As one of the Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal is at the top of many travelers bucket list. Easily one of India’s most popular sights, this stunning Mausoleum welcomes over 7-8 million people per year. Therefore it can become quite hectic and you’ll want to be prepared long before you even arrive.
Luckily, I’ve got you covered. With this guide you’ll have all the knowledge you need so that your visit to the Taj Mahal will go smoothly. Leaving you with only beautiful memories of this breathtaking white marble mausoleum.
This Blog Post Includes:
- When to Go
- How to Get There
- What to Bring
- Tickets and Gate Info
- The Best Photo Spots
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When to Go to the Taj Mahal
Sunrise and sunset are undoubtedly the BEST times to visit the Taj Mahal. In the morning there are guaranteed to be less crowds but you’ll also have to wake up early.
The ticket counter opens 30-45 minutes prior to sunrise and you’ll want to be there around that time. Yes it’s early but you’ll want to see this World Wonder with as few people as possible.
For reference, we arrived to the ticket counter at 4:50 AM, purchased our tickets, made it through security and were standing in front of the Taj Mahal by 5:05 AM. I’ve heard stories about people standing in line to purchase their tickets for 2 hours. That alone would make an early wake-up call worth it!
The best time of year to visit India, especially the North is from September/October through March. The weather will be cooler and more pleasant and the monsoon rains will have passed. This also means that there will be more international visitors coming to see the Taj Mahal.
We visited in late June and while it was excruciatingly hot during the day, the early mornings weren’t so bad. It also meant that there were less crowds and very few tourists. We explored the grounds of the Taj Mahal feeling as though we had the place to ourselves.
The most important thing to note is that the Taj Mahal is CLOSED EVERY FRIDAY. You’d hate to show up and it be closed especially if you’ve allowed only one day here.
We’ve also read that they limit you to 3 hours inside the Taj Mahal but we were there from 5AM t 8:30AM and didn’t have any issues with a time restriction.
How to get there & Which Gate to Enter
The Taj Mahal is located in the heart of Agra and getting there is easy. There are many options from Delhi including private car, bus or train. If you need more information about how to get from Delhi to Agra you can find it in this post here.
Once you are in Agra you can reach the Taj a few different ways. The easiest and cheapest option is UBER, followed by a rickshaw or taxi. There are 2 main entrances to the Taj Mahal, those being the West and East Gates.
The West Gate is the more popular option so you’ll want to enter through the EAST GATE. The lines will be shorter and you’ll get inside quicker.
Tell your driver to take you to the East Gate. If you’ve taken a car you’ll be dropped off about a half kilometer from the booking counter and actual entrance. From here you can either walk, take a rickshaw or one of the government electric cars.
The electric cars through the government are located on the left in a small gated courtyard. These cost 10 INR per person and will take you all the way up to the entrance. The rickshaws will also do this but at a higher cost.
The Only Things You Should Bring With You
There are incredibly strict rules as to what you can and cannot bring inside the Taj Mahal. Many of these include NO tripods, snacks, tobacco products, candy and other random things.
The ONLY things I recommend you bring with you would be your credit card and cash, camera, cell phone and sunglasses.
Also, if you have a backpack or purse you will probably get held up a bit longer at security while they pick apart everything inside. Unless you absolutely need something, I would leave it behind.
Purchasing Your Ticket
Once you’ve arrived at the booking counter, find the appropriate ticket office. There will be different lines for Indian Nationals (and SAARC Countries) and Foreign Nationals. Additionally, these lines will be separated by male and female. You can use either cash or card to pay and the fee is the same.
For Foreign Nationals the fee is 1,100 INR for entry plus 200 INR if you want to go inside the Mausoleum. The total entry fee will cost you 1,300 INR (~ 19 USD) and this will also include a water bottle and booties to cover your shoes when you enter the Mausoleum.
Once you’ve purchased your tickets you will need to keep them out for when you go through security. If you’ve only brought the items that I recommended and nothing more then security will be a breeze and you’ll get right on through.
Your first glimpse of the Taj Mahal will be directly after you enter through the main gate.
The Best Photo Spots of the Taj Mahal
Every single viewpoint inside the Taj Mahal complex is gorgeous so it’s pretty easy to capture something you’ll love and cherish from your time there. However, there are a few famous spots that I’m sure you’ve seen and will want to replicate.
First, there is the shot in front of the reflection pool. As soon as you enter the Taj Mahal, don’t stop at the main entrance or archway. There will be a ton of people huddled up here and you’ll be able to get a better shot from down below.
Instead, make your way to the reflection pool, passing by the raised platform with the benches. Many people will also stop there to take a picture on the bench that was made famous by the late Princess Diana. At the end of the platform you will see the start of the reflection pool and this is where you will want to get that perfect shot of the Taj Mahal.
If you are traveling as a couple you have two options to get a photo together: Either hire a guide who you can have take your picture or ask a stranger to do it. We asked a stranger and were thankful that he took such an incredible shot!
Do keep in mind that because the Taj Mahal is a huge draw for tourism there will be many men claiming to be tour guides just outside the entrance. Be sure to only use a government approved guide.
The next main photography spot is through the archways of one of the sandstone buildings on the right or left of the Taj. If you are there for sunrise be sure to go to the left first. This is where you will be able to capture that perfect morning glow as the sun begins to rise.
After you’ve taken your shots here spend some time exploring the grounds and see where else you can get creative with your photography. Also, make sure to capture some of the details when you enter the Mausoleum.
It is beautiful to see the white marble inlaid with semiprecious stones up close. It is just outside the Mausoleum that you will be able to see the intricate details of the traditional pietra dura floral design.
And there you have it! You are now ready to go see the Taj Mahal for yourself and entering will be easier than you think!
Have you visited the Taj Mahal? Any other tips or suggestions you would like to add? Leave them in the comments below!
Don’t forget to apply for your India visa prior to your arrival in India! This process can take anywhere from 7-10 days so be sure to apply well in advance!
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