Visit the Taj Mahal is a dream for each of us. Indeed, it is without a doubt the most famous monument in the world. It is one of the 7 wonders of the world alongside great monuments such as the Wall of China, Petra and the Colosseum in Rome. Believe us, the Taj Mahal deserves its place for its beauty but above all thanks to its legendary history.
A true emblem of India, we could not miss it during our trip to India. This is why we went to Agra, the city where the Taj Mahal is located, for several days to visit this legendary monument. We will tell you about our experience and give you our practical advice and good tips to make the most of it. Let’s go !
- Visit the Taj Mahal, its history
- Access to the Taj Mahal
- The rules to respect at the Taj Mahal
- Taj Mahal Visiting Timings
- The time to visit the Taj Mahal
- Our visit to the Taj Mahal
- The must-see monuments in Agra
- Where to sleep at the Taj Mahl?
- Go to the Taj Mahal?
Visit the Taj Mahal, its history
The Taj Mahal means “the palace of the crown” and is considered the jewel of India. It is located in northern India, and more precisely in Agra, in the state of Uttar Pradesh. With more than 8 million visitors each year, it is the leading tourist destination in India, far ahead of the others.
Keep in mind that there are more than 20,000 people every day who walk the steps of the famous Taj Mahal. As you probably know, this crowd is explained by the fact that the complex is fantastic and its beauty shines throughout the world. But it is also thanks to his love story that made him famous around the world.
Indeed, the Taj Mahal is a mausoleum built by the Mughal Muslim emperor Shâh Jahân in honor of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Legend has it that they were madly in love with each other. Unfortunately, Mumtaz Mahal dies while giving birth to their child. However, she asked Shah Jahan to remain faithful to her and build a tomb in her memory. This is where the idea of creating the Taj Mahal came from.
Taj Mahal access conditions
The Taj Mahal is quite a complex place at first glance. This is explained by the fact that the site is large and you have to prepare your arrival on site well to be able to make the most of it. You should know that there are several entries as well as different tickets. We have prepared a list for you so that you understand how the Taj Mahal works.
2 tickets to visit the Taj Mahal: one for the morning and the other for the afternoon. They can be purchased in the 3 counters just below.
Ticket prices: 1100 rupees (13 euros) to enter the Taj Mahal. You also need an additional 200 rupees (2.30 euros) to gain access to the Taj Mahal Mausoleum.
Child under 15 years old: no need to buy a ticket as entry is free.
However, it is possible to buy tickets directly on the internet and this saves time but also allows you to get your ticket directly on the day of the visit. Plus, the ticket is a little cheaper online. If you book your tickets the day before for a visit the next day, you must purchase tickets online before 5 p.m. otherwise it is no longer possible. On the big day, remember to queue like everyone else once you arrive at the entrances. Here is the site to reserve your tickets online: Ministery of Culture
The different entries
West entrance: this is the one used by the locals. Therefore a lot of people this side, the same morning at 6:30 am. The locals do not hesitate to push or overtake. Nobody follows the rules.
South entrance: this is the entrance that should be avoided because it only opens from 8 a.m. You will therefore not be the first there.
East entrance: this one is reserved for tourists. So this is the one we recommend because there aren’t many people in the morning.
Rules to respect at the Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is a sacred place where it is important to respect certain rules. You must know them before going there, this will allow you to not have any problems during your visit. The Indian authorities there are intransigent with tourists. The Taj Mahal is their jewel so they do everything to protect it.
What you need to know
- Tickets are only valid for 3 hours officially but very rare chance to check you if you exceed.
- No bags are allowed inside the Taj Mahal and it is forbidden to have a drone or a tripod with you. Additionally, no photos should be taken inside the Mausoleum.
- Food and cigarettes should also be avoided. Finally, you must remove your shoes in certain areas or put on plastic protections provided inside the enclosure.
Taj Mahal visiting hours
The opening hours of the Taj Mahal are quite special. In fact, the monument opens 30 minutes before sunrise and closes 30 minutes before sunset. Please note that the monument is open every day except Friday.
For several years, the Indian government has decided to open the Taj Mahal on full moon evenings. On the official Taj Mahal website, you can check the evenings when this phenomenon occurs. The Taj Mahal is open from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Perfect for insomniacs!
- We advise you to arrive at least 30 minutes before the doors open.
- If you are lucky, in the early morning, the Taj Mahal is covered in fog, which gives it a mystical side.
- The earlier you are there, the quieter and more alone you will be in the photos. It is from 7 a.m. that the site slowly begins to fill up.
The time to visit the Taj Mahal
The best season to visit the Taj Mahal is from October to April. This part of the year corresponds to the dry season in India and precedes the rainy season. The gardens and parks are therefore still very green and the animals are out.
