Tips for visiting the Taj Mahal, be patient

Top Tips For Visiting The Taj Mahal | A Complete Guide

Learn the top tips for visiting the Taj Mahal to make your visit more memorable and stress free.

The Taj Mahal really is stunning and definitely worth seeing in person. From the first moment I saw it from the balcony of my accommodation in Agra, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of it. Its architecture is so graceful and so grand, standing so majestically and seemingly pure above everything else around it, and it’s so inspiring that it was built by the fifth Muslim Emporer of the Mughal empire, Shah Jahan, to memorialize his beloved wife, one that sadly died due to complications from childbirth.

The next morning, when I got to see it up close, its white marble softly reflecting the early hazy light and its semi precious stones shimmering in the sun, it was even more breathtaking. As you walk the grounds, you can feel the mutual reverence for its beauty.

The Taj Mahal is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and a site that’s on many travelers wish lists. It was on mine for a long time, although I never thought I would actually make it.

I was always a little nervous about traveling to India and said I never would do it solo. But, then I was invited to an Indian wedding in Kerala. I wanted to see the wedding and knew I just had to go. I had to get over my fears and plan a trip that would keep me safe while seeing some of India’s top sights after the wedding. So, just like that, I was suddenly planning a solo trip to see the Taj Mahal.

It’s is not the easiest place to get to, located in Agra, several hours from Delhi and Jaipur, the other top sites in India’s Golden Triangle. But it’s not as difficult as you may think and it’s very feasible to visit solo. Especially if you plan it wisely.

This post covers the top tips for visiting the Taj Mahal.

Tips For Visiting the Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal gets 6 to 7 million visitors a year, pretty much on par with the Colosseum in Rome and the Eiffel Tower. All incredibly iconic monuments. Because of this, visiting is very structured. Knowing some the details of this structure and the top tips for visiting the Taj Mahal makes your visit go much smoother and be much more memorable.

With a little planning and forethought, you can turn your trip into something spectacular, rather than just ticking a box on your travel list.

Top Tips: Best Time To Visit The Taj Mahal

Best Days To Visit The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is open every day except Friday. Within that, it’s best to visit during the week, as many locals use their weekends to visit.

Best Time Of Year To Visit The Taj Mahal

The best time of year temperature-wise to visit the Taj Mahal is October to March. This is when days are more comfortable and evenings are cool. October and March can still be quite warm mid-day, with highs in the upper 80’s and low 90’s (26-34 C), but the rest of the winter is a more comfortable 70-83 F (21-28 C). Lows from October to March range from 45-65 F (7-18 C), with the coolest of that from November to February.

The downside to visiting the Taj Mahal in winter months, however, is that there is reportedly heavy fog early in the mornings.

April to June are the hottest months, with highs ranging from 100-105 F (38-40 C) and lows from 70-82 F (21-27 C). May to September is monsoon season, so heavy rain is likely. Monsoon season would not be a good time to visit.

I visited in April, and although daytime temperatures were hot, I arrived at the Taj Mahal before 6 AM, with a ticket purchased online in advance. I breezed in with no lines and enjoyed the comfortable temperatures of the early morning.

Best Time Of Day To Visit The Taj Mahal

Lines start forming at the Taj Mahal early and stay long all day. And it’s not just the entry line, but also the lines to take turns taking photos at key spots. Because of this, it’s best to arrive first thing in the morning. Ticket windows open one hour before sunrise and close 45 minutes before sunset. I arrived at 5:45 AM and walked in with no line at all and no crowds. Being there without the crowds really made my visit feel special.

Another advantage of arriving early is that the Taj Mahal subtly changes color as the sun rises. My very first photo, below, was taken a few minutes before 6 AM. There’s something about the soft, ethereal light this early that is magical. The mausoleum has a pinkish-grey cast to it, almost as if it’s reflecting the sky.

As the sun rises, you will see if turn to cream, then white, looking more crisp against the blue sky.

Tips for visiting the Taj Mahal, arrive early
Tan Mahal at 5:53 AM

Arriving early is especially ideal if mid-day temperatures are high. It can get very hot here, especially with crowds. One exception to this, however, is that there can be heavy fog on winter mornings. This, however, usually burns off before mid-day. In this case, it’s best to spend a day here first to see how it changes before determining when to arrive.

