Tajmahal, the white mausoleum which is considered to be one of the seven wonders of the world is situated in the city of Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. It is said that Indian Emperor Shah Jahan got this monument constructed in the commemoration of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, whose untimely death left him shattered.
This grand monument is known for its large than life white marble construction, intricate detailing and so many hidden and unheard stories behind it.
Tajmahal was on our bucket list for long but somehow we couldn’t visit this tomb. You know as they say that there is sort of a curse on some places, No matter how many times you make plans to visit them it ultimately gets cancelled. Tajmahal, Agra was one such place for us.
As 2016 was approaching towards its end, we decide to end this year on a travel note & planned to take a tour of this epitome of Love on New Year’s Eve. We reached Agra on 3oth and set on to explore the structure on 31st. But the curse didn’t end here. There were more downers waiting for us. Our decision to tour over taj on new year’s eve turn out to be a huge mistake on our part since there was an unimaginable rush because of the holiday (saturday) and there was no place to set a foot even, Literally.
Moreover, In all the excitement to see ‘The Taj’ as it is fondly called I left my photo identity with my husband which is a must have for entry. Due to a long seperate queue (about 2 kilometers long) for men and women, me and my husband got separated. His phone wasn’t reachable because of god knows what reason. Leaving my spot at the endless queue to go look out for my husband could have sent me all the way back at the end.
Thankfully, I had a soft copy of my photo Id in my phone. I showed the same to the entry personnel over there and convinced them to let me in. Thankfully, They understood and allowed me to go. Inside, I was welcomed by a ‘mela’ of lakhs of people but the first look of this greater than life ivory white cenotaph made my annoyance go away. Ah! Taj I went through all this only because of you.
Meanwhile, I penned out this travel guide to help you make your journey to this epic memorial hassle free:-
1.How to reach?
Agra is a historic city situated in the state of Uttar-Pradesh, India. One can reach Agra via following:-
The nearest airport to Agra is Delhi airport. Delhi is the capital city of India and is connected to all the major airports of the world. After reaching Delhi one can take:-
a)Cab or taxi
Cab or private taxi could be hired from Delhi which will cost somewhere around INR 2000/- to 7000/- ($300 – $1000) depending upon the type of car hired. We personally recommend cabs as one could visit the nearby places like ‘Sikandra’, ‘Fatehpur Sikri’ and places like ‘Vrindavan’, ‘Mathura’ too which comes in the way to Agra.
About 70 trains run between Delhi to Agra with the fares ranging between INR 350 to INR 1500/- ($5 to $70). Average time – Three to four hour. Third AC, Second AC and first AC are the categories which one should choose for comfortable travel in train. Also, pre-book the train tickets and reach At least half an before the departure time. Check out the following link for train booking:-
Different Volvo buses run to and fro between Delhi and Agra every day. These are comfortable to travel in and take about 4-5 hours. Fares start from INR 350-INR 1200 (($5 to $70).
2.Best time to Visit
The best time to visit Tajmahal would be from September to February. After that, the weather turns really hot in Agra. Although the rush is less.
3.Tajmahal Entry Ticket
Ticket price for foreign nationals is INR 1000/- and for Indians, it is INR 40/- per person. I know you might find the ticket price for foreign nationals exorbitant but it is worth it since you don’t have to stand in long queues and do not have to struggle inside too. For normal ticket, it takes about an hour to enter and then an hour inside to enter in the main tomb. Tajmahal remains closed on Fridays.You can get more information about the entry and online ticket booking for Tajmahal here:-
4.Try not to visit Tajmal on weekends and big holidays
It’s not a good idea to visit Tajmahal on Indian national holidays and occasions such as New Year’s eve or Christmas eve otherwise it will be a struggle to walk even, forget about exploring Taj Mahal with peace.
5.The ideal time to visit Tajmahal is morning 7 A.M.
We know it’s way too early but if you want to get some good clicks minus the mad crowd then try reaching Tajmahal on time.
6. Hire a guide
If you want to delve into the real beauty of Tajmahal then We would advise you to hire a guide. Although the history of Tajmahal could be read all over the Internet but a guide will tell you not only that but many unheard tales which might or might not be true but those would really surprise you and will sort of transport you to that era itself. Normal charges for an English speaking guide are INR 400/- to 1000/- ($6 – 15$). For Hindi speaking guides it lies somewhere between INR 100/- to 500/-. Do bargain with them.
