13 Tips For Visiting Taj Mahal In Agra India

Tips For visiting Taj Mahal | - 13 Tips For Visiting The Taj Mahal In Agra India

In my recent post, I shared pictures from our time exploring Agra’s monument of love; The Taj Mahal. This time I thought I would share tips for visiting and seeing the Taj Mahal with ease. There are millions of people that dream of visiting the Taj Mahal. This means that there is hardly a time when its not crowded.

 

My Taj Mahal tips below will help you the visit a little more bearable in what can be a crowded and chaotic place in some seasons. You can also check out posts on how to do a day trip to Agra from Delhi which includes details of how to get from Delhi to Agra by bus, train or car. Perfect for a day trip of golden triangle tour.

 

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My Tips For Visiting The Taj Mahal

 

1. Take A Guided  Tour Of Taj Mahal

Although I am usually a fan of DIY tours of places I visit, for this one I would highly recommend a guided tour. For one they will know all the cool places to show you as well as the insider history and stories about how the place came to be. Secondly, they will also fend off people hustling you to pay for them to take pictures for your or any other service they may be throwing at you.
 
 
Also bear in mind that your tour guide will also try and take you around to so-called “Galleries” or aka carpet showrooms and jewellery studios, places that they are more than likely to receive a commission from, for each person they bring to the showrooms. Feel free to go and have a look but know that they most likely will make you feel as if you have to buy something before can leave.
 
 
I am quite strong-willed and buy only what I want and need. If you cannot afford it or don’t need it do not feel like you are to buy it. Leave or haggle and see if you can get a price you are happy to pay.


Arranging Taj Mahal tour guides: Depending on where you are staying in India, your hotel can help you find a knowledgeable guide to take you around for the day. We were staying at the Marriott in Gurgaon, a couple of minutes outside of Delhi. They arranged our driver from Delhi to Agra and a tour guide when we arrived in Agra. If you want to DIY(Do It Yourself) and arrange a guide yourself, then check out ToursByLocals and Vayable.
 
 
 
You can also get a government-approved tour guide for about £20 a day fromUptourism. We were looking at where to stay in Agra when we were planning our trip but ended up doing the day trip due to other commitments we had. If you are looking for places to stay near Taj Mahal, there is a Marriott near by as well as the beautifulOberoi which has amazing views of the Taj Mahal even if you are just there for afternoon tea. For a full list of hotels in Agra, check out his list of hotels covering all budgets.
 
 
 

2.  When To Visit Taj Mahal  and What Days To Visit | The Best Times To Visit The Taj Mahal

India has high pollution and this can affect the visibility of the Taj Mahal. It’s recommended not to bother coming in the winter. Yes, there may be less of the crowds but there is a reason for that! Even when you are only a few meters next to the Taj, you may not be able to see it because of the fog.
 
If you cannot help coming in winter then don’t bother getting up first thing for it either as you will most likely not see a thing until the fog clears of around midday onwards but again returns early afternoon. Winter is between November and February. I would recommend going just before Summer as it will be warm enough but not too hot. I visited in the heat of the summer and won’t be trying that again.
 
 
What I can say though was that the days were clear so if you want those sunrise and sunset shots and can bear the heat then its the perfect time to visit. Also note that Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays. Try and go between Monday and Thursdays as weekends and public holidays this place can resemble what I can only compare with a wildebeest migration, in that it is so crowded you will regret getting out of bed in the morning.
 
 

 

3. Taj Mahal Opening Timings | Avoid Going In The Morning

Most of the blogs and travel guides usually say go early in the morning but guess what? EVERYBODY and their cousin and grandma is there in the morning because they read the same advice. Aim to go there slightly later in the morning around 10am onwards. The crowds at the ticket office would have subsided by then. I think when we arrived it was around 10 or 11am, there was hardly any people at the ticket office. If you want to see the Taj Mahal early in the morning without the crowds then see tip number 4.
 

Taj Mahal opening time

Daytime: sunrise to sunset every day (06:00 am to 06:30 pm), except Friday.

Every Friday the Taj Mahal is closed and only accessible in the afternoon for Muslims to attend prayers.

Nighttime: 08:30 pm to 12:30 am.

The night view of the monument is only available 5 days a month: the full moon night and 2 days before and after that day, except Friday and on month of Ramadan.