There are two ticket options during the day, forenoon, or 6 AM until 12 PM and afternoon, or 12 PM until 6 PM. Technically, however, you can get in before 6 AM, like I did.

The Taj Mahal can also be visited at night. There are viewings around the full moon (except during Ramadan). Night viewing is available five days a month, on full moon nights, the two nights before, and the two nights after the full moon.

There are only a small number of night tickets available for this, and they can only be purchased one day in advance. It’s better to wait until the day before anyway, to make sure there will not be cloud cover. Time options are in 30-minute intervals from 8 PM to midnight.

Although I did not do the night viewing, it seems like it would be an interesting ‘add on’ to a daytime viewing, but only if skies are clear and the moon is closer to the earth (when it appears larger). A super moon would probably be ideal!

Top Tips For Visiting The Taj Mahal: Stay in Agra

It really is best to stay at least one night in Agra, ideally two. This may sound obvious, but many do not, and it can make a huge difference in your experience.

If you try to visit the Taj Mahal as a day trip from Delhi, the drive is about 4 or 5 hours, depending on traffic. The drive over from Jaipur is similar, but a little longer. Either option gets you to Agra in the afternoon, which is the heat of the day and the peak of long lines.

While most trains take about 4 hours, there are some trains that make the trip in a little less than 2 hours, but still, few, or none, arrive before 8 or 9 AM. Then, you still need another 30 minutes or so to get to the Taj Mahal from there. It just makes for a very hectic day and it’s no fun to hassle with the crowds.

Trains from Jaipur take 3 hours and 40 minutes and longer, taking even more time.

There are flights from Dehli to Agra, but none (or at least none that I have seen) that are direct. Flight time is a minimum of 5 hours, making a day trip extremely challenging. Jaipur is similar, but like the trains, worse. Either gets you to the Taj Mahal by late-morning at the best, but more likely mid-afternoon.

For more details on driving, trains, and flights, see How To Get To The Taj Mahal below.

In addition to being able to beat the crowds, it’s also better to stay in Agra to experience some local life on your trip. First, it’s really cool to see the Taj Mahal surrounded by the homes of locals from rooftop restaurants or your accommodation. It also adds a lot to see locals going about their daily life around the area, and to visit other top sites in Agra.

Tip Tips For Visiting The Taj Mahal: Choose Accommodation Close By

One of my top tips for visiting the Taj Mahal is to choose accommodation within walking distance of it. Preferably one that also offers views of it! Not only does this allow you to arrive early and skip the queues, you also get to soak up the culture and see locals going about their day near the monument, and you can do some local sightseeing, like taking a walk to sunset point near the east gate, taking a boat across the Yumana River to a sunset point just north of the Taj Mahal, or visiting Agra Fort, Mehtab Gardens, and more.

The three places below are within walking distance and have views of the Taj Mahal from select areas on the property. Plus, two of them are very, very affordable.

I stayed in a private room (with my own private bathroom) at Joey’s Hostel Agra. The accommodation was very basic (similar to other basic accommodation in India), but the staff here is amazing! I would stay here again in a heartbeat. They helped me with all the details of my visit to the Taj Mahal, as well as arranged a rickshaw driver for my for a full day of sightseeing in Agra. They were always available, day and night, even giving me their WhatsApp number in case I needed something. I felt 100% safe staying here. Plus, it was a fun place to meet other travelers to share my experiences with.

The second floor dining balcony at Joey’s Agra sits just south of the Taj Mahal, so you get a mostly perfect southern view of it rising up above the buildings around it. Even better, (at least to me), you see locals going about their day on the rooftops of their homes in front of it. I saw women doing laundry and praying with the Taj Mahal as the backdrop, and young boys flying their kites on rooftops in front of it after school. All while having dinner or a beer with other travelers.

There will also be many monkeys around doing what monkeys do best by being mischievous. You’ll see them trying to sneak into homes as well as sneak any food you may be eating, so be careful. As I visited in April, there were also baby monkeys taking lessons from mom and dad (LOL).

Aside for the monkeys, I highly recommend staying at one of the places listed above for a better experience. It’s so much better than just ticking the Taj Mahal off your travel list. You get to experience locals living with the monument in their neighborhood, as well as being able to waltz into the Taj Mahal before the long lines.

