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Six Mistakes to Avoid at the Taj Mahal

Most of your visit to India's most-famous attraction is natural and inspiring. If it is your first visit, however, it is easy to make the following mistakes.Mistake 1: Make your visit too short.

Buses have been known to allow as little as half an hour to "see" the Taj Mahal, which is hardly time to walk the length of the reflecting pool. If this is your bus's timetable, consider finding another. Allow a minimum of two hours to fully savor the "poem in marble.".Mistake 2: Arrive with no prior knowledge of the Taj Mahal.The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum and not a palace; it was created by a Mughal king in honor of his wife who died giving birth to their fourteenth child, and it is covered in real marble.

There is much more to the story that will enhance your enjoyment of what you will see and feel. Do yourself a favor and enjoy some reading and research beforehand; the more you know, the richer your experience. Guidebooks, such as India, Eyewitness Travel Guide, are helpful.Mistake 3: Remain with your guide or group during your entire visit. After hearing what they have to tell you, leave them and wander to a secluded spot so you can gaze at this wonder of marital love on your own.

Carve out time for solitude. Sit on a bench and contemplate the grace, balance, and beauty of Shah Jahan's creation.Mistake 4: Limit your visit to the Taj Mahal to only one time of the day.Throughout daylight, the marble dome reflects sunshine with hues of pink, orange and white. Clouds and rain add additional interest.

In Agra, the sky provides a backdrop for the double dome of the Taj Mahal. See as many of these variations as you can. Count yourself blessed if you are able to see the Taj Mahal in the moonlight.Mistake 5: Become frustrated with the guides and photographers.

It is a popular business to impart information and produce a lasting memory for you at the Taj Mahal. Guides will ask if you want them to tell you about their country's most famous attraction. Photographers will want to snap shots of you during your visit. Most of them are citizens of the country you are visiting. If you have made plans that exclude your need for their services, refuse with firm courtesy. Your desire for personal viewing time needs to be balanced with their need to work.

Mistake 6: Don't take any?or enough--pictures. The Taj Mahal is the single most photographed place in India. You can add to this distinction with your own images. Unless you are certain you will return shortly, visually record your favorite sights while within the walls of the Taj complex. Are you drawn to the walkway? The row of shoes outside the entrance? The black and white pattern of the platform? The inlaid prayer rugs in the mosque? Whatever they are, record details as touchstones for remembered pleasure.

From the moment you enter through the gate and stroll along the dazzling, rectangular reflecting pool, the lovely mausoleum will draw you to its marble steps. Slipping off your shoes, you will pass into a softly lit interior, and circle two richly inlaid caskets beneath a great domed ceiling. The carvings on the walls, the spectacular dome, and the harmony of all the details are there for you to admire. The truth of the matter is you could actually make all the mistakes above and still be touched by the Taj Mahal. It is a sight undiminished by expectations.

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Sandra Wilson, author and speaker, describes the Who, What, Why, When and Where of the Taj Mahal for global and armchair travelers. TAJ, her historical fiction, can be seen by visiting http://www.taj-womanandwonder.com for more information.

By: Sandra Jean Wilson

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