 
Tips For visiting Taj Mahal | Taj Mahal Pictures - Tips; how long do you need at the taj mahal and How long do you need at the taj mahal
Crowds are inevitable at Taj Mahal 

 

4. Sunrise (and Sunset) At The Taj Mahal

Hordes of people usually turn up at the Taj Mahal hoping to see it at sunrise. The best views at sunrise, and without crowds, AND also free can be had from across the Yamuna River orSaniya Restaurant’s rooftop(See tip 13). This is also the perfect spot for sunset as well.  The sunrise is the best time for amazing photography of the Taj Mahal. Another great time to visit the Taj Mahal is in the early morning, as you not only avoid the heat but also the crowds. If you are in the pursuit the perfect shots without hordes then getting up earlier can be very rewarding.

 

 

5. Seeing Taj Mahal At Full Moon Opening

There are certain times of the year when the Taj Mahal is open at night. This is during the full moon. Taj Mahal is open two days before and two days after the full moon. The only downside to this is that there is a cap on the number of visitors allowed in at a time. Only 50 visitors are allowed in at a time. You can purchase tickets for this 24 hours in advance and will be given time slots.
 
 
Downside to all this is that if you pick a time slot before the moon has rise then the effect of having the Tah Mahal light up by the moon is a waste of time and if you pick a slot when the moon as fully risen then it would be too high for that all-beautiful shot or even as an experience, in my eyes would have been a wasted journey.
Tip: Instead head to the River Yamuna. See tip 13.

 

 

6. Whats Included In Your Ticket For The Taj Mahal

Tickets for entrance to see the Taj Mahal are about 750 Rupees which is roughly about £7-8 or $ 9-10. Your ticket also includes a bottle of water as you are not allowed any food or drink inside. Your ticket also includes shoe covers as you are not allowed to walk around the Taj Mahal with your shoes. You may spot some locals walking around bear foot inside as well as shoes are not allowed.
 
 
In the summer the marble can be extremely hot so bear that in mind if you want to explore like a local. You may burn in the process. Shoes are not allowed as this is all to protect the marble from more damage. Also note: There are 3 gates to enter;  Western Gate, Eastern Gate and Southern Gate. The Southern Gate is open from 08:00 am, so remember to use other 2 gates if you want to visit the structure at dawn.
 
 
If enter via Western Gate, visitors have to go through a large stretch of woods to arrive the building where you may encounter many monkeys in the morning. Make sure you don’t have any exposed food.
 
 
 
 

7. A Day Trip From Delhi To Taj Mahal | It Can Be Done In One Day

If you are visiting the golden triangle(Delhi, Agra and Jaipur), note that you can actually see the sights, visits the markets and walk around the city all in one day. Most Golden Triangle tours mainly take you to the Taj Mahal, where as if you DIY and get your own tour guide you can do Agra Fort, and Baby Taj as well as see the markets, have some authentic Indian curry in the city before moving on.  
 
 
If you do however want to stay the night there are many a place to stay in the city covering budgets from cheap as chips to luxury. I will do another post with what to see in the rest of  Agra and cover some options on where to stay if spending the night in Agra. For a day trip from Delhi to Taj Mahal, check out my post with instructions on how to get to Taj Mahal from Delhi by train, bus or car.

 

 
 
 
 
 

Tips For visiting Taj Mahal | Taj Mahal Pictures - Tips; how long do you need at the taj mahal and How long do you need at the taj mahal  Tips For visiting Taj Mahal | Taj Mahal Pictures - Tips; how long do you need at the taj mahal and How long do you need at the taj mahal, does the taj mahal have a dress code
 
 

8. Getting The Money Shot | Taj Mahal Photography Tips

The beauty of having a guide with you is that as they show you around they will also have insider information of the spots to photograph the Taj Mahal as well as leave you to your own devices to be creative while you tour the place without them. For the most part I would say you can forget about getting that money shot without the crowds being in your shot.
 
 
Even with the crowds, if you are creative enough there is plenty of room to have peaceful moments away from the crowds where you can take unique pictures with a soul in them –  you just may have to work harder for it.
 
 
Tips For visiting Taj Mahal | Taj Mahal Pictures - does the taj mahal have a dress code and visiting the taj mahal what to wear tips
 

 

9. Prepare For Touts Including – Your Guide

The place is rife with touts, from the ticket office to even when you are inside the Taj  Mahal. They won’t be selling products in there but will be offering a service of taking pictures for you and all sorts. Just prepare for that. On the one hand, I get that they have to eat and that’s one way to earn money but when you are asked several times over and over it can be a pain. The advantage of having a tour guide with you will mean they either won’t ask you or when they do, your guide will fend them off for you.
 
