Taj Mahal!! WOW… just a WOW!! It is beautiful, it is unique, it is precious, it is huge, it is the symbol of love, and it is one of the wonders of the world. Watching this giant white marble mausoleum change its colors from glowing golden to pinkish hue, to milky white over the time lapse in a day is truly magical. Taj Mahal is one of the universally admired masterpieces of UNESCO world heritage sites.
The Taj Mahal is considered as one of the most beautiful architectural sites ever created. This exquisite marble structure is a mausoleum proudly standing out on the right bank of Yamuna river in Agra. Agra is a big city in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India and is approximately 200 kilometers (125 miles) from Delhi, India.
The Taj Mahal was built in 1648 by Shah Jahan, a Mughal emperor, as a memorial to his wife. Today, it is listed as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World and is considered to be the greatest architectural achievement in the whole range of Indo-Islamic architecture.
Here, I am not going to write the great history behind this magnificent monument, instead I will try to showcase the beauty of the graceful Taj Mahal! These photos are from our most awaited visit to Taj Mahal on August 12th of 2015.
Quick Facts and Tips
- Best time to Visit: Though Taj Mahal can be visited at any time of year and at any time of day, early summer months in India (March to June) are the best time to visit
- October to March: Pleasant weather, but expect big crowds and high prices. Be prepared for foggy mornings in December to January.
- July to September: Humid and hot, expect rain, but less expensive.
- Fly Into: Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi. Agra can be visited on a day trip from Delhi by taxi, bus, train or air.
- By Taxi: 3 to 5 hours, flexible, private, comfortable, hassle free, but expensive. You can ask for a rental car or taxi from your stay in Delhi
- By Bus: 3 to 5 hours, shared ride, but less expensive. The pick up points are mainly in north and northwest Delhi like Mori Gate, Kashmiri Gate, Akshardham Temple, Anand Vihar ISBT, and New Ashok Nagar. The drop off points in Agra are Agra Bypass, Rohit Cold Storage in Kuberpur, Bihari Ji Family Restaurant in Kuberpur, Agra Toll Plaza and Agra Fort which are around 10-15 kilometers from Taj Mahal. You can book a bus ticket here.
- By Train: 2 hours, comfortable, most popular and less expensive ride. You need to catch a train from New Delhi Railway Station (NDLS) near Paharganj to Agra Cantonment (AGC). Upon arriving at the Agra Train Station, you can get a prepaid taxi or rickshaw to reach Taj Mahal which is about 20 mins drive from Agra Railway Station.
- By Air: 1 hour, but expensive. Taking a flight from Delhi to Agra is the easiest way when compared to other major cities in India including the metros like Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru Chennai, and Hyderabad as they do not have direct flights to Agra.
- If you plan to reach Agra by Bus, Train or Air, make use of the 24-hour official prepaid auto rickshaw and taxi booths just outside the bus stand, railway station, and airport to reach your hotel.
- It’s warm and humid, so wear light and loose clothes. There is no dress code but it is a good idea to wear something that covers your knees and shoulders. Cotton Kurtis, Salwars, Long Skirts, Maxi dresses, Cotton Shirts, Pants, T-shirts, Blouses, and comfortable footwears.
- A one or two night stay is enough to explore Taj Mahal and Agra city. There are a number of hotels, resorts, guesthouses, homestays, and serviced apartments in Agra. Some hotels even offer the best views of Taj Mahal. Book hotels wisely that best suits your budget, your taste of food, and travel distance. You can reach the Taj Mahal by hiring a cab or a rickshaw from your hotel.
- Opening Hours:
- Open year around from 6am to 7pm (30 mins before sunrise and 30 mins after sunset) and Fridays remain closed.
- Opens for night viewing from every 2 days before full moon day to 2 days after full moon days from 8:30 pm until 12:30 am. Night viewing hours are suspended during the holy month of Ramdan.
- Entrance Fee
- Indians: Around 50 rupees
- Foreigners: Around 1,100 rupees that includes a water bottle, shoe covers, a tourist map of Agra and a golf cart or bus service to the entry gate.
- Children under 15: Free
- It is better to have exact change to buy entrance tickets.
- Tickets can be purchased at ticket booths near the entry gates or online at this website.
- Try to visit the Taj Mahal during Sunrise. Undoubtedly it is the best time of the day for the best lighting, thinner crowds, and to avoid midday heat. East side of the monument has the best lighting in the early morning.
- Arrive early to the ticket booth. The actual entrance to the Taj is about 1km from the ticket booth. You can walk on the well maintained path or you can hire rickshaws. Wheelchair services are available.
- Make sure you choose the right entrance gate among the East, West, and South Gates. The West gate is the main gate which means more crowd; the South gate is the least used gate, so less crowded but opens after 8am and is near to the market; and the East gate is very close to the number of hotels.
- Avoid visiting on weekends and public holidays
- Everyone needs to go through a security check before entering the entrance gate. Food, smoking products, chargers, tripods, and large bags are not allowed. There are lockers available at the entrance.
- Eating and smoking is strictly prohibited inside Taj Mahal. Also no photography inside the main mausoleum
- Walking paths are clean, paved and well maintained. Wear comfortable footwear. Note that you may have to take off your shoes or wear provided disposable shoe covers while entering the mausoleum.
- Carry enough water.
- Carry sunglasses and a hat and don’t forget to apply sunscreen.
- Request a guide if you want to know the history and related stories about Taj Mahal. You can check with your hotel for a tour guide too.
- Official website http://www.tajmahal.gov.in/.
- Relish and embrace the beauty of Taj Mahal. Take a relaxing walk around the Taj Mahal complex that includes passing through the huge gateway of Taj Mahal – Great Gate (Darwaza-i rauza), the beautiful large garden (Charbagh), a reflecting long pool, a red sandstone Jawab Masjid mosque, and exquisite white marble mausoleum, Taj Mahal.
- Take as many pictures as you can from all angles.