The good thing about business trips is that you are given the chance to be in new places. Since moving to Middle East in 2017, I went to 5 countries for the first time, with India as the latest. Primarily, I go to work but during off-days, I check the tourist destinations in the area where I am staying. I don't bring my DSLR camera during business trips lately. And sometimes, I wish I did. I have been using my phone camera a lot and maybe next time, when the pandemic is over, I will be bringing my DSLR camera during business trips.
I was on a business trip in Mathura and was encouraged by my colleagues to visit the Taj Mahal since it’s only few kilometers away. They even provided me with a guide, and grabbing the opportunity was definitely a good decision on my part.
Being a foreigner, I have to pay 1,300 rupees for access. Locals have to pay 50-250 rupees only. The fee includes a mineral water and shoe cover, and access to skip the lines. Tour guides and photographers are also available. If you know how to negotiate, then you can get a guide at cheaper fee.
We arrived around 2 pm on a Saturday, and it was really crowded. It is very difficult to take photo of the monument. A closer look on the architecture reminded me of Middle Eastern designs. It is not allowed to talk photo inside of the mausoleum. While everyone is told to be silent inside, some visitors keep on shouting inside just to hear the echos.
Earlier that day, we went to Prem Mandir one winter morning and the fog made the place looks mysterious and divine.
It has no entrance fee, though there are some vendors outside of the temple offering lots of stuff. We politely said no. Once you enter the place, you can feel the calmness of the place - it might be due to the white color dominating the complex.
Around the area, lots of colorful statues which is contrasting the white temple. You are not allowed to wear shoes in the temple and photography is not also allowed.
It would have been better if my guides were able to speak English and explain to me the history. Over-all it was still a great experience.