I list Sai Palace Within Walking Distance of Taj Mahal last, as although it also has a view of the Taj Mahal from public places in the property, it also gets some negative reviews. Make sure to read them all before booking.

The Oberoi Amarvilas Agra is the ultimate luxury, with views of the Taj Mahal from the room with large windows and a luxurious pool.

If you stay close to the Taj Mahal, you can also do other local things, like walk down to the Yumana River and watch the sunset beside the Taj Mahal at night, take a boat across the Yumana River to the Mehtab Bagh garden view point across the river (another nice sunset viewing point of the Taj Mahal), and explore a variety of other sites like Agra Fort, where Shah Jahan was deposed by his son and later died, Itmad-ud-Daula tomb, Akbar Tomb, and more.

This post may use affiliate links. This means I may make a small commission if you choose to make a booking or purchase through one of these links. This is at no additional cost to you. If you find my content helpful, please consider booking through me as it is completely win win!

Top Tips For Visiting the Taj Mahal: Buying Tickets

Tickets for Indians are 50 INR, plus 200 INR if you choose to visit the interior of the mausoleum. Tickets for foreigners are 1100 INR, plus 200 INR for the interior of the mausoleum (this is $13.31 and $2.42 respectively as of June 2023). Anyone under the age of 15 is free. There are discounts for SAARC and BIMSTEC. See the ticket website below for more details.

Full moon tickets are 500 INR for Indians and 750 INR for foreigners (about $9 as of June 2023). Indian and foreign children are 500 INR each from age 4 to 15. Children under 4 are free. There is no mausoleum entry at night.

Buying Your Ticket On-Line, In Advance

Buying your ticket online in advance saves you time, reduces entrance lines, and is less expensive. Foreigners save 50 INR and Indians save 5 INR of the prices above. This is really one of the best tips for visiting the Taj Mahal, not so much for the money, but for the time it saves waiting in line.

What You Need To Buy Your Ticket

You will need your government issued ID (I used my passport) and a form of payment to purchase. There are several options for payment on the site, I used my credit card.

You can print out your ticket or use the e-ticket for entry. I had technical issues using the site with my phone, so staff at Joey’s Agra helped me purchase and print the ticket in advance (actually we did it at 5:30 in the morning). Sometimes Safari poses problems with these types of sites, so it’s best to use a desktop computer. If you must use your phone, try using Google as the search engine to get to the website instead of Safari.

Where To Buy Your Online Ticket

There are two places to buy your daytime ticket on-line, in advance, and Joey’s recommended the first one. I didn’t include the actual link for the second one as it’s currently noting an error when accessing.

Purchase tickets for the full moon viewing at

Helpful Steps To Buy Your Online Ticket

After selecting the Taj Mahal as the monument that you want a ticket for, the site will ask if you want to visit just the Taj Mahal, or if you also want to visit the mausoleum (which is extra). You will also need to select the date. You can only buy your ticket one week in advance on For the night viewing, you can only purchase the night prior.

After the date, select the time. There are two options; forenoon, which is valid until 12 PM, and afternoon, which is valid 12 PM until 6 PM. I’ve read other posts on the web that say the Taj Mahal limits your time, but this was not the case when I visited in April 2023. At least I didn’t see anyone checking tickets. I probably could have stayed the whole 6 hours, but I only needed 2 hours.

Print your ticket (or the e version of it) and bring it with you along with the ID you used to purchase it with.

The process for the night viewing ticket is similar, although you select which 30-minute increment you want to visit. They start at 8 PM and go until midnight.

An image of your government issues ID will need to be uploaded electronically when purchasing the night tIcket online.

Bring Your ID or Passport

You will need your ID or passport to enter, so do not forget it! Bring the ID you used when getting your online ticket.

Top Tips For Visiting The Taj Mahal: What Not To Bring

Do not bring bags to the Taj Mahal. Only bring what is absolutely required. You cannot bring food, or drinks, or tobacco, arms, ammunitions, fire, headphones, phone chargers, or tripods. Ideally your phone, which should be placed on silent, or camera, and your government ID. They say you can also bring a small bottle of water.

There is a security search and they will take whatever else they think is an issue. Less is more here as it just slows down the line. The only things I brought were a very small belt bag, which held my phone, my passport, my room key, and some Indian Rupees. They searched it quickly and let me pass.

