Tips on Visiting Taj Mahal Agra – I believe that most of people in this world know Taj Mahal, one of UNESCO world heritage buildings. This is a monument of love which was built by Shah Janan to commemorate his late wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who passed away after delivered their 14th child. She was his favorite wife among his nine wives.
This beautiful white marble landmark was built in Agra district, India, right on the bank of Yamuna River. The construction of this complex was started in 1632 AD and completed in 1648 AD. It consist of the mausoleum of Mumtaz Mahal (later the King was buried next to her), the mosque, guest house, the main gateway and the gardens. Total area of this complex is 17 hectares.
I had opportunity to visit Taj Mahal on end of January 2019. I should admit that this building is really beautiful. No doubt! It seems that the architecture, carvings and calligraphy were the greatest one at that era. I believe those who travel to India for the first time will put Taj Mahal on their itinerary. But yeah, it is the way it should be.
Going to Taj Mahal, you can either land in Jaipur or New Delhi airport; and after that you can hit the road by car to Agra. The journey will take about 4-5 hours depending on the traffic. The earlier you go, the less traffic you will encounter. Therefore, do not be surprised with some bottlenecks once you entered Agra.
I went to Taj Mahal on Sunday and it was too crowded. Vikas Sharma, a local guide from Jaipur led our group so we knew how to deal with the crowd. Luckily, the management separates the line between local and foreigners from ticket counter to the ticket checking area. The line for foreigners was quite empty, for instant, we could enter the property faster.
The ticket price between local and foreigner is different as well. For local, they pay INR 250 while foreigner needs to pay INR 1,100 (USD 15.5) . If you wanted to enter the mausoleum, the beautiful white marble building, you need to pay an additional INR 200 (USD 3). Is it worth? Yes, it is especially for first timer like me.
You need at least 3 (three) hours at this complex to explore its beauty. We supposed to take pictures from its terrace to get the very nice angle of Taj Mahal but we were rushing to go to Agra Fort. That was pity as we did not have enough time since we left the hotel very late.
Here are some tips on visiting Taj Mahal Agra to get the better experience than mine :
The best time to visit this monument.
The opening hours of Taj Mahal is 06:00 AM to 07:00 PM. It is also open at night on 2 (two) days before and after every full moon which is at 08:30 PM – 12:30 AM. If you drove from New Delhi or Jaipur, you should leave at dawn so you can reach this complex in the early morning. The line will not be very long and the heat will be as bad. The best time to visit Taj Mahal is early morning.
Taj Mahal is closed for prayers on Fridays. Similarly, do not come on weekends and public holidays as Taj Mahal will be really crowded. Seems that even local loves to visit.
Attire to wear
India is subtropical. Mild on winter but very hot and dry on summer. If you planned to visit Agra on December to March, the temperature will be around 7-25 Celsius (44 – 82 Fahrenheit). Wear a light jacket if you planned to go outside in the morning or night. The best time to visit india is on October – April when the weather is dry and cool. Summer, the hottest one will fall on June September. Wear casual and light clothes when you are in Agra on summer or dry season. It sometimes become very hot.
If you planned to visit temples, mosques or other religion related places, please dress appropriately. I suggest you to bring pashmina or shawls along, just in case you need to cover your head, especially for women.
Remember the gate you entered
In my experience, I had local guide to accompany the group. Unfortunately, he did not join us to go inside due to the long line for locals. The consequence was we had to remember in which gate, Vikas Sharma was waiting for us. If you rent car and the driver is waiting for you, remember the gate you entered is really important. However, you will not find him easily. For your information, Taj Mahal has 3 (three) gates which are west, east and south gates. The famous one is the south gate so the line at this gate is longer than others.
Pay attention on the signs and regulations in the property
All signs and information in Taj Mahal complex are bilingual. They provide information both in Hindi and English. Do not bring or wear any costume or props with words on it such as shawls with your community name on it. Food and gum are not allowed but you can bring water and hard candies. Tripods and selfie sticks are banned in Taj Mahal. Any of these things will need to be left at the security check area. You should pick them up back at this security check once you finish your tour.
Bring cash in local currency
All expenses you should be paid in Rupee, the India currency. The ticket counter only accept cash. Keep in mind if going in the morning, they might not have change if you do not have exact amount needed.
Taking pictures at Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal is very beautiful and visually attractive for taking pictures. You can take pictures at all areas of Taj Mahal except inside of the Mausoleum. Remember, do not bring either selfie stick or tripod. They are banned in Taj Mahal.
Accommodation to stay
If you do not want to wake up early or prefer to reach Taj Mahal in the early morning, you should stay in Agra. There are several recommended accommodation to stay in. It depends on your budget which one is the best to fit your budget. Go get one room though Booking.com or Agoda. They might surprise you with good rate.
Those are my tips based on my experience visiting Taj Mahal. Hope it helps you preparing your trip to Taj Mahal. Do not spend all day in Taj Mahal since a lot places to see in Agra.