For many, visiting the Taj Mahal is at the very top of a bucket list of life experiences. And we can attest that seeing this iconic landmark – which was famously described as “a teardrop on the cheek of eternity” by poet Rabindranath Tagore – in real life is every bit as extraordinary as you would expect.
And yet, there’s more than one way to admire this World Heritage site. For travellers looking for a different perspective on the white marble beauty, we have a few suggestions for new ways to explore the Taj Mahal. From moonlit visits to luxury hotel vistas, no matter how you choose to discover it, you’re certain to come away with lasting memories.
Though the Mehtab Bagh – a beautiful garden complex located just across the Yamuna River from the Taj Mahal – was built well before Shah Jahan’s mausoleum was constructed, it’s now one of the finest places to drink in views of the landmark. The Shah himself was said to have singled out the 16th century, Mughal-era gardens as the perfect viewing location. Be sure to linger amidst the fountains and flowerbeds, which, after extensive restorations in the 1990s, have now been returned to their antique glory.
A Moonlit Visit
The Taj Mahal is stunningly picturesque by day. And by night? Let’s just say that its white marble façade is flattered by moonlight. Though the site is normally closed in the evenings, at times when the moon is full, visitors are granted rare access to explore the Taj Mahal between the hours of 8:30 pm and 12:30 am. It’s only in recent years that travellers have been able to drop in after dark, so if your visit coincides with a full moon, don’t miss this rare opportunity.
The Agra Fort
It’s not uncommon for visitors to Agra to overlook the city’s other landmarks in favour of the Taj Mahal – but in the case of the Agra Fort, that decision would be a mistake. The gorgeous fort, famous for its red sandstone exterior and ornate architecture, isn’t only a well-preserved relic of the region’s Mughal past – it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage site, and an absolute must for visitors to the city. Additionally, it’s worth knowing that the Agra Fort, built on the banks of the Yamuna River, is just adjacent to the Taj Mahal…and that lucky visitors can enjoy views of both at once.
Looking for a place to stay while visiting Agra? You can’t do much better than the splendid Oberoi Amarvilas, one of the city’s most opulent hotels. The five-star stay features an open-air swimming pool, sprawling spa, and plush rooms that are ideal for post-touring relaxation. And given that the Oberoi Amarvilas is also located a mere 600 metres from the Taj Mahal, guests can also look forward to uninterrupted views of the landmark from each of the guestrooms, as well as from the private dining terrace.