 m radius of the Taj Mahal. Now you can opt to travel in using one of the millions of tuk-tuks eagerly waiting for you, but it’ll cost you. Alternatively, it’s not such a bad walk into the actual grounds. And it doesn’t cost you a single rupee.

 

The In-Between

Make a day of it (It IS the Taj Mahal after all…)

Depending on lines, time of the day, and your wavering patience, you could probably spend about 2 hours within the Taj Mahal itself. But why rush it? The three outlying red-stoned buildings of the Taj ( in picture above) are pretty gorgeous in their own right and the grounds itself provide a nice (and green!) escape to some of the typical chaos that may exist in Agra. Take your time enjoying one of the greatest wonders of the world. And just think, the more time you spend INSIDE the Taj Mahal, the less money you spend OUTSIDE the Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal, from the Gardens

 

See a new angle

From the front, the Taj Mahal has been photographed like, a gazillion times. But ever wonder what the back of the Taj Mahal looks like? Well, go see for yourself and cross the river to the historic Mehtab Bang Gardens. For a not-so-frightening admission fee of 100 rupees, you enter a much less crowded tourist attraction and are rewarded with a much more unique (and probably less photographed) view of the Taj Mahal.

 

The After

Avoid the souvenirs

 

If buying a plastic replica or better yet, a glass snow globe of the Taj Mahal is your thing, it’s best to avoid any of the souvenir stalls located both within and directly outside the gates of the grounds. Sellers are usually more reluctant to bargain with you here and you will definitely be paying a serious rupee for anything bought in this area. Your best bet is to make your way into (or out of) Agra and find your little keepsake there- most likely for 1/16th the price.

Even with these tips, it’s best to keep in mind that the price of entrance to the Taj Mahal is outside the norm for the rest of the country…which is practically angelic harp music to a budget-conscious traveller’s ears.

India manages to find a pretty harmonious balance between lowering the cost of travel and heightening the experience of travel.

And you know, it’s got that lil’ thing called the Taj Mahal.

 

 

About the author

 

Sarah personifies the travels of her toothbrush on her travel site, http://wheresmytoothbrush.com/

Between a slight obsession with dental hygiene, travel, and natural crunchy peanut butter, Sarah has been making various parts of Asia her home for the last two years.

Often heard bragging about the time she was stranded on a train in India for 31 hours, she’ll probably continue to do the same routine (travel. write. brush teeth. repeat.) until she runs out of stories. Or countries. Whichever comes first, really.

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