The Taj Mahal, one of the 7 wonders of the world. Each year, more than 1 million visitors from all over the world come to discover the white marble tomb enclosed in this immense mausoleum. On average, 10,000 to 15,000 people photograph the monument every day: it is not easy to feel free and flexible among these many tourists.
Do you want to prepare your visit to the Taj Mahal as well as possible?
Don’t panic, we’re here to help you with lots of Travel tips and advice!
THE HISTORY OF THE TAJ MAHAL IN A FEW WORDS
The Indians call it “The monument of love”.
This huge funerary mausoleum of white marble was built in 1631 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan on the tragic death of his third wife Mumtaz Mahal. To achieve this construction, he went in search of the best architect around the world.
Legend has it that at the end of the 22 years of construction, the emperor burned the eyes and cut off the hands of the architect and the foremen so that none could ever reproduce this architectural wonder at the crossroads of styles. Islamic, Iranian, Persian and Indian.
BEST PERIOD TO VISIT TAJ MAHAL
We visited the Taj Mahal in winter, at the end of December, and at this time it is still very cold in the morning (hat and gloves are welcome).
Info for girls who want to take photos with their most beautiful dress: I had to put leggings under my dress to face the chilly winter weather.
There is also a thick mist at sunrise that clothes the Taj Mahal. It depends on what you’re looking for, but we loved the mystical atmosphere that this mist brought.
In summer, temperatures in Agra are too high, season to avoid!
We also advise against the Diwali period (festival of lights) and the weeks that follow. Millions of firecrackers are released each year during these holidays. Many people faced a thick fog of sulfur during this period.
To have a pleasant climate and avoid this mist, we recommend spring: April, May, June or autumn: September, October and early November.
WHEN TO VISIT TAJ MAHAL? BEST TIME OF DAY
Please Note: Taj Mahal is closed on Friday!
The Taj Mahal opens 30 minutes before sunrise and closes 30 minutes after sunset.
If you are a photographer or if you want to have a special time with the Taj Mahal, the best time to avoid the crowds is at the opening, at 6:00 am.
At this time, people remain curious and respectful. You will be able to immortalize the sumptuous Taj Mahal without any worry and take your most beautiful photos. The photographers still let themselves pass in turn to take their shots.
When we arrived at 6:00 am, there weren’t many people. We could take our time to take the photos that made us dream.
The site fills up quickly, however, the crowd arrives in the morning. And many tourist buses and schools arrive around 10:00, making the site impassable.
It was a real crush for us. We advise you 100% to go to the Taj Mahal as soon as it opens at 6am for sunrise.
Unfortunately, we missed it for lack of organization (time and money). But we advise you to go and admire the Sunset at the Mehtab Bagh gardens.
To get there, go to the other side of the river and watch a wonderful sunset over the Taj Mahal. This moment will be magnificent, but one thing is certain: you will not be alone! You will enjoy this time with hundreds of other people.
Another free option may be to follow the road to the right of the gardens to see the Taj Mahal. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to pass, claiming that this passage was reserved for the military.
HOW TO ACCESS TAJ MAHAL
1. Three doors provide access to the Taj Mahal for visitors
2. The South Gate, the East Gate and the West Gate.
3. We entered through the east gate, which was the closest to our hotel.
4. The South door opens later than the others: 8h against 6h for the East and West doors.
5. It is not possible to buy tickets at the South gate.
6. You cannot access the doors of the Taj Mahal by taxi or tuk-tuk. Because petrol vehicles are prohibited within 1 km of them. You have the choice of taking a golf cart (many will be waiting for you) or walking there (the option we have chosen).
For us, it was an early wake up at 5:00 am for a departure from the hotel at 5:30 am and an arrival a little before 6:00 am at the Taj Mahal. Our hotel was only 30 minutes walk from the Taj Mahal. So we preferred to walk to the door to soak up the place.
BUY YOUR TICKET FOR TAJ MAHAL
You can buy your ticket directly at the entrance of the Taj Mahal: East or West gate. Be careful to line up at the ticket office before joining the queue to enter! Otherwise, you risk being redirected and losing precious time as soon as the doors open.
You can also buy your ticket online, this is the option we have chosen! We booked our tickets the day before in e-tickets on the internet for a price of 1050 Indian rupees (14 $ per person).
This is the easiest way to avoid queuing in the morning. We recommend that you use this site.
We recommend that you book your tickets online.
Tip: Once your payment is made, a notification informs you that you will receive your tickets by email within 4 to 5 hours. An email summary of your order with your transaction number (Transaction ID) is sent directly to you.
You can retrieve this number, return to the Taj Mahal website and in the “Resend Tickets” tab enter the monument. Your visit date, Transaction ID to receive a new email containing the link to download your tickets. (without having to wait 4 to 5 working hours).