 
 
Note that your guide may also offer to take you to a “gallery”,  in my naivety I thought this was really a gallery. These are showrooms. They will take you to many. Some I outright said no to and some I wanted to go to. I saw carpet showrooms and learned about the traditions handed down, as well as the locals they use to create these beautiful pieces. When it came to buying one, it wasn’t something I needed so I didn’t fall for the spiel or the guilt trip of walking away without buying anything. What I did fall for was an Aquamarine tennis bracelet though.
 
 
 
Blue is my favorite color and Aquamarine is my favourite stone so this piece was calling my name! The point doesn’t be guilt-tripped into buying anything. Because the showrooms doors are closed off and you will feel as if you almost cannot leave until you buy something. Don’t fall for the hard sell. Buy if you want and or can afford it. The carpets are beautiful and a fraction of what places like John Lewis and Liberty stores charge for them, so you want one and cant afford them in London then this is the time and place to get them as they also deliver for free, anywhere around the world.

 

10. Check Out The Hidden and Cool Places To  Taj mahal pictures Capture In Photos

Nothing beats insider information where ever you are going, whatever the city. Unless your mind is like Google search engines then you will not have all the information about where to get the best views or that little hole inside the moselum to sneak that shot of the mosque or angling your face just right so that the Taj Mahal is right in your eyes.
 
 
So take your time and tour the site at slow pace and fully take it in(also because you can only use your ticket one – can’t go out and come back in), because for some, this is a once in a lifetime visit so make the most of it.
 
 
Tips For visiting Taj Mahal | Taj Mahal Pictures and how long to spend at taj mahal
Tips For visiting Taj Mahal | Taj Mahal Pictures
You can see the Taj in Igal’s eyes.
 

 

11. Check Out Other Sights With Related History.

Although the Taj Mahal may be the star of the show don’t forget to visit other sights while in Agra. These included the Agra Fort where Shah Jahan, the husband of Mamtaz Mahal, the man himself who commissioned the Taj Mahal for his wife. This is not too far from Taj Mahal and you can also see Taj Mahal from there. 
 
 
This is where Shah Jahal spent his days with view the Taj Mahal and resting place for his beloved wife. Another place to see while you are in town is also the Tomb of I’timad-ud-Daulah. This is another Mughal mausoleum and usually referred to as Baby Taj. I will be sharing pictures of Agra Fort in my next post  as well as Baby Taj when I do the top things to see and do in Agra(Including where to stay). Look out for a post on that.

 

12. What You Are Not Allowed To Bring

If you are thinking that you can sneak in your tripod for those long exposure thoughts you will be disappointed. Tripods are not allowed in. While there are lockers for you to leave these if you make the mistake of coming to the site with them. I don’t think I would put money on the security of the lockers and any contents in them.
 
 
If you happen to be driving yourself there(car hire is only about £10 a day in Agra), cars or are not allowed within 500 meters of the Taj Mahal as pollution has been found to increase deterioration of the site. Food is also not allowed so don’t bother packing a lunch to bring with you as that will be thrown out and increase the time you are searched at security. Other items not allowed include smoking items, mobile phone chargers, tobacco products and drinks other than the water included in your ticket.

 

Tips For visiting Taj Mahal | Taj Mahal Pictures
Igal and our guide, standing by the Taj Mahal with views of River Yamuna – You want to be on the overside for the Full Moon shooting.
 

13. Take In The Views From The River

If you are after those amazing shots of the Taj Mahal at sunrise, sunset and during the full moon then head to the river and view the Taj Mahal from River Yamuna. It has much less of a crowd, if at all. Depending on your chosen spot you may only have a few photographers to compete with.
 
 
This means that you won’t have to contemplate on whether you have chosen the correct time slot for the full moon opening evenings at the Taj Mahal. Also sunset, sunrise and importantly for full moon shots from the river side means that you can use your tripods, something that is not allowed when you are inside the grounds of the Taj Mahal. It’s also FREE! Apart from the transportation to get there, of course. There are a few places near the Taj Mahal that also over great views without having to pay for it., such as rooftop restaurant of Saniya Palace Inn.
 