You also cannot conduct any group events, like meditation or yoga inside the Taj Mahal. They do not even like it if you do yoga poses at the Taj Mahal. I can attest to this as there were tourists doing yoga poses for photos and the guards asked them to stop. This makes sense if you think about it, as this is a tomb.

Drones are also not allowed inside the Taj Mahal property.

Top Tips For Visiting The Taj Mahal: Charge Your Phone or Camera

Since you cannot bring any type of charger inside the Taj Mahal, make sure your phone and/or camera is fully charged.

No Vehicles Are Allowed Near The Taj Mahal

This surprised me, but it makes sense. No cars or trucks are allowed near the Taj Mahal, you will need to walk or take a rickshaw at a certain distance.

I’m sure this is partly in effect for safety reasons, but it also helps to reduce pollution, which has a devastating effect on the monument.

So are you wondering how you can get to your hotel or hostel near the Taj Mahal? Good question! There was a disclaimer on Joey’s Agra website saying that I might need to take a rickshaw at a certain point. They, however, contacted police with the time I was arriving and the policeman waved my taxi in. I was very, very thankful as I didn’t want to have to negotiate a rickshaw, on the street, in the heat, with my luggage. Also another reason why I really liked Joey’s.

Top Tips For Visiting The Taj Mahal: Arrive Early

As mentioned above, the ticket windows for the Taj Mahal opens an hour before sunrise and closes 45 minutes before sunset. I walked through the entrance gate at 5:45 and was very glad I did as there were very few tourists that early. I had no wait in any line, except to take turns taking photos once inside. And for this is was only a few minutes for the prime, ‘front on’ spots. Plus, as it was April, the morning air was still cool.

It actually felt amazing to be one of just a few people inside the complex. I can only imagine how frustrating it would be to wait in a long line or wait for turns for photos in the heat of the day.

Top Tips For Visiting The Taj Mahal: Entrances

There are currently two tickets entrances, one on the east side of the Taj Mahal and one on the west side. Most tourist accommodation is on the east side, so if you stay here, this is probably the entrance you will use.

Top Tips For Visiting The Taj Mahal: Shoe Covers

Somehow I missed picking up shoe covers at the entrance. It was ok, it just meant I had to carry my shoes and my feet got dirty. But it’s really better to have the shoe covers. Especially if you are visiting in the heat of the afternoon. The marble platform around the mausoleum will be blazing hot!

Since I missed this detail, I can’t help much on where to get them or how much they cost. I asked others inside the Taj Mahal and they said they got them at the gate. Look for them. I think they are free and right at the entrance.

Top Tips For Visiting The Taj Mahal: Decide If You Want A Guide

Just after the entrance, there will be people standing around offering guide services for the Taj Mahal. Decide in advance if this is something you want or not. If this is something you want, it’s probably better to arrange in advance, rather than taking your time to do it here.

I suggest discussing this with the staff at your accommodation. They can recommend some good guides, or just help give you an idea of the cost, which you can negotiate at the entrance. The benefit of negotiating is that you will quickly get an idea of the quality of their English, as well as how accommodating they are.

Decide If You’re OK With Others Taking Photos Of You With Your Phone Or Camera

There will be locals inside wanting to earn a few bucks in tips by helping you with photos. At first, I was a little surprised and chose to ignore these gentlemen.

As I moved through the Taj Mahal, however, I noticed a few of them really knew the best places and ways to take photos. Maybe I got lucky, but I decided to let one of them take a few photos with my iPhone. He did a great job! If you are open to this, bring some Rupees with you so you can tip them. I wished I’d had more.

You need to do a gut check if you really feel comfortable trusting them with your phone. I can’t promise that all of them are trustworthy. The one I found, however, really was.

In fact, this simple act gave me one of my favorite memories of the Taj Mahal. I love it when my gut tells me to trust a stranger in a different country and it ends up being the right choice.

Admire The Entire Process

The grounds of the Taj Mahal are symmetrical, which adds to its peaceful beauty. Whether you enter from the East Gate or West Gate (the South Gate was closed when I was here), you will head in the opposite direction until you reach the center of the complex.

As you walk towards the center, you will see the South Gate (which is currently closed). At the center, turn and head north through the Great Gate to the Taj Mahal, constructed of red sandstone like the south, east, and west gates.

