I remember buying my first ever camera Kodak KB 10 at the age of 16. At that time, it was just to capture the memories of family, friends, and celebrations. Back then it was a bit troublesome process of carefully loading a film roll in the camera, winding it after every shot, and finally, taking the film roll out to develop in a chemical solution with the help of a photo studio. But in today’s digital era, it has become increasingly easy to photograph the things/places that attract us. If you got a smartphone, you’ve got a camera that will help you to shoot or record anything that you want to. One press on the button and there you have it in your phone gallery to edit and share as you like. While literally, anyone can click a photo, framing something as magnificent as the Taj Mahal needs a bit of planning, patience, and little practice. Also, you might be having limited days to explore the wonder, and in that time, you may come across bad weather, bad light, and a sea of people ruining your vision. Having a smartphone or a DSLR is just a helping hand. The hard part is knowing when to press the button and where to point the camera. Otherwise, your image might not make true justice to the beauty of the wonder. To make the best of your time and to utilize every moment here is our take on where all you can visit to get the best view/pictures of the Taj Mahal.
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Inside the Taj Mahal complex to see it up close
Of course, this doesn’t need any guessing that to get the best view of the Taj Mahal you must see it up close from inside the complex. Wandering through its gardens and fountains, seeing the golden light appearing behind the tomb, brushing hands through the marble carvings, gasping at the sheer size of the creation, and listening to the untold stories from your guide is the best way to experience the Taj. Enter through the east gate and try to be there early in the morning as soon as the gates open. You will be rewarded with serenity, the occasional chirping of birds, and a breathtaking view of the Taj Mahal. You go anywhere in the complex, be it the fountain area, the mosque, or the mausoleum, the views are just as spectacular from every corner.
From the rooftop restaurants to experience its mightiness among surroundings
There are quite a few rooftop restaurants from where the Taj is best viewed. Joeys- the most famous hostel is directly opposite the Taj Mahal and gives unobstructed views. However, we found Hotel Sania Palace better as it gives a different perspective of the monument as if it is emerging from the lush greenery.
As well as it didn’t have any crowd. Whereas, Joey’s hostel was filled with backpackers and local visitors. Do note that we found the food here to be below average. These places are good for a nice evening stroll and maybe some tea/coffee.
By the bank of Yamuna at Mehtab Bagh
We found a charming view of the Taj Mahal at sunset from Mehtab Bagh. Even being on the other side of the river it seems so close, yet you can hardly notice the sea of people in the complex from that far. The garden complex is right opposite the Yamuna River and spawns across 980 square feet. Be careful while you are walking around as to not step into the foundation work laid for the building of the Black Taj mahal which was left unfinished. There is a wall that is allowed to be climbed upon and the captures from these angles are amazing.
From the walls of Agra Fort as Shah Jahan viewed it during his final years
You can view the Taj Mahal from several vantage points of the Agra fort. The Mehtab Bagh, Yamuna River, and the Taj mahal all lie in a single line and it makes for an amazing frame to capture. Take out your zoom lens and capture it away!
Secret sunset viewpoint near the riverside
We came to know about this spot from many Instagram posts and blogs. We had to add it to our bucket list. However, until reaching Agra we did not have any details or information on reaching the spot. To be frank it might be termed as a secret spot for foreign tourists but almost all guides and locals know about this place. Since this place is a bit secluded, we requested our guide to help us reach the location. And he was more than happy to take us on a walk till there. Although instead of a sunset we went there at sunrise.
The place is near a ruined structure and at present, some local villagers are staying near the spot. There is an entrance gate to reach the exact viewpoint which is usually locked. The locals guarding the gate will demand some 100 rupees. We paid it to them and they opened the gate.
On google, you might not find a proper route to locate this place unless you know what to search for. It’s very simple to reach there. From the Taj Eastern gate, you need to take right towards Dashehara Ghat road. On your map put the destination as “Heritage Walk beyond the Taj: Haveli Khan-i-Dauran & Agha Khan” and keep walking towards that direction. It’s just a 600-meter walk through the main road and some dirt path. You will see the below board and, on your right, you will see the entrance gate. Once you pay the gatekeepers, they will direct you to the gazebo from where you can witness the beauty of the Taj beside the Yamuna.
Witnessing the Taj from a boat on the Yamuna
This is one of the most unique ways of viewing the Taj Mahal. Unfortunately, when we visited Agra, it was monsoon. Due to the flooding of the river, we were advised against taking a boat ride. However, we managed to find some information for you in case you’d like to experience this.
Head to the Yamuna ghat and ask for Manoj. He is a lovely middle-aged man and the only one who has a boat there. If the weather permits, he is more than happy to take you on that boat ride. Even better if you get to capture the sun rising behind the monument and the glistening reflection in the water.