To be honest enough, viewing The Taj from up close never really fascinated me during my days of growing up as it used to be an automatic choice for a weekend getaway.
During my school days, I was a tad too young and raw to fathom the reason behind scores of visitors jostling to marvel the white monument, but over time and with improved sense of understanding, things got sorted inside my head.
My musings this time were altogether different as I stepped inside the huge TAJ entrance.
It’s a place that boasts of not only the most visited but also the most photographed monument.
This visit to The Taj, was purely to capture the sheer beauty through the lens.
- The Taj Compound – I entered the ticketed monument, strolled around the complex admiring the intricate carvings on the sky kissing walls and then was it the time to come out? Certainly not – As the main Taj platform is swarming with people for the better part of the day, I was actually surprised and amused to see that not even 1% of these visitors make it to opposite brick colored mosques. The arches and the doorways offer the best shot overlooking The Taj Mahal.
- One has to gate crash inside the monument, when it opens at sunrise just to get the perfect symmetrical shot of the Taj facade with fountains in the front. One thing is for sure, that at any time of the year, one of the minarets is under repair, which means scaffolding’s are going to deface the shot.
Perfect Symmetrical Shot
- Capturing the Taj at sunrise from Hathi Ghat – I must preface saying; the place only belongs to serious photographers. The Ghat is not on a regular tourist trail and features a muddy field situated in the middle of nothing. The barren river bed is quite underwhelming during the day and this otherwise filthy place offers a great vantage point for sunrise photography.
- The entry to Hathi Ghat is free but you may get soiled shoes in the process.
- Sticking to Mehtab Bagh during sunset – These gardens are just about the place to stay around and take pictures. One can soak up the impressive monument from here at any time of the day but sunset viewing is an absolute treat.
- It’s a decent enough garden and charges INR 15 for Indian nationals and INR 200 for foreigners.
- My favorite point; Capturing The Taj Mahal from a boat – Right at the entrance of Taj Mahal there are two roads one on left and the other to the right. As I took right, I was walking down to a place called Dusshera Ghat on the banks of river Yamuna. I found the place to be secluded apart from some stray monkeys and the effervescent squirrels.
It was a jaw dropping experience to view Taj Mahal from the river bank.
I clicked photographs and started my search for the boatman who was to take me on a boat ride. After some effort, I was able to catch hold of him and Cheez – The ride was worth it. Sitting on a rickety boat was quite scary initially but as I started taking pictures; every ounce of fear just fell away. The boatman named Manoj was courteous and obliged me by taking shots featuring me in it.
Dusshera Ghat is not a ticketed place but expect to pay INR 200 and upwards for a 15 min boat ride.
The only disappointing part of an otherwise enthralling sojourn was to see the mounds of trash lying all over the flowing river. Let’s take a pledge of not using the non biodegradable things and strongly contribute in making our environment a better place to live in.
Don’t think, it needs any persuasion to stand one more time (Assuming it’s not the maiden visit) and capture the sheer beauty and grandeur in frames for in them lives my memories and nostalgia.