After walking through the Great Gate, you’ll see the Taj Mahal, beyond Char Bagh, or the Taj Mahal Gardens, for the first time. The mausoleum is still 1,000’ (333 yards) away, with beautifully symmetrical pools, a fountain, and gardens lying before it.

These all offer a variety of photo opportunities. Most people want the straight on photo, which requires waiting in lines for people to take turns as there’s only a few of these spots due to the pools. If you don’t want to wait, take a photo off to the side. Use the reflection from the pools to enhance your shots.

Top Tips For Visiting The Taj Mahal: Be Patient

Even if you arrive early, visiting the Taj Mahal still requires patience. One of my top tips for visiting the Taj Mahal is to enter with the mindset of patience. Many people will be there, wanting to do the same thing you want to do, take lots of photos.

The first ‘front on’ photo opportunity at the Taj Mahal is just inside the Great Gate before the first pool. It’s the furthest away, but it’s also a great shot. Especially if you arrive early as not many people will be in front of you (or in your photo). For me, there was a little haze in the air in the early morning air, which I thought looked beautiful.

Tips for visiting the Taj Mahal, try to arrive early
Taj Mahal 5:53 AM

People are relatively polite taking turns. At least they were the morning I was here. There are always a few, however, that decide to take too many photos and frustrate those in line behind them. Please be respectful of others. One group did take a bit too long and someone from the crowd behind me yelled at them. Things got a little tense for a few minutes, but then everything was fine.

The second best straight on photo spot is halfway to the mausoleum, where there’s a fountain crossing the pools. I found this one the best spots for photos, as you get the same straight on shot, but it’s closer. It was also slightly different as in the few minutes it took to get here, some of the haze had burnt off. The mausoleum now looked white against the blue sky. This photo below was taken a few minutes after 6 AM. It’s amazing how just several minutes can make such a difference in the lighting.

Tips for visiting the Taj Mahal, be patient
Taj Mahal 6:08 AM

Side shots are also great. I took this one as I was walking back towards the Great Gate. It was taken at 7:15 AM, so everything is much crisper, but there’s also a lot more people in the shot.

Taj Mahal

As you get closer to the Taj Mahal walk up the steps on the left side (west side). This is where the queue for the mausoleum starts. You will need to add your shoe covers, or remove your shoes, to get up on the raised marble platform here

If you chose the entry ticket for the mausoleum, it’s actually very small inside. I did not think it really enhanced the process going inside, as there’s not much here, but the cost is only 200 INR more. Of course the tombs of Mumtaz and Shah Jahan are here, but not much else.

You also cannot take photos inside the mausoleum. The whole process of being inside the mausoleum is very quick. You’re only inside for literally a few minutes and exit, to keep the line moving.

Walk Around The Marble Deck Of The Taj Mahal

West Side Of The Taj Mahal

There are two monuments near the Taj Mahal. The Kau Ban Mosque is on the left side (west side) of the Taj Mahal (towards Mecca). It is only open to practicing Muslims.

West side Mosque
Kau Ban Mosque Taj Mahal

There are some nice photo opportunities on this side, but without being able to enter the mosque (to frame it), there are better ones on the east side (below). I’m sure, however, that’s it’s stunning inside if you are able to enter.

East Side Of The Taj Mahal

On the right side (east side) of the Taj Mahal is the Mihman Guest House. Also known as “Naqqar Khana” or “Jawab”. This was once used for guests and as a gathering place. This building makes a great place to take additional photos of the Taj Mahal.

This is where one of the locals inside took photos of me for a tip. Honestly, he did much better than I could have ever done.

He used the archway of the building to frame the Taj Mahal, and the moisture on the floor from the morning air to reflect it. They also guided me on how to walk and hold my arms. As I mentioned above, I was glad I asked them to take my photo here.

Tips for visiting the Taj Mahal, let locals take your photo
Jawab Doorway Taj Mahal

North Side Of The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal sits on the Yumana River. Walking the marble deck space behind the Taj Mahal, overlooking the river, is pretty. Especially as the sun rises. This river is very polluted though, and very stinky. You will even be able to smell its sulphur-like smell up above on the deck, so you may not stay here long. It’s a bit sad actually. This is considered the most polluted river in India right behind India’s most iconic monument. I think they’re continually trying to resolve this.