We went there in October and unfortunately the rain accompanied us all the way to Agra. This did not prevent us from enjoying the Taj Mahal because, the day we went to visit it, the weather was nice and the icing on the cake, so there were not many people.
Avoid the rainy season and the months of May and June in India at all costs because the heat is unbearable. There is nothing worse than visiting Agra and the Taj Mahal in the rain. This can completely ruin your on-site experience
Our visit to the Taj Mahal
We got up at 4 a.m. to go explore it. We picked up the tickets about 1 hour before the doors opened at the west entrance. Clearly, this was not the best idea because, as previously said, it is the official entrance to the premises. We were crushed against the gate because there were so many Indians around us. Choose the east entrance because it is the tourist entrance.
At 6am the gates opened and for the first time we saw the Taj Mahal. The monument is splendid and it is much more impressive than in the photo, believe us! We had seen it thousands of times on Instagram or on blogs but it still gave us a real slap in the face.
No time to hang around because there were already people there, we headed towards the left mosque of the Taj Mahal. This is the best place to take a photo of the Taj Mahal. It’s a magnificent place and offers an incredible view of this building. Getting up early will have paid off because we are alone for our greatest pleasure.
After running around for more than an hour in order to see as much as possible without anyone, we can finally settle down in the gardens, enjoy and admire this wonder of the world. It’s still unreal for us to be in front of this marble giant. What a magical experience!
In addition to the basic ticket, we took the entrance to the mausoleum and we advise you not to miss it because it is the main building of the Taj Mahal. Its interior is splendid but we could not take a photo because it is prohibited.
The must-see monuments in Agra
Agra is the city where the Taj Mahal is located but there is not only that to do when you visit this city. It is a city rich in history and offers many other wonders to explore. We recommend at least 2 to 3 days on site to take the time to understand this part of India.
The Red Fort of Agra
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Red Fort of Agra is the largest fort in India. Built in the 16th century by the Mughals, it served as a landmark and stronghold. Made up of several gardens and numerous palaces, it is magnificent and offers a fantastic view of the Taj Mahal.
Agra Red Fort is open every day except Monday. You have to pay 500 INR (5.90 euros) per person but entry is free for children under 15 years old.
The baby Taj
As its name suggests, it is a replica of its big brother, the Taj Mahal, but much smaller. Historians present it as the draft of the Taj Mahal. However, despite its size, it remains impressive in detail. It’s a beautiful place outside the city that we 100% recommend.
This monument is the cheapest of all and honestly it is one of the most beautiful. For us, it is a mistake not to visit it. Entrance costs only 310 INR (3.50 euros) per person. Children under 15 do not pay admission. Finally, it is open Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to midnight.
The different points of view of the Taj Mahal
There are many viewpoints on the Taj Mahal that will allow you to see it from a new perspective and take more magnificent photos of this place.
- The most famous
- The Agha Khan Tower: this is the best-known spot for admiring the sunset. Unfortunately, you have to pay for it (5 euros for a photo) and the place is not very pretty. We advise you to go your own way.
- The River Park: located opposite the Taj Mahal on the other bank of Agra, it is the best place to be quiet and admire the Taj Mahal in complete serenity. But it’s also a paying place. Entrance is expensive and it is often full of tourists.
- The Taj View Point ADA: it is located right in front of the River Park, it is much cheaper and there are benches to sit on which overlook the Yamuna River and the Taj Mahal. This is the best place of the 3 to admire the Taj Mahal.
Where to sleep at the Taj Mahal?
The city of Agra offers a good number of accommodations that will meet your expectations. But the best hotel of our entire trip to India is located here. This is very special accommodation, well above what you can find in India. Its name is Coral Tree Homestay.
The rooms are spacious, clean and have all the necessary equipment. Hot water is available (sometimes rare in India) and there is excellent Wi-Fi. The interesting point is that the hotel offers a restaurant with local specialties. In addition to this, the hotel works with local artisans for all their products, furniture, food, soaps… In short, you will have understood, this accommodation is perfect for spending several nights in this wonderful city.
Going to the Taj Mahal?
You should know that Agra and the Taj Mahal are located in a remote part of India. However, there are many means of transport that serve it and you will have no problem accessing them. Just ask any Indian you want to see the Taj Mahal and they will tell you how to do it.
We have written an article on how to travel in India which explains in detail how to get around this country. You can find it right here if you want more details.
In conclusion, visiting the Taj Mahal is an incredible experience that you should not miss during your trip to India. We are writing this article several months after our visit to the Taj Mahal and yet, we are still under the spell of this place.
Until you have visited this wonder of the world, it is difficult to understand its impact. We now understand why it is one of the most beautiful monuments that our land has. We sincerely hope that we have made you want to go and discover it. If you have any questions about this article, please leave a comment or message us on Instagram and check our page for more information –India Travel Guide. We will be happy to help you.
See you soon on the website !