Are you planning a trip to India and need a guide to spending one day at the Taj Mahal? Use these Taj Mahal tips to plan your visit to one of the most famous buildings in the world!
This travel guide is going to help you quite a lot with basic concerns that first-timers have when coming to India and are planning a trip to the Taj Mahal, which can feel a bit overwhelming at first!
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Good to Know: This guide to the Taj Mahal for first-timers comes to us from a Local Contributor from the area who wishes to remain anonymous but hopes you have a wonderful time in their country!
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Essential Taj Mahal Tips for First-Timers
Make sure you come to India prepared to visit the Taj Mahal, a place that should be on everyone’s India Bucket List!
How to Get to the Taj Mahal
It has a beautiful history and a majestic sight. And it is even easier to get to than you might think!
You may start your journey through Air India Express Booking and land directly to the capital of New Delhi! This way you will have enough time to rest and start your exploration excitedly.
Most Taj Mahal visitors start their trip to New Delhi.
New Delhi is well served by European and American international airlines and is a global metropolis with many sights and lodging choices.
The Taj Mahal is most commonly visited as a day trip from Delhi.
Agra is well connected by rail. The main railway station is Agra Cantt.
High-speed Shatabdi Express services operate from Delhi, Varanasi, and cities in Rajasthan.
The Taj Mahal – A Historical Background
Here is a brief historical background of the Taj Mahal and how it was built.
The Taj Mahal is a symbol of love and is considered to be called like this after the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan commanded to build the mausoleum in the loving memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal.
When his wife Mumtaz Mahal died all of a sudden during the birth of her 14th child.
The marble and stones that were used in the building were semi-precious and some rare ones as well.
It was built after 20 years of her death and like, you can say it took 20 years for this building to be ready.
And then afterward it became one of the seven wonders of the world.
Beware that Agra is Expensive Compared to Other Parts of India
Here is one of the first tips for your travel guide that doesn’t buy anything from Agra.
The shops here are mostly tourist traps and they sell quite expensive things compared to places nearby like New Dehli.
If you are in Agra just try to wander around and explore the place and visit the Taj Mahal because there are not many other places to visit in Agra besides it.
There are also some restaurants and food stands near the Taj Mahal but they are expensive and don’t have the best atmosphere.
I personally find them highly unpleasant because of the constant harassment by touts.
So try to go after taking your meals at the hotel where you are staying.
Wear Good Shoes Because You have to Visit The Taj Mahal On Foot
There are not any car or cab services around the Taj Mahal that can take you up close to the Taj Mahal.
It is really not allowed and moreover, there is no space because of the crowd. So you have to take the route on foot.
However, this walk is amazing. There’s nothing like arriving at the Taj Mahal!
You should wear some easy and light wear shoes which can allow you to walk for longer if needed.
I recommend wearing casual footwear/shoes so you won’t be tired at the end of your long day.
You can also stroll around the area and take pictures but stay aware of your surroundings.
There’s about a 10-minute walk from the main car parking area if you are coming in the cab or your own vehicle at the Western Gate to the Taj Mahal.
You can take a rickshaw or tuk-tuks, but try to negotiate for the sake of your wallet, otherwise, you will get monstrously ripped off.
How Much Does it Cost to Visit the Taj Mahal: Entrance Fees
Yes, there is going to be an entrance cost for visiting the Taj Mahal and it will be different for locals than foreign tourists.
For foreigners, the tickets cost INR 1050 with an additional NR 200 to see the main mausoleum. This equals about $17 for the ticket that includes the mausoleum.
For Indians, the cost is INR 45 with an additional INR 200 to see the main mausoleum.
All children, foreign and local, below the age of fifteen are free.
Like many other countries where tourism is high, they do charge quite a lot on the most visited sites, and this way they earn money for the maintenance of the site and support their economy.
How to Get into the Taj Mahal
The Southern Gate, the Eastern Gate, and the Western gate are the principal entrance gates of the Taj Mahal. Separate lines for foreign travelers and local travelers are available at each entrance.
East Gate: tickets are available for one hour before dawn until 45 minutes before sunset.
The West Gate: this is the primary entrance of the Taj Mahal, facing the city of Agra.
It is also frequently the busiest during the day, however, it is a wonderful option if you’re intending to visit at sunrise.
You can get tickets here starting one hour before dawn.
The South Gate: This gate is located near the main market, which means it can be crowded because of the customers or sellers.
One drawback to the South Gate is that it opens at 8 o’clock in the morning so if you have planned to visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise, you won’t be able to do that from this gate.
Visiting the Taj Mahal on a Budget
If you are visiting the Taj Mahal on a budget, there are a few ways to save some money.
You can even enjoy street food within a suitable budget and at many affordable and cheap rates.
You may save more money if you are a well-versed India traveler. Going solo, traveling slow, and visiting on your own are ways to save some money.
On the other hand, a planned tour can make your day feel much easier to plan, so its up to you whether to save money here or to splurge on a guided Taj Mahal tour.
It might not be as expensive as you think!
What Is The Best Time To Visit The Taj Mahal?
This might be the best question because the crowd at the Taj Mahal can be overwhelming sometimes and for foreign visitors, it is not easy to predict the best and suitable times to visit.
I recommend getting up a little bit early in the morning and reaching there around 6 am. Like sunrise at Angkor Wat, the Taj Mahal is just special in the early morning.
