Widely considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the world and certainly one of India’s most famous landmarks, the Taj Mahal is a living testament to the grandiose and the romantic. Lovingly built from white marble by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, the structure is decorated with carvings of flowers and inlays of precious stone arranged into intricate patterns that can be admired both from its impressive exterior and interior. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-see for every traveler to northern India.
Tours are available year-round and at all times of the day, and can be customized to your interests and the timing of your visit. The easiest and most popular option for travelers wanting to see the Taj Mahal is to visit on a full-day group tour or in a private car with an English-speaking tour guide and driver, plus roundtrip transportation. Guided tours from both Jaipur and New Delhi abound and often also visit other interesting sights and attractions around Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, such as Agra Fort, the Red Fort, Akbar’s Tomb at Sikandra, and Fatehpur Sikri. Guided photography tours are a popular option at the Tah Mahal and generally take place either at sunset or sunrise. Other excursions, known as Golden Triangle tours, visit Jaipur, New Delhi, and Agra all in one go.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Taj Mahal is incredibly popular; it’s best to purchase tickets in advance to save time.
- There is no formal dress code, though it is recommended to dress respectfully.
- The Taj Mahal is closed to visitors every Friday, except for those attending prayers.
How to Get There
Located in Agra, the Taj Mahal is easily accessible from New Delhi on a journey of about three hours by road. Agra also has its own airport set just four miles (6.4 kilometers) from the city center that receives domestic flights on a regular basis. The city can be reached from New Delhi by train, but you will need additional local transportation to reach the Taj Mahal from the train station.
When to Get There
The Taj Mahal is open daily from sunrise to sunset. Both sunrise and sunset Taj Mahal tours are extremely popular, given that at these times of day, the sun creates an exquisite reflection upon the palace’s white marble, drenching its surface in red, orange, pink, and golden hues. It’s even possible to see the palace at both sunrise and sunset as part of a full-day tour of Agra that starts and ends at the Taj. Northern India can be hot in summer, so October to March, when the weather is mildest, are considered the best months to visit. Early morning is often the least crowded time of day to see the Taj Mahal.
Photographing the Taj Mahal
Though there is no substitute for seeing the famous Taj Mahal with your own two eyes, it’s a popular spot for photography. Raised on a marble platform, the monument’s only backdrop is the sky, and white minarets flank each of its corners, giving it a three-dimensional effect from each of its perfectly symmetrical sides. The photogenic structure also resides within a pristine Mughal garden. In the center is a raised reflecting pool positioned on a north-south axis so that when its fountains are not flowing, the Taj is perfectly reflected in its waters. Head to Yamuna River for a unique shot of the water in the palace’s foreground.