The Taj Mahal in India is one of the 7 wonders of the world – and rightly so! Your trip to India would be incomplete without having seen the Taj Mahal. Honestly, it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in my life!
Make sure that you read my top 10 tips below so that your visit to the Taj Mahal is as memorable and enjoyable as possible. If you are interested to know more about the Taj Mahal from opening hours to the best month to travel, check out my article here: Taj Mahal Guide- What you should know before visiting.
1. ARRIVE EARLY TO SEE THE SUNRISE
I would recommend visiting the Taj Mahal at sunrise. There will be fewer crowds and beautiful lighting which lets the marble shine in different shades from gold to white. Keep in mind that even though you’re waking up early and beating most of the crowds, you won’t find yourself alone!
2. GET YOUR TICKET EARLY IN THE MORNING
If you want to see the sunrise, arrive at the ticket booth before 5.30am as the gates to the Taj Mahal open at 6.00 am (only the East Gate and West Gate have ticket outlets). After you got your ticket, you will need to hurry to the gates because they are 1km away from the ticket booth (and people are already queuing).
3. ENTER THROUGH THE EAST GATE
There are 3 entrance gates to the Taj Mahal:
- East Gate: The best gate to enter! It’s the least crowded and has a ticket booth.
- South Gate: Avoid the South Gate as it doesn’t have a ticket booth and won’t open until 8.00 am (plus you will have to pass a really dodgy market)
- West Gate: Avoid the West Gate as it is the most crowded one during the day.
4. GET AN OFFICIAL GUIDE
There are over 3,000 guides in Agra, of which only 120 are official ones. Despite what people say, I would recommend getting an official guide since you are most likely visiting the Taj Mahal only once in your life (so you better make the most out of it). An official guide will be able to speak proper English, bring you to all the right picture taking spots (away from the crowds) and will tell you everything about the history and the small little details of the Taj Mahal which will leave you in awe. We booked our guide via our hotel, which worked out very well.
5. PREPARE TO BE SEPARATED
At the entrance gate there is a separate security check for men and women (similar to the airport security checks). This means that in front of the entrance gate men and woman will queue in two separate lines – the men’s one proceeding faster than the women’s one. So be prepared to get separated from each other and make sure that everyone carries their own ticket!
6. DON’T BRING PROHIBITED ITEMS
There are a number of random things that you can’t bring inside the Taj Mahal. You better read the list of items you can’t bring (like tripods) – otherwise you will need to rent a locker at a nearby shop (it’s very overpriced and I am not sure how safe it is). Click here if you want to check the banned items on the official tourist website (https://www.tajmahal.gov.in/do%26nots.html).
7. BEAT THE CROWDS
As soon as you are entering the gates of the Taj Mahal, everyone seems to stop and take pictures immediately. If you want to avoid the crowds, make sure that you head straight to the bench where Princess Diana was sitting (right after the first pool). It will be crazy busy at this spot right after people have entered the Taj Mahal.
8. TAKE A PICTURE AT THE ‘DIANA BENCH’
As mentioned above, you should stop at the bench where Princess Diana was sitting and take a picture with the Taj Mahal in the background. Be prepared that a lot of people will stare at you and wait for their turn to have a picture taken (it irritated the hell out of me).
9. SEE THE SUNRISE FROM THE RIGHT SPOT
Right after you have taken the picture on the ‘Diana Bench’ head to the right side of the Taj Mahal (if you entered from the East Gate). You will notice that the crowds will run directly onto the Taj Mahal platform since they don’t know the good spots to see the sunrise. From the right side you will have uninterrupted views of the Taj Mahal and will see the marble building turn from a warm golden glow to a bright white colour.
10. SEE THE SUNSET FROM MOONLIGHT GARDEN
My last recommendation to you is to see the sunset of the Taj Mahal from the Moonlight Garden. The garden does not belong to the site of the Taj Mahal but is across the river at the ‘Baby Taj’. The ‘Baby Taj’ is the construction of a small, black Taj Mahal built by the same Emperor as its famous sister – the white Taj Mahal. The construction however never finished. From the Moonlight Garden you will have uninterrupted views of the sun setting right behind the famous Taj Mahal.
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