Sometimes the crowd is huge too but you can try your luck and if you want you can hire a tour guide because they have their own tactics to avoid the long waiting line for entry and you can get the access easily and early.
Another trick is to buy a Skip-the-Line Ticket for the Taj Mahal ahead of time so that you won’t get stuck in the crowd trying to get in.
Though the sun rising view is majestic in the Taj Mahal tomb, many people reach there early just for the view. So if you are staying in Agra you can try this too.
Each day, the Taj Mahal is open from 30 minutes before dawn up to 30 minutes prior to sunset.
Be careful! As I already said, a Skip-the-Line Ticket is worth it. If you stay in Agra, the driver can wait for you at your hotel and organize a cab or Tuk Tuk to reach the place.
What to Bring with You to the Taj Mahal – Just Necessities!
If you are visiting the Taj Mahal for the first time then this tip is for you.
Do not bring the food because no food is allowed inside the Taj Mahal.
Make sure to bring your phone, camera, sunscreen, wallet, ID, and other basic necessities. However, don’t pack a lot that you won’t need. Note that photos are not allowed inside the Taj Mahal itself.
Try to be aware of these tips when entering the Taj Mahal. You don’t want to end up stuck at security instead of viewing the magnificent sunrise!
The Best Taj Mahal Photo Spots
You might be wondering about the perfect picture at the Taj Mahal as the whole structure is in white marbled color and you are not allowed to capture the inside of the tomb.
So what could be the best place to capture travel memories?
The best pose can be the landscape of the building and you can choose to wear some dark and bright loud colors so this way your selfie with the white sparkly background can be perfect to go with.
You can also get creative and look for ways to get more special pictures together.
How Long Should You Spend At The Taj Mahal?
The new time limit for the visit of the Taj Mahal by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee is established as a precaution to prevent overpopulation and damage.
The extra fee of the initial ticket price will be payable for those staying longer than 3 hours. The number of visitors is likewise limited to 40 thousand daily.
If you plan to stay in Agra for a few days then you can visit the Taj Mahal multiple times for a brief time.
This way you can visit it at different times of the day like evening view, morning view or maybe rainy view.
Plus if you are not planning to stay in Agra then it’s also suitable to spend around 2 to 3 hours in the Taj Mahal, which is quite enough for one person to explore the whole place.
What To Wear When Visiting The Taj Mahal?
Here I would recommend wearing some traditional dresses as the locals wear. If you want to wear a traditional Indian Sari and can do it respectfully, then this is one option.
Obviously, you can wear any other thing if you want to but wearing a traditional sort of dress can actually save you from getting into the tourist traps and you may avoid unnecessary attention too.
You can wear colorful loud and bright colors which can be contrasted in front of the Taj Mahal.
Besides the color and all stuff, dressing depends on the season as well.
If you are visiting India in summer then obviously you need to wear light clothing because sometimes the temperature gets high (unexpectedly high).
So it’s always better to get a glimpse at the temperature before leaving for the day.
Winter is the same – unpredictable. Sometimes it is very cold and chilly outside or sometimes maybe not too much cold so you can decide what to wear that day.
Pack layers just in case the weather changes.
Safety Travel Tips for Taj Mahal
There is no smoking or alcohol use at the Taj Mahal.
Try to be aware of guides and tourists around the site, though the travel guides are somewhat very helpful. However, there are also some fake guides too.
Make sure to behave in a way where you don’t stick out. Keep your money safely tucked away.
I carry the Pacsafe Citysafe backpack, which is especially great for tourist destinations. It has many anti-theft features designed to deter pickpockets and RFID technology to keep your credit card digits safe.
5 Things You Need to Pack for India
The Lonely Planet India guidebook. It can be kind of a pain to find the major guidebooks once you land, or you’ll find them overpriced. I always like to pick mine up ahead of time.
An Unlocked Cell Phone so that you can use a local sim card while here to help navigate public transportation and when you’re on the road.
Backup Charging Bank for your cell phone since you’ll be using it as a camera, GPS system, and general travel genie.
A Waterproof Passport Holder so that if something happens when you are near the water, your passport and important IDs don’t get wet.
I’ve seen people denied boarding on flights due to wet passports, and you can technically not be allowed to go over the border.
A Great Day Bag so you can carry what you need with you (like your camera, snacks, water, sunscreen, cash, etc).
My current favorite is the Pacsafe Citysafe, which is especially great for India because it has many anti-theft features designed to deter pickpockets.
It also transitions to a night bag more easily and won’t embarrass you if you go to dinner directly after sightseeing all day.
More India Travel Resources
Here are more resources to help you plan your trip to India.
India Country Guides
To get excited before your trip, check out this guide to the Best Bollywood Travel Movies.
To help you decide what to buy in India, check out this Indian souvenirs guide.
Headed to Mumbai? Enjoy these funny puns and jokes about Mumbai.
Agra & Taj Mahal Guides
India is Included in These Round-Ups
Don’t Forget about Travel Insurance!
Whenever I go on a trip, I always make sure to get travel insurance!
The company World Nomads is the travel insurance company I always look to first, and I happily recommend them!
I always make sure to get travel insurance whenever I’m going to be over one hundred miles from home, in large cities where tourists can be the target of pickpockets, and anytime I’ll be doing outdoor adventure or beach activities.
It makes my life easier knowing if something should happen, I’ll be able to take care of it!