Want to visit Taj Mahal in India? It’s one of the new seven wonders of the world and sees more than 8 million visitors per year. I have been there, and it’s truly an amazing building that everyone should visit at least once.
In this article, you can read all about opening hours, tickets, how to get to Taj Mahal and other interesting information before your visit.
Taj Mahal is actually not a palace, but a tomb which was built by the order of Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan. There’s a fascinating love story behind the impressive monument, which was built to honor his third and favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal.
She was a Muslim-Persian princess that died after giving birth to their 14th child. It deeply upset Shah Jahan, who promised that he would build a spectacular grave monument.
I think it’s safe that he definitely fulfilled his promise to Mumtaz Mahal.
|Architect:||Ustad Ahmad Lahauri (main architect)|
|Construction years:||1632 to 1643|
|Building Material:||White marble|
|World Heritage Site since:||1983|
Tickets and opening hours
Below are the latest entrance fees, prices are listed in Indian Rupees.
|Type of ticket||Price (Indian Rupees)|
|Foreign tourist||Rs 1000|
|Citizen of SAARC and BIMSTEC countries||Rs 530|
|Indian Citizen||Rs 40|
There are separate lines for foreigners and Indian citizens.
Ticket sales offices
- West Entrance: Tickets can be bought here from sunrise to sunset.
- East Entrance: Tickets can be bought at Shilpgram (sunrise to sunset)
- South Entrance: Tickets can only be purchased from 08:00 to 17:00
Where to buy Taj Mahal tickets online
There’s one official seller of Taj Mahal tickets online. Their website is asimustsee.nic.in and E-tickets are available for Indians as well as foreign tourists. However, these tickets won’t allow you to skip the line, which means that unless you arrive before opening, you’ll have to queue for 30-120 minutes.
I recommend that you book a so-called skip the line ticket. They are a bit more expensive, but not much, and the time you save is well worth the extra cost. When booking this, you’ll also get a private guided tour included at no extra cost.
Taj Mahal opening hours
Daytime: From sunrise to sunset. All days year-round, except on Fridays.
Nighttime: 20:30 to 00:30 (When it’s full moon + 2 days before and after)
On Fridays, Taj Mahal is only open to faithful Muslims.
Where is Taj Mahal located?
Taj Mahal is located in the city of Agra in northern India, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, about 230 kilometers from the capital Delhi. It’s situated on the Yamuna riverbank, which served as a moat.
How to get to Taj Mahal
From New Delhi to Agra and Taj Mahal
The best way to get to Agra from New Delhi is by taking the train. The fastest train takes 2 hours and 10 minutes, but there are also slower trains with more frequent departures. The high-speed train is called 12001/Habibganj – New Delhi Shatabdi Express.
There are also direct flights between Delhi and Agra, but taking the train is more convenient. You can also book a sunrise tour to Taj Mahal from Delhi where a skip-the-line ticket is included.
Then you don’t have to worry about transportation and you’ll also get a day trip to Agra where the entrance to the Red fort is included as well.
From Jaipur to Taj Mahal
Jaipur is part of the Golden Triangle in India, and it’s relatively easy to get from Jaipur to Agra. There are several trains with daily departures and the journey takes about 3.5 hours with the fastest train.
From Mumbai to Taj Mahal
The fastest way of getting to Taj Mahal from Mumbai is by taking a flight to Delhi and from there an express train or minibus to Agra. Another option is to take the train, which takes about 17.5 hours.
The fastest train from Mumbai is called Lokmanyatilak Terminus H Nizamuddin Ac Express.
From Goa to Taj Mahal
If you travel to Goa and want to visit Taj Mahal as well, it’s best to take a flight to New Delhi, and from there take the express train or minibus to Agra. Flights are usually inexpensive, but you can also take a train from Goa to Agra, such as the Goa Express.
The train ride from Goa is very long though and can take anywhere from 30 to 35 hours without delays. The flight takes only 2 hours and 45 minutes.
How to get to Taj Mahal if you’re already in Agra
If you’re already in Agra or will arrive shortly, it’s recommended to take an Auto-rickshaw or bicycle-rickshaw to Taj Mahal from your hotel or the train station. Always use official rickshaws to avoid getting overpriced.
You should also mention which entrance you want to go to. Another option is to book a private guided tour where transport is included as well as the entrance to Taj Mahal. Then you’ll also be able to skip the line when you arrive.
Things to know before you visit Taj Mahal
The following objects are forbidden to bring inside:
- Cigarettes, lighters, and matches
- Sharp objects
- Tripod for cameras
If you visit the ticket office, you’ll also see a big sign of forbidden items. There’s also a locker where you can leave any items that aren’t allowed to bring inside. I actually did this mistake myself and had to turn around in the entrance and leave my tripod.
The security control is rigid and includes both a metal detector test and visitation.
- Photography is strictly forbidden in the main building
- Visitors must remain 100% quiet when walking through the mausoleum
- It’s strictly forbidden to eat within the complex
More information about Taj Mahal
It took 22 years to complete this extravagant tomb. The workforce consisted of more than 20 000 workers of various trades, such as bricklayers, stonecutters, artists, painters, caligraphy experts and other artisans.
Additionally, some 1000 Indian elephants were used to transport the heavy marble and gemstones. It’s estimated that the cost of building Taj Mahal is somewhere around 32 million Indian Rupees.
The meaning of the name can be translated to the “Crown building” or “Crown Palace” and Taj means crown and Mahal means building in Sanskrit. Both Mumtaz and Shah Jahan are buried in the inner chamber, and Mumtaz crypt is placed exactly in the middle.
Shah Jahan’s resting place is to the left of Mumtaz, and originally, Shah Jahan was supposed to get his own chamber, but his son didn’t want to spend money to build it, so he ended up in the same mausoleum as Mumtaz.
When walking around in the complex of Taj Mahal, it’s very clear that everything was planned into the finest details, and all buildings are symmetrical, except in one place. And that’s the grave of Shah Jahan since it wasn’t planned to be placed in Mumtaz’ mausoleum.
That’s one of many interesting facts about Taj Mahal that you’ll learn when visiting.
Other notable buildings in the complex
- Main entrance (Darwaza-i rauza)
- Jawab Masjid – The Mosque on the left side
- Jawab – Guesthouse on the east side
My personal experience and thoughts
To see it in picture is one thing, but to actually see the fantastic details with your own eyes is breathtaking. Taj Mahal is easily one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen, and there are few buildings that can even be justified to compare. It’s a true masterpiece that certainly deserves its title as one of the new 7 wonders of the world.
Of course, there are many visitors and it’s very crowded, but as long as you’re prepared to share the experience with others, and walk around calmly and appreciate all the details, it doesn’t really matter.
It’s easy to imagine what it was like when it was built, and you’ll get that grand feeling. If you’re traveling to India and have the possibility of visiting Taj Mahal, I warmly recommend to include it in your itinerary.
Furthermore, if you’ve seen the Disney movie Aladdin, you’ll definitely get a nostalgic feeling as well. Much of the movie is inspired from Agra, and the royal palace of Agrabba where the sultan and Jasmine are living is very-much alike Taj Mahal.
Book a guided tour of Taj Mahal
If you want to learn more about the buildings and their history, It’s highly recommended to book a private guided tour. There aren’t many signs available in the complex, so a guide is definitely worth it, at least if you’re interested in the history of Taj Mahal.
Do you have more questions before visiting Taj Mahal in India? Leave a comment below!