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Author Topic: Taj Mahal current advice please...  (Read 2764 times)
sanfairyanne
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« on: August 18, 2011, 09:02:14 AM »
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The below site is very helpful advising on the Taj Mahal but the writer struggles to get into the site as early as he would have liked. Can anyone give me more up-to-date advice. I don't mind waiting all night to be the first at the gate.

Am I ok taking my 5D in there, or will I be assumed to be a pro and therefore expected to have a license.

Also I've read somewhere there's a night viewing. Has anyone done this.

Can anyone confirm that tripods are still banned, maybe you can offer a little backsheesh.


http://vmphotography.com.au/blog/tips-on-photographing-the-taj-mahal/

Many thanks.
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Rajan Parrikar
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« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2011, 10:48:52 AM »
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You can take the 5D or any other camera to the Taj Mahal.

You don't have to wait all night.  If you want to photograph the golden light of the sunrise illuminating the Taj, get there around 5:45 am or so.

Tripods are NOT allowed.

There used to be night viewing on the full moon night; I think that has now been discontinued.



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Anders_HK
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« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2011, 08:58:12 PM »
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India, Taj ?

Of the 39 countries I have traveled to India was the worst as far as constant being ripped off, overcharged, you have to watch every second! I was at Taj but never went in. Here is my story from a post a few years back...

Ok, Taj Mahal. They do not permit triods and made me place it in locked storage. Even that did not help. They did not accept me carry my camera backpack into Taj. In fact I later heard they do not even permit ladies purses and that you are not permitted to walk close to the buildings to shoot close ups. I usually travel with short time on my hand, so I only had one morning there. Of course I do not trust putting my camera gear in their lockers, even when they give me the key. I started walk towards riksha to bring me to hotel when a gentleman approached me and said he could take me to river for 800 rupee for some very good views for photograph. I said no. Then in riksha I changed my mind and returned because sunrise was happening and I would have lost the light going back. I said to him, I accept pay 400 rupee. He said ok. His name was Don. Ask for him, and away from guards at entrance. But do pay the entrance fee to Taj first, or perhaps else they will put him out of business. He was really great. He knew exactly what me as a photographer was looking for. He took me to great views of Taj from river. The sunrise had some fog and excellent light. He said it is that way each morning. I do not know, but that morning felt like spectacular. He had a small boat with boatman standby for me to cross the river. I was the only person photographing or sightseeing there. On return he asked me to pay the boatman 200 rupee, I did not even bargain. Don delivered excellent and well worth the cost for the photos I took. He suggested where I should stand for best views and clearly knew this for best reflections of Taj Mahal in water etc. A boy showed up with camel, I paid extra, only one USD for three photos (the boy with camel was outside his arrangements). There was also a neighbouring government building which he said cost 500 rupee to get into,because had to pay off the people living there, yet like it would give very good view of Taj and the river. He was right. Up in that tower he asked for that money to give to them. He propably kept some. I did not mind, because what he gave me was truly excellent. I think in total I paid around 30 USD to him and his friends for all. That is way too much in India, but I did so for what he provided; it indeed was truly excellent. Please ask for him if you visit. He will deliver. No, after back to hotel I never returned to see Taj Mahal on inside. I would not bother with such restrictions so as to make proper photography impossible, and there were lots of tourists entering which I did not want in photos either.

Speak to the locals outside. If you happen to meet Don or one same as him, it will be a very much worthwhile photographic experience. He delivered unlike anyone else I met in India. TRULY EXCELLENT.

And you know... I do not feel I missed having been inside... I got my shots.  Smiley

Best regards
Anders
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Rajan Parrikar
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« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2011, 01:12:08 AM »
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Anders-HK,

I hear you, bro.  I could write a tome on this topic.  First you have to endure the incessant harassment from touts and busybodies outside the gate.  Then at the gate there is the charade of 'security,' and once inside, you have to jostle with ill-mannered hordes.  What makes all of this bearable is the first frontal view of the Taj.  That's it.  The Indian govt has ruined everything else it could get its hands on (the ugly fences, the hideous sidewalks, the dirty water in the garden pools, etc).
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Anders_HK
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« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2011, 09:14:59 AM »
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The outside made me fully content   Smiley
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Praki
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« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2011, 11:52:17 AM »
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I was there for a dawn viewing last fall. DO NOT EVEN BOTHER TAKING A TRIPOD. You will have to go check it at the lost and found until you finish viewing. They (the security guys) catch even things like gorilla pods etc. so trying to sneak anything past them is almost impossible. The main problem with the dawn viewing is that many people want to do the same. I guess that's why there is Content Aware fill in PS 5!
I got there at 5:30 AM and was one of the first in. There is the usual jostling and people trying to cut in lines etc. Be firm. The full frontal view (regardless of how many times I have seen it) is just amazing. In the winter, there is fog and the color progression pink to gold to white takes about 20 min. There was a gardner inside who quickly took me to the right spots. he wasn't looking for any tips but I gave him some for his help anyway.
Anders has nice shots and one seems to be taken from the Agra Fort and the other from across the river from Idmatullah's tomb (he was Shah Jahan's father in law). It is worth a trip to Sikandara and Idmatullah's tomb as well as Agra Fort. I wish many people in India would take more pride and care in the protection and use of their beautiful monuments... Agra could be a beautiful city but apparently its citizens have not realized that yet.
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2011, 09:50:14 AM »
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Rajan, do you know what the reasoning is behind the "no tripods" rule?  I'm sure there are the official reasons: "obstruction of traffic", etc. but what's the real reason?

BTW, I was lucky enough to attend a full moon opening of the Taj a long time ago. Absolutely magical.
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Rajan Parrikar
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« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2011, 11:11:31 AM »
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Rajan, do you know what the reasoning is behind the "no tripods" rule?  I'm sure there are the official reasons: "obstruction of traffic", etc. but what's the real reason?

BTW, I was lucky enough to attend a full moon opening of the Taj a long time ago. Absolutely magical.

Peter,

There is never any logic to Indian ways.  The general rule in India is, "How best can we stop you from achieving your goal?" and a corollary to it is, "Give me a baksheesh under the table and you can then do whatever it is that you want."

The Taj Mahal and other national historical sites come under the purview of the Indian government's Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).  The ASI has an archaic rule on their books going back to the days when tripods were large unwieldy contraptions.  You had to seek special permission to bring these inside the premises.  That rule still stands.  This was told to me by an ASI director when I sought his 'special' permission to use a tripod at the churches of Old Goa which (sadly) were handed over to the ASI.  At the Taj Mahal there may be further security concerns given the history of religious tension in that area.

Clearly, the powers-that-be do not want to change this rule, for if you let people free reign how are you going to pull rank (and pull in some cash on the side)?  I have always found it amusing that you can go trash the ASI sites with litter, plastic, and other rubbish and the guards will just stand there doing nothing.  But man they home in on you like a laser beam if they see a tripod in your hand.



« Last Edit: December 29, 2011, 12:23:51 PM by Rajan Parrikar » Logged

dreed
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« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2011, 03:47:46 AM »
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As an update on this, whilst there in January 2010, people were allowed to take backpacks and camera bags in with them.
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