Take Your Time

Visiting the Taj Mahal is usually a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so take your time. I felt like I visited at a leisurely pace and was inside the Taj Mahal grounds for two hours. If there had been a lot of people inside, it would have easily been double that, and not half as pleasant.

This said, there are bathrooms available if you are there longer, but they do not get good reviews. Bring your own paper if you think this is something you will need.

Read About The Taj Mahal In Advance

There is no information about the Taj Mahal inside, so unless you hire a guide, you should read a little in advance. It’s best to research the aspects you want to know the most about, but I’ve added a few details here.

The Taj Mahal was built between 1632 and 1648 (with its outer courtyard and cloisters built later, completed in 1653) by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in honor of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. She, unfortunately, died in June 1631 of complications from the birth of their 14th child. She had been accompanying Shah Jahan on a campaign in the Deccan Plateau.

Shah Jahan was reportedly inconsolable and went into secluded mourning for a year. He also started planning and building the monument to honor her.

Artisans and builders from around the region, as well as Central Asia and Iran, were brought in to meet the demands of the project

The facade of the mausoleum is made Makrana marble, India’s finest quality marble, shipped from Rajasthan. This marble is known for its translucency which allows it to transmit light and give it its unique glow. It’s inlaid with a variety of stones. The most extravagant include agates, blue lapis, bloodstone, orange carnelian, and garnet.

You’ll also see calligraphy on the mausoleum. There are 99 names of God encrypted in calligraphy on the sides of the tomb, including “O Noble, O Magnificent, O Majestic, O Glorious, ….”.

The gates and other structures, which are made mostly of red sandstone, are also inlaid with semi precious gems. This red of the sandstone next to the white marble creates a striking balance of color.

In the years of the mid 17th century when the Taj Mahal was built, the cost was equal to about 32 billion Rupees, which equates to over 1 billion US dollars.

Unfortunately, Shah Jahan’s grief and devotion to the Taj Mahal cost him his empire. He became ill in 1657 and his sons started making plans for his ultimate death, deciding who would overtake the empire. Aurangzeb was victorious, and despite the return of Shah Jahan’s health, Aurangzeb declared him incompetent and disposed him at Agra Fort until his death. He died there in 1666 and was buried beside Mumtaz in the mausoleum.

As the Taj Mahal was never intended as his burial place, the placement of the tombs in the mausoleum is not symmetrical. But now, Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz rest together in eternity.

Taj Mahal Through Jawab Doorway

What To Wear To The Taj Mahal

The dress code in India is more conservative than western countries, so it’s best to follow this and cover shoulders and legs to the knee. There is, however, no formal dress code that I could find anywhere. Respecting the local culture is always the best option.

If you want to wear something more western when visiting the Taj Mahal, bring a shawl or wrap for covering up when walking around. You can always take it off briefly for photos.

If you plan to visit in the heat of the day, a hat is a good idea, and don’t forget to apply sunscreen.

Taj Mahal From East Side Gardens

How To Get To The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is located in Agra, in the state of Uttar Pradesh and there are several ways to get there.

By Car

The Taj Mahal is located about 141 miles (228 km) south of Indira Gandhi Airport. Online maps state the travel time from Indira Gandhi Airport to the Taj Mahal is 3 1/2 hours, but traffic can have a huge impact on this. It’s best to leave 4 to 5 hours. Also, there are no rest stops or even gas stations once outside the big cities of Agra and Delhi. There are tanker trucks you can purchase fuel from in an emergency, and there are ambulances placed at set locations in case of emergency. That’s about it!

The City Palace of Jaipur (in the heart of the old town) is 149 miles (240 km) west of the Taj Mahal. Online maps state the drive is 4 1/2 hours, but it can easily take longer with traffic. Leave at least 5 or 6 hours to be safe. On this route, there will be stops that you can make for snacks and gas.

Cars are not allowed within 1 km of the Taj Mahal. My accommodation was a 4-minute walk from the Taj Mahal. Their website stated that taxis may not be able to drive all the way to Joey’s Agra. I was mentally prepared to hire a rickshaw driver at a certain point, but supposedly the policeman waved us inside as Joey’s had told them in advance I was arriving.

