India Travels: Taj Mahal Visitor Guide

This year I had the most amazing trip to India and a dream came true for me because I got to visit one of the most iconic wonders of the world - the Taj Mahal. Here is everything you need to know to plan your trip. 

Visiting The Taj Mahal: Key Planning Points

Location: Dharmapuri, Forest Colony, Tajganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282001, India.

Opening Time: 6.00am - 6.30pm daily except for Fridays. Night views are available on selected nights of the month from 8.30pm - 12.30am.

Entry Cost: Tickets for foreign national are approximately £15. This includes a bottle of water, protective shoe coverings, and also expedited access to enter the Taj Mahal itself. Tickets for Indian citizen's tickets are closer to £2. This is based on ticket prices on the day at the Taj Mahal ticket booth. 

How to Book Tickets: It is best to buy tickets on the day at the ticket booth. The lines are not long for foreign or Indian nationals and are easily available. Equally tour tickets can be booked online at the following site:

What to Wear: Sunglasses! In the daylight, the bright sun reflecting off the marble is almost blinding. I found it difficult to keep my eyes open in a lot of pictures!

Best Time to Visit: You can visit the Taj Mahal in the daylight or at night time. I would recommend daylight when the marble catches the sunlight allowing you to see the iconic image of the Taj Mahal in real life.

How Long You Need: Give yourself at least 4 hours to explore the Taj Mahal and surrounding grounds.

Why Visit: For the beautiful architect and the incredible history of not only the Taj Mahal but also the surrounding buildings.

Key Tips: Make sure you bring ID with you as this is required to ensure you purchase the correct ticket. Passports were checked when we entered and you could be refused entry if you don't have it with you.

Visiting The Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal Main Gate
I was so excited to go and see the Taj Mahal. The kind of excited that you feel when you are a kid and you can't sleep at night. As soon as I got there, I was looking around and trying to spot the iconic Taj.

When you first get into the grounds, you are met with a large red stone gate. But then when you see it......

First glimpse of the Taj Mahal.
You see it!

The Taj Mahal was built in 1643 by Shah Jahan, the fifth Mughal emperor, in loving memory of his wife.

In all honesty, pictures of the Taj Mahal don't do it justice. When there in person, it is incredibly beautiful and as perfect as the pictures but even more breathtaking.

The design of the Taj Mahal gained particular attention because of the choice to use white marble, which was not common. As seen by the accompanying buildings around the Taj Mahal, red stone was generally used for buildings in this region.
Given the beautiful surroundings, it's not surprising that many people turned up dressed in their best. 
Many visitors came dressed in traditional Indian evening wear dresses and sarees. Even some visitors from abroad got involved! At first, I thought perhaps an event was taking place (which I'd obviously not been invited to :( ) but some visitors just choose to make extra effort.

Others, like me, just turn up in their jeans. :) 

Me struggling to keep my eyes open because of the sun, but omg, I'm at the Taj Mahal
If you are visiting from within India, you can purchase a cheaper ticket but you need to buy the protective shoe coverings yourself for a couple of Rupees and street vendors are selling them as soon as you approach the site.

Obviously, cheesy tourist pose was necessary (slightly failed though). 
To protect the marble everyone has to wear a protective covering on their shoes before entering. This is provided to you when you join the line to enter if you are visiting from abroad, and it is included in your ticket price.

Protective shoe covering
Obviously, teenage girl selfie was necessary.

Rear view of the Taj Mahal
The line to get into the Taj Mahal itself is hours long if you are from within India, which you can see from the above picture. However, there is a separate line to enter if you are from abroad which is much shorter. In my case, there was no line at all!

Guest House

Guest House
Also, built within the grounds of the Taj Mahal is a guest house made of traditional red stone.

Mughal Guest house
However, the building is just as beautifully decorated. 

Unfortunately, you can't actually enter the guest house, and the VIPs are now the pigeons! 


Taj Mahal Mosque
Also within the grounds is a mosque which is still used today. However, prayers are limited only to Friday. Other than that, visitors are not allowed into the mosque in order to prevent people from trying to pray outwith this time but it is possible to enter the grounds around it.

View from the mosque grounds
Sat on the steps of the Taj Mahal, looking out onto the river (where on the other side the foundations of a Black Taj Mahal remain) you are astounded by the beauty and also the peaceful atmosphere of this place and acutely aware of the history you are surrounded by. 

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