How to Visit the Taj Mahal, Agra, India

by | Last updated Jan 16, 2022 | Indian Subcontinent LWP, Live Work Play Travel

Taj Mahal in the morning (from a distance)


The Taj Mahal in India is the epitome of monumental architecture and love and something I have wanted to see for a very long time. Nestled beside the beautiful Yamuna River in Agra, it is among the Wonders of the World today with UNESCO declaring it a World Heritage Site. Above all this fame, there is the experience of visiting it in person. It is breathtaking to behold in real life. Mughal poets like Kalim have compared it to a piece of heaven that can be mistaken for a cloud. It is said that even the great Yamuna River diverted its course to make space for the Taj Mahal. To see this exotic marble monument is like seeing a dream come true and here is how to visit the Taj Mahal for yourself.


Why is the Taj Mahal so Special? A Brief History.


What makes the Taj Mahal so special is the rosy story behind it. ‘Taj’ means crown and ‘Mahal’ means palace in Urdu so it’s a crown palace. It was built over four hundred years ago in the 1600s by the great Mughal ruler of India, Shah Jahan for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Grieved by her untimely death, he built this beautiful mausoleum for her. He wanted her to lie in a place as beautiful as heaven on the Earth. Starting from 1631, it took two decades to build. Millions of dollars were spent on it and thousands of artisans were employed to turn it into the beautiful monument it is. Now it is the tomb of both of the royals and a symbol of eternal love. Ohhhh what a great story!


What to See at the Taj Mahal?


You will see a fine blend of Hindu and Mughal cultures in the Indo-Islamic architecture of the Taj Mahal. It holds perfect symmetry and uniform shapes. Both the indoors and outdoors are gorgeous and one-of-a-kind. The main dome stands on a marble platform. There are four Minarets at the corners. Inside you can see inlay work and traditional carvings. It houses several types of precious and semi-precious stones on the marble. There is a typical Mughal-style garden around it called the char bagh. And when visiting at the right time you will see the reflection of the Taj Mahal in the water of the moat. But I don’t want to spoil it too much as I’m sure you will make up your own mind of what parts of the Taj Mahal you want to see for yourself.

Tourists from all over the world throng to see the Taj Mahal every year. So where is the Taj Mahal and how do you get there?


Getting to the Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is in the North of India, in the city of Agra in Uttar Pradesh. It will depend on where you are coming from as to how to get there. Many arrive in India in the capital New Delhi, which is some 3-4 hours away from Agra. After spending some time in New Delhi usually the next stop for tourists is to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. To get to Agra from New Delhi, there are a number of options.

  • You can take a cab ride along the excellent Yamuna Expressway from New Delhi to Agra.
  • If using public transport. Take a bus to the Idgah bus stop or a train from Hazrat Nizamuddin Station to the Agra Cantt Station. The trains you can take are Shatabdi, Rajdhani, Taj Express and Palace on Wheels.
  • Fly to Agra Airport then travel to the Taj Mahal.
  • Take a tour. There are several travel agencies in New Delhi to arrange your visit or arrange it before you arrive. Check out these tours.

You can visit the Taj Mahal any time of year, however if you don’t like the heat avoid the summer rainy season. Best to visit the Taj Mahal from October, November to February. It is winter season during this time and the heat is tolerable. The Taj Mahal is open from 6 am in the morning to 5 pm in the evening. It is closed on Fridays. So you can visit during the daytime to get a good view of it. You can click pictures except inside the main mausoleum. You can hire photographers also. Drones are not allowed in and around here. It has 3 gates, West, East and the Southern Gate which is the exit gate.


Best time to See the Taj Mahal


The best time to see the Taj Mahal is early in the morning, sunrise in fact when the building changes colour as the sun rises. If you want to see this, plan to arrive at the East Gate by 5.30am as the ticket counter opens at 6am. I know it is early, but if you want to see it, you gotta do it? Check out the accommodation recommendations following in Agra. Staying in Agra will give you the best chance of being there this early however, you can visit the Taj Mahal all day. Just a note on taking photos: Outside, sure, snap away, but inside is a tomb and it’s disrespectful to take photographs of it. There are plenty of guards walking around to ensure you don’t sneak any pictures.


Getting your ticket to visit Taj Mahal

You will need a ticket to get into the Taj Mahal. As many people want to see it, queues can be long. The ticket counter opens an hour before its opening and closes 45 mins before the closing time. So make sure you get an early visit to avoid queues at the counter. There are different ticket lines, one for foreigners and one for locals.

You can also buy it online through the Archeological Survey of India. Tickets are free for children below 15 years of age. Just make sure you carry an ID card. For adults, Indian nationals pay Rs 40, SAARC and BIMTSEC pay Rs 540 per adult. Foreign nationals pay approximately Rs. 1200. If you want to see the actual mausoleum inside the Taj Mahal, you will need to pay Rs. 200 extra. Most tickets come with a water bottle and shoe coverings.

Apart from the regular day opening hours, there is a special night tour of the Taj Mahal. The structure looks fantastic on a full moon night. It glistens under the moon and stars. The night tour happens 5 days a month on and around full moon nights except for Friday. There are group tours from 8:30 pm till midnight. You can check the next date for this on the Taj Mahal tourism website.

You can buy a ticket in advance through GetYourGuide.


