a VirtualTourist member from South Africa
Is Taj open on Fridays? If so, would it be crowded because of people coming for worship? I'd appreciate if anyone has information.
You are right, its not the best decision to visit Taj Mahal on Friday.. I recently visited Agra and Rajasthan in mid december and from my experience I suggest you to look around Red Fort and Dayal Bagh temple on Friday and spare Taj Mahal for Saturday... there seems to be a long queue at its gate and there are people who offer quick entrance with some extra charge, be aware of them.. have patience and follow the procedure... and of-course if you have Sunday don't miss Fatehpur & Sikri ...
hope this help, have a happy visit to Agra...
you said: " . . . there are people who offer quick entrance with some extra charge, be aware of them. . . have patience and follow the procedure. . . "
I do not agree.
I arrived in Agra late in the afternoon. By the time I got settled in my hotel and had a shower, ready to see the Taj Mahal, it was a bit before sunset, a time I wanted very much to be inside to experience the changing colors and photograph them. The line of people standing at the Western Gate entrance extended almost out of sight. There were hundreds, many hundreds. After watching the security checkin process, I did the mental math and came up with a minimum wait of 45 minutes.
At that time I was 74 years old, worn down by weeks of travel, heat, humidity, trains, buses and unfamiliar food. I couldn't see how I was going to stand in line that long. But I was willing to try.
I paid the premium entrance price that foreigners are charged. As I stepped away from the ticket window, a well dressed and well spoken man whose age I would estimate at 40 years approached. He offered, for10US, to take me through the front of the line and give me a personal tour.
I told him I didn't want an expository tour. I'd read everything I could during the previous 50 years and suspected I may actually know more about the history than he did. I said I'd come only to take photos of the sunset scene and would take a more leisurely tour the next day. I also said I'd give him the10 only after we were inside, past the long line. But I showed him the10 as a gesture of good faith.
He immediately escorted me right up to the front of the line. We experienced the same security check as everyone else but not another moment of delay. I gave him the10. For the next hour, until it after it was dark, he took me briskly to the perfect sites from which to shoot every cliche photo of the Taj and was patient as I worked out my own angles and shots. He clearly understood what I wanted and had done it so often for other photographers that he knew all the possibilities.
The rapid entrance alone was worth his fee. If he paid something to the gate guards, which I assume he probably did, it was not in front of me. If we were in Jersey City at the Statue of Liberty, in my society where bribes and privilege are not acceptable, I would not have participated. But the reality is, I was in a society with different nroms. As they say, "When in Rome . . . "
The only negative of that experience was his attempt, after we came out of the gate, to lure me to the tourist trap shop of "antiquities." I had to be confrontationally firm in my refusal before he let up. But I have no problem with that.
I returned the next morning at 5:45 am for the sunrise light show and was the first person in line. I didn't need any help getting around. Spent the morning there and when I came out around 11am, the line of waiting people was almost non-existent.
My final point, having come that far from home, both in miles and decades and having paid a huge excess charge for an entrance ticket just because I am a foreigner, I saw no point in standing in line only to miss the very sunset I'd come to see when, for less than the price of a movie ticket, I could accomplish what I came for. I even felt good that the guide had gotten paid a good wage for a good job in a society where I saw too many families living under blankets on traffic islands.