 

Where to Stay in Agra

 One day in Agra is definitely not enough to explore and take it all in. For hotels, hostels and other accommodation options check out Booking.com, to get the latest hotel deals.
 

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12 Comments

  1. March 30, 2016 / 9:34 am

    Such a beautiful place to visit. Your pictures are amazing. I am coming back to your tips for visiting Taj Mahal when I finally have money to visit India. Are there any other places to visit near Taj Mahal? I want to know about Taj Mahal as much as possible before I visit.

    • October 20, 2018 / 6:47 pm

      Yes, Taj Mahal is one of those places worth seeing at least once in a life time.

  2. Janice Micheal
    October 19, 2018 / 10:22 am

    Ah, come on! Why didn’t I see this post before embarking on my journey visiting Taj Mahal? Well, lesson learned – make research before leaving for a place! I actually went there on a public holiday and I thought it would be the perfect time to enjoy the spot but trust me, it was so crowded that moving around required us walking in lines so we don’t step on each other. I couldn’t even get a decent picture because everyone is too close to each other and getting a space to take pictures was another war. Unless you can do well in crowds and don’t have much to do when you visit, I’ll suggest you don’t visit the Taj Mahal during public holidays. I want to see Taj Mahal again some day. I will be coming back to your tips on the best time ti visit Taj Mahal, how to get to Taj Mahal as well as tips on Taj Mahal clothing. This is a really great post.

    • October 20, 2018 / 6:45 pm

      Haha, yes it always helps to research before traveling. Lesson learnt 😀

  3. Matthew
    October 20, 2018 / 12:01 pm

    I completely agree with Janice! It’s worthwhile doing some research before going otherwise you really do miss out on some amazing stuff that you might not have known existed from first glance. A taj mahal visit looks like such a must! One of the most popular tourist attractions in India I am so bookmarking your tips on Taj Mahal for when I visit.

    • October 20, 2018 / 6:50 pm

      Yes, researching a place definitely pays off. I do hope you get to visit Taj Mahal soon.

  4. Jodian
    January 4, 2019 / 5:25 am

    I love the fact that I can get up later in the day to see it when it’s less crowded and hot. The Taj Mahal is extremely beautiful. I had actually been planning a trip to India in the winter to see Taj Mahal, but I really appreciate tips on the best time to visit Taj Mahal a heads up about how foggy it can get at the Taj Mahal. Do you think early spring would be a good option to go for visiting the Taj Mahal? Or the rest of India for that matter

  5. Maite
    January 10, 2019 / 10:56 pm

    The Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful things my eyes have seen and also the history of its construction is so romantic and sad, dignified for a love novel. Is a magical place, unique and India with its ancestral culture, has a mystical air that falls in love. Thanks for the Taj Mahal travel tips and the pictures, the next time I go will help me a lot to improve the images.

  6. Nour
    January 17, 2019 / 1:22 pm

    Amazing pictures and great Taj Mahal photography tips about the fog too. I am coming back to your tips for visiting Taj Mahal again as I have plans to visit Taj Mahal in 2020. Such great Taj Mahal travel tips Thanks!

    • January 26, 2019 / 12:12 am

      Thank you Nour, glad you enjoyed the Taj Mahal tips and found them useful. Make sure you check out my other posts on India for tips on the places to visit in Agra as well as how to travel from Delhi to Agra. Safe travels!

  7. Chrissie Hunt
    January 25, 2019 / 4:50 pm

    I usually avoid guided tours at all costs but I have to agree you should go with a guided tour if you’re going to visit Taj Mahal or a place like this. If you’re spending the time and cash to visit this historic place, you’ll want to get the full experience and I can’t picture someone doing it DIY. Love your post! Everything from Taj mahal Photography tips, how to make a Taj Mahal trip from Delhi, Taj dress code, Taj Mahal visiting hours, the many reasons to visit Taj Mahal, places to visit near Taj Mahal. This is an amazing and comprehesive guide to visit Taj Mahal. Well done.

    • January 26, 2019 / 12:08 am

      Thank you so much. There are indeed so many reasons to visit Taj Mahal. I glad you enjoyed the post and tips. Make sure you also check out my post on the best way to travel from Delhi to Agra as that has tips on how to visit Taj Mahal by train, car and bus froM Delhi. All the best with your travels.

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