How long to spend at the Taj Mahal


The time you spend at the Taj Mahal will depend on how long it takes you to walk around and enjoy all it has to offer. Overall you can expect to spend about half a day here, though some spend longer and some shorter.


What NOT to bring to the Taj Mahal


Bring as little as possible on your visit to the Taj Mahal, a lot of things such as eating and smoking are strictly prohibited inside Taj Mahal. As are tripods and electric goods (except your camera) so check all the things first that cannot be taken, otherwise it will be taken off you. Mobile phones are allowed but must be kept switched off or on silent mode. Only small handbags are allowed in with essential items, so don’t take that big daypack with your nibbles for the day.


Places to visit near Taj Mahal in Agra


Depending how much time you have in Agra, there are other things to see and do apart from visiting the Taj Mahal. You can hire a bike, prepaid taxi or tempo or auto-rickshaw and visit the gorgeous red Agra Fort about 2-3 km away. Opposite this is the Jama Masjid, the largest Mosque built by the Mughals in India. Go a little further and see the Fatehpur Sikri, a city built by the Great Akbar, the famous Mughal Emperor of India. Other close by notable places are the Akbar’s Tomb, Mehtab Bagh, Soami Bagh, Guru ka Taal Gurudwara, and  Itimad-ud-daula’s Tomb.

Perhaps you would like to try some traditional Indian food and sweets. After visiting the Taj Mahal, you can head to a nearby hotel to try some Bedai or Muglai food. Do not forget the famous Agra ka Petha dessert. If you want to indulge in street food, you can go to the Chaat Gali in Sadar Bazar of Agra. To try Indian sweets, visit Deviram sweets of Agra which is a famous place.


Accommodation in Agra and New Delhi


If you want to see the Taj Mahal at sunrise stay in Agra, it has some great accommodation options. Check these out.

A great hostel in Agra is the Big Brother Hostel Agra. Close to the East Gate of Taj Mahal it offers great services for your visit to Agra. Check out pricing and availability of Big Brother Hostel Agra here.

Coral House Homestay by the Taj, only 700m from Taj Mahal. It provides all the conveniences required include air conditioning, private bathroom, kettle in your room, free wifi and even bikes so you can get around Agra. Check out pricing and availability of Coral House Homestay here.

The Coral Tree Boutique Homestay is another accommodation option some 700m from Taj Mahal. Offering the services you need like air conditioning and private bathrooms. Check out pricing and availability of The Coral Tree Boutique Homestay here.

For a splurge, check out the Radisson Hotel Agra. Located 2km away from Taj Mahal the Radisson Hotel Agra offers everything a hotel can offer including an outdoor pool, restaurant, minibar in your room, private bathroom and great views over Agra. Check out pricing and availability of Radisson Hotel Agra here.

For more options, have a look on the map.

Final thoughts


Now that you have this information, you are all set to visit the world-famous Taj Mahal. The more you indulge in its beauty and learn about its history, the more amazed it will leave you. So book the tickets and see for yourself. Get ready to witness the incredible Taj Mahal. Have you been to the Taj Mahal? I’d love to hear your experience in the comments below.


Taj Mahal PIN.

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Sharyn McCullum – Travel Writer / Blogger, Remote On-line Worker, sometime Digital Nomad and Travel, Live and Work Abroad Expert. Is a chocoholic, coffee connoisseur and lover of ’80s music. Been travelling all her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. Lived in London 4 years on a working holiday. Has holidayed in Hawaii over 15 times and currently calls Melbourne, Australia home. Is inspiring others to get the live work play travel lifestyle with this blog. Read more about Sharyn here.


  1. Alma

    Taj Mahal has been on my bucket list for ages! I would love to see the architecture and garden from close up, but it is great seeing it through your eyes.

  2. Nicola Lavin

    It’s a dream of mine to visit the Taj Mahal some day. Such a beautifully written piece.

  3. Lisa

    The Taj Mahal is certainly on my bucket list! Thanks for sharing your tips and tricks to visiting this popular travel destination

  4. Hannah

    This guide is so handy! I have wanted to visit the Taj Mahal for so long and I really hope to get there one day! I had no idea you could only take small bags inside, I would have definitely arrived with a huge rucksack! Thanks for all the useful information!

  5. Yvonne

    The recommendations of where to stay and what not to bring are so helpful! Thank you!

    • Sharyn McCullum

      Glad you think so cause I thought so too which is why I included this info. Agra is more than just the Taj Mahal so staying there is a great option.

  6. Annie

    Wow, this was great information! I can’t wait to finally get to the Taj Mahal!

    • Sharyn McCullum

      It is very impressive – I hope you finally get to the Taj Mahal.

  7. Jo

    Beautiful! And a dream of mine to see this! If you take a private tour, do you get any special treatment?

  8. Jeanine

    This is great information, so comprehensive on all you need to know when visiting the Taj Mahal… thank you

  9. Yasmine

    I would love to see the Taj Mahal one day. I never realised it meant crown palace, that’s really interesting.

  10. Travelling Tam

    The Taj Mahal is such a bucket list destination so this is a useful guide for the day I make it 🙂

  11. Marga

    I travelled from Varanassi to Agra by bus and it was easy to get to. The 6am start was well worth it too. Magical memories and your guide is great!


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