Should we only use official guides a. The Taj, and how do we find them
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No, you don’t need any official guides at all to visit the Taj Mahal. You can simply turn up, buy your ticket and walk in. Alternatively you can get a taxi to the site across the river to get a great view of the Taj from the back (like in my profile pic)
It may help if you give us more information if you want more detailed advice. Are you in Agra for example?
If you want a guide, then they are easily found in Agra – in fact, as soon as you arrive in the town, your taxi driver and touts on the street are very likely to repeatedly ask if you want one! The only problem is that a lot of touts have a bad reputation for not knowing all the facts and not always being very easy to understand. An official guide is a must – otherwise you are likely to be charged a lot for nothing. Since I last visited, audio guides have apparently been introduced and I think this would be great, as wondering around at your own pace is the real pleasure here.
Personally, I decided to read up on the place and the history before going, that way, I had a fairly good idea of what I was looking at, but could take it at my own pace.
Agra is not a very pleasant place to stay and finding a decent hotel that doesn’t charge the earth is tough. Some people avoid staying here by coming on day trips from elsewhere, but this does mean you’ll arrive with all the coaches and crowds of people, which kind of ruins the serenity of the place. I’d advise being there when the doors open at 6am. The Taj is stunning in the morning light.
If you’re going to take a tour, the best of way of doing this is definitely through an official guide. Watch out for guides who insist on incorporating visits to nearby markets and shops after visiting the Taj. You may enjoy this, but personally I was much more interested in seeing the Taj Mahal!