7. Tajmahal is not worth investing a whole day
Although Tajmahal is extremely beautiful and contemplated to be one of the seven wonders of the world but it’s not worth investing a whole day there. Try to get in early and leave early. There are way more enticing places nearby worth taking a look at.
8.Places to visit near Tajmahal, Agra
Along with Tajmahal there are multiple other places near Agra which are much more mesmerising and interesting than Tajmahal. Yes, although Tajmahal has its own charm but there are more places to explore nearby which are way more enthralling. To name a few:-
i) Fatehpur Sikri fort & mausoleum
Situated at a distance of 36kms from Agra. We suggest you take a guide and get lost in innumerable stories about Emperor Akbar’s reign.
ii). Sikandra mausoleum
Sikandra is a suburb of Agra located at a distance of 9kms from Agra. Emperor Akbar is touted to be buried here and it is extremely intriguing in terms of its architecture.
iii) Bharatpur bird century
A treat for wildlife lovers herand bird watchers, Bharatpur bird century is situated at a distance of 60 kilometers from Agra.
iv) Mathura, Vrindavan
Mathura and Vrindavan are one of the most religious cities of India situated at a distance of 58 kilometers and 75 kilometres respectively. These cities could be visited to have a taste of religious cultures of India. You will see people from all over the world immersed in the ‘Bhakti ‘ of Lord Krishna. People sport Krishna tattoos and can be seen dance and sing away their worries in the ‘bhajans’ (religious songs) of Lord Krishna.
This beautiful town which proudly boasts of its heritage and its unique lifestyle is situated at a distance of 239 kilometers from Agra. This distance can be covered in four hours.
9.Do wear Shoe covers (booties) inside Tajmahal
Wear shoe covers inside Tajmahal not only to save your feet from getting burned but also to protect the ground from your footsteps.
10.No food items are allowed inside ‘TAJMAHAL’
Food items are not allowed inside the monument so make sure that you are properly fed before entering its premises. since your tour will include a lot of walking too. Also, smoking is strictly prohibited inside.
11.List of items not allowed
There a lot of items which are not allowed inside Tajmahal because of the safety concerns. Also, one need to walk a lot to view Tajmahal so it’s a better idea not to carry a handbag and go light. Following items are not allowed inside Tajmahal:-
a)Your own water bottle. (Half liters of water bottle is given along with the high priced ticket)
c)Arms, Ammunition, fire, smoking items, tobacco products, liquor, candies, headphones, knives (not even nail filer), any kind of wire, mobile charger, electric goods etc.
12.Do not pay your guide in advance
If you are getting a guide on the spot Refrain from paying them before-handed. Nowadays one can pre-book the guide online as well. Insist on seeing a guide’s Government of India verified Identity card.
13.For hassle free entry and save time one should buy ticket meant for International tourists
Even if you are an Indian tourist but if you want a hassle free entry and save time then you should buy ticket meant for International tourists. You need to shell out more bucks but it’s totally worth it. We went there on an Indian ticket and it took us more than an hour for the initial entry and then another hour to enter into main Tajmahal premises.
14.Few excellent spots to capture Tajmahal
Yamuna river flows behind the TAJ and it’s an excellent spot to click the bewitching photographs of Taj. Although the boating if strictly prohibited in the river but if you are lucky the person on the boat could let you stand on it and get your photography taken. It’s illegal although so do it at your own risk. Sunrise is the best time to get a shot of Tajmahal. Also, there are these gardens called ‘Mehtab bagh’ and ‘Taj nature walk’ near Tajmahal from where Taj could be looked at serenely.
15.What to wear while visiting Tajmahal?
It doesn’t matter in whichever month you are visiting Taj, barring the morning time, it is extremely hot and sunny there. Our advice would be to wear something with full sleeves. Likewise, Sunscreen is a must. Try not to wear short clothes while go to see Tajmahal as there are numerous local tourists as well. One might not feel comfortable in between the mass.
P.S. – I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to all the policemen and other members of security forces deployed at the Tajmahal. In spite of the enormous rush of flocks of tourists on new year’s eve, the cops and other security personnel were extremely helping, courteous and polite
. A big thumbs up for them.