Top tips for visiting the Taj Mahal


When most people think of India, they think of the Taj Mahal and rightly so, it is India’s most recognised monument. If you’re planning to visit India soon, then you’ll want to have a read of today’s post and it is full of my tips for visiting the Taj Mahal while you’re in the South Asian country!

Top tips for visiting the Taj Mahal

Visiting the Taj Mahal was without a doubt the highlight of my trip to India. I don’t normally get excited over buildings but how can you not get excited about the Taj Mahal!?

For as long as I can remember I’ve been entranced by the massive domes, the curved archways and the way the sun shimmers off the white marble.

If you’re travelling to India and you’re thinking about skipping the Taj Mahal because, let’s face it, we’ve all seen a million pictures of it already, I strongly recommend you reconsider. There is such a beautiful and magical atmosphere and photos really can’t do this incredible building justice.

Like most things in India, visiting the Taj Mahal isn’t always as simple as you might imagine, which is why I’ve put together today’s post, full of all of my tips for visiting the Taj Mahal.

the travel hack at the taj mahal

Taj Mahal through an arch


Taj Mahal in India

Taj Mahal iroof

Taj Mahal Travel Tips: The history of the Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a monument to his fourth wife who died after giving birth to their 14th child.

The Emperor wanted the Taj Mahal to be 100% marble but due to the weight it had to be made from brick and clad in the stunning white marble which comes from Varanassi.

Building began in 1631 and took 20 years.

Soon after the mausoleum was completed, Shah Jahan’s son had his father imprisoned, presumably because he spent so much of their money building the Taj Mahal.

Shah Jahan was placed in the Red Fort where he had a view over the Taj Mahal and stared at it for the rest of his days as he mourned for his wife.

It is said that he cried so much while staring at the Taj Mahal hat he eventually went blind because of all the tears and the building is thought to be one of the most romantic symbols of love in the world.

I don’t know how true this is but whoever let the truth stand in the way of a tragically romantic story?

The tombs of the Emperor and his wife are in an underground crypt but replica tombs can be visited inside.

There are three other incredible buildings surrounding the Taj Mahal and I couldn’t help but feel a bit sorry for them. If they stood on their own I’m sure they would be gawped at by tourists but when stood next to the Taj Mahal they are sadly dwarfed by its beauty.

The mosque, however, does provide the perfect frame for taking pictures of the Taj Mahal.

The Travel Hack The Taj Mahal

view over the gardens from the Taj Mahal

other building at Taj Mahal

view outside the taj mahal

tourists outside the Taj Mahal

Man outside the Taj Mahal

Inside the Taj Mahal


Top Tips for visiting the Taj Mahal

  • My first Taj Mahal travel tip is to get there as early as possible. The tourist buses start rolling it at around 9am so anything before then is best to avoid the crowds. I arrived at 6.15am in time for the gates opening at 6.30. Even at 6am there was a queue!
  • Make the most of the chai tea sellers who walk up and down the queue.
  • The ticket to get in costs 750 rupees for foreigners which is about £9.00(prices and currency conversion from April 2013).
  • You’re divided into queues of men and women because you’re searched when you enter. Don’t take any lighters or anything sharp, flammable or any food as it’ll delay you getting in and may be taken from you.
  • They say that food and metal objects will be taken off you at security. In reality, I don’t think they’re that strict but it’s best it’s best to avoid having them to get through security quickly and easily.
  • I wish that I could give you a Taj Mahal travel tip that would tell you that you could go at some time in the day and avoid the crowds. In reality, whatever time you go, it will be crowded so you need patience to get a good photo without someone standing in the way. Don’t give up, they’ll move eventually!
  • To get ‘the money shot’ of the Taj Mahal, you need to join an informal queue by the edge of the pond and place your camera on the ground. This will ensure you get the water and a great shot of the whole building and it will also be straight and without any people in the way. Take as many pictures as you possibly can before the snappy happy tourists behind you start to get rowdy.
  • For a second chance to see the Taj Mahal, head to the gardens across the river. You only pay 100 rupees to enter and I went at sunset for a crowd-free Taj experience.

There you have it, my tips for visiting the Taj Mahal. If you’d like an even easier and stress-free experience then check out these affordable Taj Mahal tours with GetYourGuide. I’m a bit fan of GetYourGuide because you can easily book tours from home and know your trip is organised for you.


Read more about my India travel tips here.

