Have you ever seen any pictures of Taj Mahal that are not taken in a perfect weather? If you search Taj Mahal pictures in Google, nearly all the pictures are taken from the same direction. I want to show what visiting the famous mausoleum is really like, so here are a few less glamorous, alternative pictures of Taj Mahal, India.

A tired 5AM selfie of a man waking up to see Taj Mahal at sunrise.

The “Waking up at 5AM to see Taj Mahal at sunrise” selfie.

Early morning queues at Taj Mahal tourist ticket counter before the sunrise.

The gates of Taj Mahal open at 6AM, but you should still wake up much earlier because of the queues at the ticket office and the gates.

Men and women have separate lines at the entrance to Taj Mahal. The line for men is empty at sunrise, while the line for women continues behind the corner.

Women and men had different lines for the security check and… well, it turned out that there are a lot more women visiting Taj Mahal at sunrise. There was practically no line for men, while the queue of women continued far behind the corner.

Panda Pepe XXL laku (liquorice) and a package of straws that were not allowed in at the security check.

The security check at Taj Mahal was amusingly strict: my friend Tino had to leave Finnish liquorice and a package of straws outside, because the security said she “didn’t know what they were”.

Taj Mahal Photography tips? Tourists taking pictures of Taj Mahal early in the morning.

Most visitors want to take symmetrical pictures of Taj Mahal from straight ahead of the building, so the middle lane is quite crowded.

Alternative pictures of Taj Mahal. A deteriorated pool at the front of Taj Mahal.

The pools in front of the 17th century mausoleum have seen better days.

Alternative pictures of Taj Mahal: Here's the mausoleum on a cloudy morning with the front towers under renovation.

And here’s Tah Mahal itself at sunrise. Because of the cloudy weather, there wasn’t much to see about it. Instead of bright rays of light, we just saw the sky change its hue from darker to lighter grey.

An armed soldier asks a group of tourists to delete their photos where they've posed in the lotus position for the camera.

Not all alternative pictures of Taj Mahal are allowed. A group of backpackers tried to pose in the lotus position in front of the ponds when they were stopped by an armed soldier. The soldier made the men delete the pictures of Taj Mahal they had taken.

Partly covered minaret tower in front of Taj Mahal under renovation.

The front minaret towers of Taj Mahal were under maintenance during our visit.

A sign that says "Scientific conservation work in progres - entry & photography prohibited. Archeological Survey of India, Science Branch-Agra" at Taj Mahal under renovation.

It was actually prohibited to take pictures of the minaret towers – a very difficult rule to obey WHEN THE TOWERS ARE IN FRONT OF THE MAIN BUILDING.

A red signs showing different routes for general ticket holders and high value ticket holders at Taj Mahal, Agra.

The ticket to Taj Mahal costs 25 times more to foreign tourists (1000 Rupees) than Indian tourists (40 Rupees). Still, the extra price is definitely worth it, because high value ticket holders get a small bottle of water and disposable shoe covers for free!