How did I get to the Taj Mahal? I used a taxi from Jaipur as I was nervous about using trains solo. My accommodation was very helpful with arranging this with a trusted driver. They also found two other people to join me, so we split the cost. My third was $13 for the 5-6 hour drive (which is very reasonable!). If I had paid the for the entire ride myself, it would have been $39, which is still reasonable.

By Train

Most trains from Delhi to Agra take about 4 hours. There are some semi-high speed trains. The Gatimaan Express is 1 hour and 40 minutes, leaving New Delhi at 8:10 AM and arriving at Agra Cantt Railway Station at 9:50. Another popular air conditioned option leaves New Delhi at 6 AM and arrives at Agra Cantt (short for Cantonment) at 7:50.

These trains book weeks in advance, so if this is your plan, make sure to book early. Seat 61 does a great job of explaining how to book train tickets in India. I would read it thoroughly before booking or use a travel agent for safety reasons.

The Agra Cantt station is about 3.73 miles (6 km) or a 25 to 30 minute drive to the Taj Mahal. Remember that cars can not go all the way to the Taj Mahal, so this will add more time.

Trains from Jaipur to Agra run from just over 4 hours to 6 hours.


There are no direct flights from Indira Ghandi International Airport (DEL) to Agra Airport (ARG). The minimum flight time is around 5 hours, with most flights taking longer. Costs run from about $100-200.

There are also no direct flights from Jaipur Airport to Agra, with flight time minimums of about 7 hours. Costs for these also run from about $100-200.

Agra airport is about 9 km from the Taj Mahal, taking 20-minutes or so depending on traffic. Of course, remember that you can only reach the Taj Mahal by rickshaw or on foot. Rickshaws the entire way will take longer, as will transferring at a certain point, or walking.

If you do decide to visit the Taj Mahal as a day trip, it is possible, but quite hectic. Plus, you will need to deal with the crowds as you will not be able to enter super early.

Day Trips To The Taj Mahal

Whether you arrive via car, taxi, train, or plane, you can always arrange to have a driver or guide pick you up and take you to the Taj Mahal through a travel agent.

You may also be able to add in a trip to Agra Fort as well, before taking the train back, but it makes for a long hectic day. Agra Fort is quite large, so you’ll want to spend a couple hours exploring it.

There are other sites to see in Agra, however, that you will miss on a day trip. In addition to Agra Fort, there’s also Itmad-ud-Daula tomb, Akbar Tomb, Mehta Bagh gardens, and more.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my tips for visiting the Taj Mahal. If you have any comments or additions, please add a note below.

Want To See More Of India?

India has so many incredible destinations. In addition to the Taj Mahal, I also visited a Jaipur, known as the pink city. The sumptuous palaces and forts here are incredible, and their history is captivating. Just a 5 to 6 hour drive west of Agra, I really recommend a stop here.

Also, as I visited India to see a wedding in lovely Palakkad, I spent time touring the beautiful State of Kerala, which is on India’s southwestern tip.

Kochi, called the Queen of the Arabian Sea, is an excellent place to spend a day to two there. This multicultural city in India is the first city that Europeans stepped foot in. Visit here to explore old-world colonial architecture, its renowned Chinese fishing nets, and a fascinating history.

If you have time, the Kerala backwaters, south of Kochi, are a great nature retreat. These peaceful backwaters are a vast network of lakes, lagoons, and canals lined with palm trees stretching from Kochi, all the way down to Kollam.

Munnar is another top destination in Kerala, with stunning, brilliant green tea plantations on rolling hills leading up to the incredible views at its hill stations and mountain peaks. There are views so beautiful, this area is sometimes called the Kashmir of South India.

From Palakkad, I also took a day trip to Adiyogi, a giant statue of the God Shiva represented as Adiyogi, which means the first yogi, is in Tamil Nadu, which is east of Kerala. If you are on a quest for inner well-being, transformation and empowerment, this is an excellent place to add to your itinerary.

Hello! I resigned from a corporate career in product development to explore the world. Although my goal was to travel for a year, 8 years later, I’ve been honored to have explored more than 60 gorgeous countries and met some unbelievably amazing people. Our world truly is a beautiful place! Follow me into the gorgeous unknown by subscribing below. You’ll receive details on fabulous destinations, comprehensive travel guides, travel tips and tidbits, and information on travel trends, like experiential, sustainable, and transformational travel. Where is your next gorgeous unknown? Julie

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