  1. The Guy 8 years ago

    Great tips and photos Monica. From what I remember of my visit the story is very much true and this is one of the ultimate symbols of love by anyone in history.

    It is a stunning modern day wonder of the world and I agree it should be on the itinerary for any first time visit to India.

    • TheTravelHack 8 years ago

      It’s easy to forget about the story behind the gorgeous building but I love the fact that it has a romantic story behind it.

  2. […] See the article here: Top tips for visiting the Taj Mahal | The Travel Hack […]

  3. Beautiful photos! It was a great time of day for photography as well as avoiding the huge crowds, it seems. 🙂 Thanks for the great tips! Hopefully I’ll make it here one day.

    • TheTravelHack 8 years ago

      Hopefully you will, it’s definitely one for the bucket list!

  4. Hannah Wasielewski 8 years ago

    these are great tips! every super touristy destination like this has some secrets everyone should know. and i dont blame you for having it be the highlight of your india trip… machu picchu was the highlight of my Peru trip!

  5. Kirstine 7 years ago

    Great tips Monica! I’m heading to Delhi later this year for a wedding so will be making time to visit the Taj Mahal while I’m there. So excited! Did you travel there the morning you visited or the night before? I want to get there as early as possible but not sure if that means an overnight visit. Did you go with a tour group or by yourself?

  6. […] in India’ as this gets a lot of Google traffic. From this page they usually click through to my Top Tips for Visiting the Taj Mahal or How to survive sleeper trains in India or Taking an organized tour in India. From the tour post […]

  7. Malou 6 years ago

    Hi Monica!
    I just came across your blog and I’m absorbing as much as I can about India because I’m heading there in September with a friend! I esp liked your post on what to pack, it was great!
    With regards to these tips, I’m curious about the ‘second chance to see the Taj Mahal’ and heading to the gardens across the river. Is this easy to get to? Can you just walk across to this area? As excited as I am to see the Taj Mahal, I’m not looking forward to the crowds so I’m excited to hear about this tip specifically! Thanks 🙂

    • TheTravelHack 6 years ago

      Hi Malou. Yes, we just took a taxi there. I think we asked our hotel receptionist to book the taxi for us and he knew exactly the place we were talking about. There were taxis handing around the area for when we wanted to come home too. I can’t remember exactly what it’s called but it’s well know.
      Have a great trip! The crowds in the Taj Mahal are worth it 🙂

  8. […] My top tips for visiting the Taj Mahal – A must read if you plan to visit […]

  9. Amanda Dawes 6 years ago

    Loving your blogs! I’m off to India next year and your advice has been wonderful!

  10. Dela 6 years ago

    Hi Monica! I understand that this might be an antiquated post but it is still so helpful and needed! Quick questions: do you have a recommended entrance gate to the Taj Mahal? It looks like the northern gate is beautiful, but does it really matter? Also, do I purchase tickets to see the Taj in advance or do I just go to the ticket booth on the actual day? And lastly, the other sites in Agra like the Red Fort, are they near by? Is there a way to see the main Agra attractions in one day? Thank you so much!

    • TheTravelHack 6 years ago

      Hi Dela,

      I don’t think it matters at all which gate you use. You can buy tickets on the day – I’d get there early before the gates open and get someone to stand in the queue while someone else goes and gets tickets. Your hotel may be able to provide you with tickets too though.

      The Red Fort isn’t too far away. If you’ve only got one day and you want to see everything then I’d recommend booking a day tour. This one with Urban Adventures looks pretty good –

      Alternatively, you could book one through your hotel as they almost always have tours on offer. Or you could find a taxi driver and hire him for an entire day. Negotiate a rate for the whole day and ask to be taken to certain sights. If you get a good driver then this can be great as you’ll get to know each other and you can do everything at your own pace. But there’s always the risk you won’t find a good driver.

      Have a great time!

      • Janet 5 years ago

        Thank you for your post

      • Janet 5 years ago

        Visiting October 2017
        Thank you for valuable info x

  11. Nomadic Foot 5 years ago

    such a beautiful description of Taj Mahal. I have been here almost 100 times as a tour manager with my groups and its still attracts me. Its really deserve to be in wonder of the world.

  12. […] Of course, the list had to start with the most famous sight in India. Unsurprisingly, it’s a busy and crowded tourist spot. The gates open at 6:30am, so most advice tells you to get there as early as possible. […]

  13. Yogesh keskar 4 years ago

    Visiting Jan 2018
    Thank you for valuable info

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