Award Trips

The Taj Took My Selfie Stick

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That was a sentence I never thought I’d say!

1. Because I never thought I’d be visiting the Taj Mahal, nor did I think I would own a selfie stick.

2. Because nowhere on the website did it say that they were banned.

Taj Mahal Agra Banned Items website

I just got back from my first trip to India (full trip report coming). There was alot to like, and alot to dislike — especially the love of forms and rules and an almost jubilant attitude about overcharging and telling foreigners no. This was particularly prevalent during my visit to the Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal Agra Keri Vijaya

We arrived and one of my friends ran into to the ticket office to get our tickets. 20 rupees (~$.30) each for them, 750 rupees (~$12) for me. My ticket at least came with shoe covers, a bottle of water, and a golf cart ride to the entrance 1km away.

Taj Mahal Agra foreign ticket

We found parking and decided to take a horse carriage for the experience (50 rupees) instead. It wound up being a bumpy uncomfortable experience, but now we could say we’d done it!

Taj Mahal Agra horse buggy

We made our way through the empty ticket line (the literal English translation amusing me greatly) and that’s when it went downhill.

Taj Mahal Agra ticket line

After getting patting down our bags were open and the security guard took out my selfie stick. Apparently it was banned. Which was interesting, since no where on the website did it prohibit it, nor was it listed in the extensive list of banned items depicted in the tourist golf carts.

Taj Mahal Agra Banned Items

He claimed it fell under tripods, which I guess I could see that. The solution they offered was to put it in a locker. Which of course, was back at the ticket office, which was 1km away. It seemed pretty inefficient. But my real problem was their attitude, a distinct satisfaction that I’d be inconvenienced which wasn’t the first time I’m encountered this on my trip. It wasn’t all in my head, even my friends mentioned the animosity towards foreigners.

It wasn’t safe for me to go back alone to get a locker and we didn’t really have the extra half hour to spare. So I threw it away, and with it, much of my excitement about seeing the Taj.

Fortunately seeing the Taj Mahal was worth it! We had a perfect sunny day with only a slight haze.

Taj Mahal Agra entry building

Taj Mahal Agra first glimpse

Even at 9AM on a Monday it was crowded, but we still managed to get some good pictures, though none of the 3 of us all together.

The funniest part was when a sweet little woman approached to have her picture taken with me. I didn’t realize Heels First was so well known in India 😉

Taj Mahal Agra Keri indian fan

“High value” ticket holders have a separate entrance to go up to the mausoleum, so we donned our shoe covers and wandered around, taking in the river view.Taj Mahal Agra Keri shoe covers

Taj Mahal Agra west face

Taj Mahal Agra inscription

Taj Mahal Agra riverside

It was very beautiful and  incredible to be there, but we made the mistake of seeing Akshardham in Dehli the day before which is even more intricate and mind blowing. So I’d suggest seeing the Taj Mahal first so you can fully appreciate it.

And to play it safe and avoid unpleasant interactions with the staff, don’t bring anything other than your camera and a water bottle…


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