Visiting the Taj Mahal is a must do when visiting India. It was one of the highlights of all of my travels! I was fortunate enough to get to see this just two days after visiting the Great Wall of China – two Man Made Wonders in three days! It was an inspiring week to say the least.
The Taj Mahal seemed so epic to me that it is hard to wrap my head around the fact that I could actually walk up to it and see it with my own eyes.
It surprised me to find out that the Taj Mahal was not expensive to visit. Okay – so as a tourists you are charged ten times what the locals, but it still only comes to about $20 CAD. You can barely buy a movie and popcorn for $20 anymore.
If you plan on visiting the Taj Mahal, follow these helpful tips to make the most of your experience!
Go early to catch sunrise
I highly recommend going early in the morning to catch the sunrise at the Taj Mahal. I recommend this not just for the beauty but because the weather will be a lot cooler – allowing you more time to enjoy the World Wonder before the scorching heat sets in. The bonus of arriving early is that all the locals tend to come later in the day – so it will be quitter at this time. To arrive early you will want to spend the night in Agra.
You have to walk up to the Taj Mahal Grounds
If you want to arrive early in the morning take into account that no cars can drive immediately up to the ground of the Taj Mahal so you will get dropped off and then walk for about 5-10 minutes in. There will be a lot of people trying to sell you things as you approach.
You get a bottle of water and shoes covers with your ticket
It is worth mentioning that when you buy your ticket you also get a bottle of water and ‘shoe coverings’ – similar to the ones that you wear in the E.R. room of a hospital. You do not need to put the shoe covers on around the grounds, only when entering the Taj Mahal.
Get in the right line
Get in the correct line. There is one line for women and one line for men – because they check you for security purposes as you walk in. Make sure you get in the right line because some people did not catch onto this and then had to give up their spot in line to go to the correct line.
Don’t bring a bag
If you can go without bringing a bag or a backpack do it. It’s not the end of the world if you want to bring a bag but it will slow you down since you will have to go through security to get your bag checked. Larger bags and backpacks have to be left at the front so unless you are comfortable with that, leave them behind.
Daniel entranced by our guides useful information.
Hire a guide
If I could only give you one piece of advice, this would be it.
I will admit, at first my friend and I felt that we got conned into having a guide. However, after the tour we were ecstatic that we had a guide because he gave us a deeper understanding and admiration for the Taj Mahal and brought out experience too a whole new level.
When visiting the Taj Mahal, you may be tempted to cheap out and tour it on your own. I urge you to spend the extra money (it’s less than the cost of brunch) to get a guide. Having a good guide will elevate your understanding and awe of this world wonder. You will not be able to appreciate the Taj Mahal in all of it’s glory without understanding everything that went into building this structure.
When we ran into people who said they weren’t impressed with the Taj Mahal we asked them if they had a guide and the answer was always no. Get a guide
Wait to take photos
If you arrive first thing in the morning the second you enter though the gate and see the Taj Mahal everyone will be crowded around trying to get a photo with this amazing monument. Your photo will be far away and have random people in it. When I got closer to the monument, people had cleared out more and that Taj Mahal was better in sight. I ended up deleting most of the first photos that I took. You’re better off putting your camera down and enjoying the moment.
Don’t take photos inside
When you think about the Taj Mahal you probable think about what the structure looks like from the outside – not the inside. There is a reason for that. You are not allowed to take photos inside the Taj Mahal. This adds to the wonder of it and the excitement of seeing it in person. So forget about taking selfies and bask in amazement from the interior of a World Wonder.
Don’t buy anything.
People will try to sell you things and your guide may even bring you to shops in hopes of earning a commission from you (welcome to India). If you want to support these people – go for it – but you will be paying way higher prices than you will get elsewhere in India.
Allow yourself plenty of time
I spent a lot more time at the Taj Mahal than expected. I didn’t realize there was to much to learn! As well, there is more than just the pool and Taj Mahal, there is a large garden to explore and the Taj Mahal looks beautiful from different angles.
We allowed ourselves plenty of time, and it was nice not feeling rushed. Slow down and take it all in – who knows if I will ever get the opportunity to come back again!
Be prepared for people asking for your photo
Speaking of allowing yourself lots of time. You will be asked by many locals to take pictures with them. If you are on a strict timeline then this will be annoying. If you have time to spare – than this can be fun! I found that I got the most asks outside of the Taj Mahal gates (apparently I don’t outshine the Taj Mahal).
Get Out of Town
After you visit the Taj Mahal move onto your next destination. You would think that a city with such an amazing attraction would have more for tourists, but besides the Agra Fort there isn’t much. Don’t plan to stay another night here, instead move onto the next beautiful destination.
Read about my One Month India Travel Itinerary here.
Any more useful tips for visiting the Taj Mahal? Let me know with a comment below!