New Indian government measure
India decided to increase the price of admission to the Taj Mahal in December 2018 to limit the influx of tourists, becoming too numerous (15,000 visitors each day on average) and thus preserve the site.
PROHIBITED AT TAJ MAHAL
1. Come and visit the lightest Taj Mahal possible!
2. It is forbidden to eat and drink at the Taj Mahal, only bottled water is allowed.
3. Drones, tripods, additional batteries are strictly prohibited inside the Taj Mahal.
4. The following are also prohibited: weapons, lighters, cigarettes, knives, magazines, helmets, all electronic equipment, batteries, pens, etc.
5. Backpacks and photo bags are prohibited, they must be left in the locker room.
6. Do not bring large bags or books inside the monument, this could extend your search time.
Tips: To store your things, we invite you to do like us and leave everything in your hotel room/guesthouse tightly locked.
For last-minute oversights, you have the left luggage option at the entrance of the Taj Mahal.
We recommend that you arrive light with a wallet and laptop in your pocket or in a small bag, a bottle of water and your camera around your neck.
THE BEAUTY OF TAJ MAHAL
After a few minutes of waiting at the East gate, we’re all excited to see the Taj Mahal in just a few minutes.
Then comes the stage of the search, with two separate lines: one for men and another for women. It is very important to know what you can or cannot bring to the Taj Mahal (see section on prohibitions above).
When we arrived at 6:00 am, the Taj Mahal was hidden behind a thick mist which made the atmosphere even more magical and enchanting. We stayed on the site until 12 noon, which allowed us to see the Taj Mahal in all its states: shyly hidden behind a magnificent mist, then gradually uncovering itself until it was revealed in broad daylight. blue sky and a blazing sun.
ONCE WE ARRIVED IN FRONT OF THE TAJMAHAL, EMOTIONS WERE THERE
Susan: “I had many prejudices about the Taj Mahal. We both curious and in a hurry to meet this wonder but perplexed by all the enthusiasm created around this monument.
The surprise when facing the Taj Mahal was huge. The emotion completely overwhelmed me. I felt something very strong and moving. “
Robert: “The immensity of the Taj Mahal and its perfect symmetry really impressed me. It is a must-see monument, an unforgettable visit. “
We advise you to arrive at the opening and stay there in the morning to experience the awakening, the changes in mood and color of the Taj Mahal. It’s something incredible to live, you really have to take your time on the spot to soak up the place.
You can also visit the main mausoleum with the marble tomb (beware, it is forbidden to take pictures inside). You cannot see the grave up close. The tomb is only a reconstruction. Inside, the many precious stones that adorned the room were looted. We have chosen not to visit this room and take advantage of the outdoor spaces for longer.
We had fun taking the Taj Mahal from all angles in photo and video. The Taj Mahal site is a real source of inspiration and awakens your creativity. The possibilities for angles and shots are endless. But to best optimize your time as a photographer, it is important to know the tips and key places so as not to waste time.
TAKE PICTURES AT TAJ MAHAL
To avoid the crowds and take your time in the best spots in the Taj Mahal, as soon as it opens at 6 a.m., we recommend that you quickly take a photo at the Great Gate and go directly to one of two mosques. It’s up to you to choose your location according to the exposure.
We went without hesitation to the mosque on the left, which presented the Taj Mahal with a wonderful sunrise in the background. For a big half hour we were alone in this mosque, it was completely crazy to experience the awakening of the Taj Mahal in such an intimate way.
To enter the mosques it is compulsory to take off your shoes. So don’t choose your best socks today. There are many pigeons present in mosques and therefore the droppings of pigeons are waiting for you!
Once inside the mosque, you will be able to have fun and juggle between the 3 different doors (front view for perfect symmetry, and its two profiles).
You can spend the morning in the mosques and around the mausoleum to enjoy the peace and take amazing photos.
When the site fills up and the crowd arrives around 10 a.m., the main photo spots are taken by storm. Now is a great time to stroll through the grounds and look for different and equally interesting perspectives. These green spaces with many small animals are very pleasant to relax and take a break away from the many tourists.
WHERE TO STAY TO VISIT TAJ MAHAL
We advise you to take a hotel near the Taj Mahal to spend your night before your visit. If you choose to come at the opening, it will be easier for you to be near the entrance. Our hotel was only 30 minutes walk from the East gate.
REMEMBER: TIPS AND ADVICE
1. Favor visits in Spring (April, May, June) and in Autumn (September, October, early November)
2. Arrive at Taj Mahal at 6 a.m. to admire the sunrise
3. Contemplate the Taj Mahal from across the river at Mehtab Bagh gardens for sunset
4. Buy an e-ticket online at the latest the day before your visit
5. Take only the necessary things: see the prohibitions at Taj Mahal
6. Take a hotel near the Taj Mahal. There is not much to visit in Agra outside of the Taj Mahal.
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