Agra was one city I had highly anticipated when backpacking India. After getting to the Taj Mahal, I was able to capture several decent shots in and around the area. Since I was shooting mainly in RAW, I have not converted all the photos to jpeg yet.
The outside of the Taj Mahal compound is a rather chaotic scene. There are lots of beggars and others trying to take you on a short cut to avoid the long entrance line. After negotiating with one man for a while, we finally decided to follow him on a long trek through side streets and even up a flight of stairs in an apartment which led to a passage way back to a small street. Eventually we found a back entrance with a shorter line. We gave the man a few dollars and he sprinted back to the front gate to recruit some more followers.
The Taj Mahal was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Construction began in 1632 and ended in 1653. There is also a Mosque and a few other buildings and shrines within the fortified walls.