when to go

The Taj Mahal is the best known building in the world and arguably the most beautiful. The architecture is sublime but it is the history that the stones embody that attract seven million visitors each year.

Precisely for this reason, and because the site attracts so many visitors – from old carriage tourists alighting from a five-star hotel near the entrance to young hikers arriving for a couple of hours from New Delhi – you’d think it might be doomed. to disappoint.

But with a little careful planning and the right approach, you will find the site as enchanting and engaging as any other on the planet.

When to travel?

The best time is from November to February, otherwise it can be unbearably hot or rainy. You will still be able to get some great off-season discounts.

The Taj Mahal appears to gradually alter its color in the changing light of the day. It is worth the effort to get up early and spend the sunrise there, as it majestically reveals itself. Visiting sunrise will also allow you to beat the huge crowds that start arriving later in the morning.


Agra, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) from Delhi. It is part of the famous tourist circuit of the Golden Triangle of India.

What to bring to the Taj Mahal

Always leave your valuables in the hotel. There are lockers available at the Taj but it’s best to have a minimum of items on you so you don’t spend too much time checking in.

You just need to carry the following in a small bag:

  • Passport
  • Money
  • Water
  • Medicine
  • Camera
  • Phone

What to wear at the Taj Mahal

There is no dress code, but you should still be respectful. If you want to enter the mosque, you will need to cover your head, shoulders and knees.

It is hot in Agra and there is very little shade, so wear light clothing and be sure to wear sunscreen. Also, Agra gets very cold even in winter (November-February), so your layers are your friends too.

It is a good idea to wear shoes that are easy to remove. You need to take off your shoes when you go inside and the easier it is to slide and get off the better. This actually applies to much of India – shoes with lots of laces are tough!

Other things you need to know

  • Food is not allowed inside
  • Cigarettes and lighters are not allowed.
  • Tripods and additional lighting equipment require prior authorization. Photography inside the mausoleum is prohibited. Most electronics (except small cameras and camcorders) are not allowed.
  • Watch out for thieves, thieves and rude shopkeepers. It’s a crowded, high-pressure area, but keep your wits and you won’t have to worry!

When you are at the Taj Mahal

Go early, wait for space to explore and photograph, and get away from the crowds (if possible).

Tips for taking pictures at the Taj Mahal

Everyone wants that iconic shot of themselves at the Taj Mahal. You know that – where you sit on the bench and the majesty of the marble mausoleum is the backdrop.

But if you’re feeling creative and want to mix things up, there are a ton of different angles worth looking for.

Below are some photo tips from Intrepid’s general manager in India, Pravin Tamang. (Her photography is amazing – check it out!)

  • Shot from the arch of the main door
  • Capture the reflection of the fountains that line the path to the main platform of the Taj Mahal
  • Shot of the Taj Mahal from the river bank with the reflection on the river
  • Shot on the other side of the river, ‘Mehtab Bagh’, where you can see Taj
  • The Taj Mahal can also be killed in some parts of the Red Fort

You can also take great photos from the many rooftops of the restaurants near the Taj Mahal. Unfortunately, Agra gets quite dull, so winter can often have poor visibility early in the day and around sunset. That said, this can make for very impressive shots!

Security at the Taj Mahal

Strict security is in place at the Taj Mahal and there are checkpoints at the entrances. Your bag will be scanned and searched. Large bags and day packs are not allowed inside. Only small envelopes containing essential items are allowed. This includes one cell phone, one camera and one bottle of water per person. You cannot bring in edible products, tobacco products or lighters, electrical items (including phone chargers, headphones, iPads, flashlights), knives or camera tripods. Cell phones are also banned during night vision sessions, although cameras are still allowed. Luggage storage is provided at the entrance gates.

Guides and audio guides

If you want to marvel at the Taj Mahal without the distraction of having a tour guide with you, government-approved AudioCompass provides an official and inexpensive Taj Mahal audio guide on its mobile phone app. It is available in many foreign and Indian languages including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Japanese.

See the Taj Mahal without going inside

If you don’t want to pay the expensive admission fee or fight the crowds, you can get great views of the Taj across the river bank. This is ideal for sunset. Once this place is Mehtab Bagh – a 25-acre Mughal garden complex directly in front of the monument. The entrance fee is 200 rupees for foreigners and 20 rupees for Indians, and it is open until sunset. Unfortunately, an unsightly barbed wire fence has been erected next to the river to prevent tourists from wandering along the river.

It is possible to take a rowboat on the river. Walk down the path along the east wall of the Taj Mahal to the riverside temple where you will find the boatmen.

There is also a little-known abandoned watchtower on a sandy field on the eastern side of the Taj Mahal. It is an ideal spot for a great sunset view of the monument. Reach it by heading east from the East Gate and turning right at the fork. Pay the official 50 rupees to enter.

Uttar Pradesh Tourism’s Taj Khema hotel also offers remarkable views of the Taj Mahal from its gardens. In early 2015, a new marble bench was installed on a mound, mainly for visitors. Sip tea and watch the sunset! The hotel is located approximately 200 meters from the monument, on the eastern side. It is a government run establishment, so don’t expect great service.

Another option is the roof of the Saniya Palace hotel on the southern side of the Taj Mahal.