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Taj Mahal

Last updated: 18 May, 2024

One of the world’s most beautiful buildings is not merely an exquisite tomb but a monument to love. The Taj Mahal was completed after two decades’ labour in 1653 by the great Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to entomb his wife, Mumtaz.

It stands at the head of formal gardens by the Yamuna River. The combination of milky-white marble (much of it inlaid with semi-precious stones, a technique known as pietra dura), a great bulbous dome and four slender minarets lend the mausoleum an astonishing almost ethereal beauty.

Admire it at your leisure – its well-kept gardens coax lingering, relaxed visits.

Mumtaz’s original resting place

What’s rather less well-known is that this isn’t Mumtaz’s original resting place. She died 22 years earlier in Burhanpur (Madhya Pradesh) while in labour, and was interred in a formal pleasure garden. The original – an all but forgotten and extremely modest ‘tomb’ – is still there, long empty since she was moved to Agra and eventually her final resting place in the Taj. Shah Jahan was inconsolable, mourned in seclusion for a year and his hair turned white.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 8+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

East of central Agra and just south of the Yamuna, the Taj’s subsidiary gateways all funnel visitors to the main entrance and its classic archway-framing view of the tomb itself.

The east gate is generally less crowded than the west one, while the south is closed until further notice.

While many visitors arrive on guided tours, independent travellers might wish to use on-the-spot local guides (whose quality varies wildly) or audio guides. Food is not allowed inside the grounds and expect heightened security checks.

Some of the most striking views of the Taj are from the Yamuna River itself or from Mehtab Bagh on its northern banks. River boats with boatmen can usually be found down by the north-eastern side though this appears to be rather ad hoc and unregulated – don’t expect a life jacket. The undulating nearby scrubland also offers good viewpoints.

For Mehtab Bagh (open sunrise to sunset), a part-restored 16th-century Mughal garden that aligns perfectly with the Taj’s profile, it’s a 7km drive to cross the Yamuna River and loop back to within 250m of the mausoleum.

When to do it

The Taj Mahal is open all year round, Saturday to Thursday, from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. It’s closed on Fridays.

Dawn and sunset lend the softest and most atmospheric light, with dawn also having fewer visitors.

October to April offers the most comfortable climate – but is the peak tourist season. May and June are hot and uncomfortable.

Five nights each month, the Taj opens for ‘Full Moon’ viewings between 8.30pm and 12.30am but you’ll need to book in advance.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Private Taj Mahal Tour from Delhi by Car

  • New Delhi

Travel comfortably in a private car from Delhi. Skip the crowd and the heat to watch the magnificent Taj Mahal. Later experience the heavenly interior of Red Fort or Baby Taj.

Price $5

Min age 0

Rating 4.93 / 5 [2963 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Private Sunrise Taj Mahal Tour from Delhi by Car - All Inclusive

  • New Delhi

Travel comfortably in a private car from Delhi. Skip the crowd and the heat to watch the magnificent Taj Mahal. Later experience the heavenly interior of Red Fort or Baby Taj.

Price $26

Min age 0

Rating 4.92 / 5 [1852 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
Website >

Private Sunrise Taj Mahal Trip from Delhi all Inclusive

  • New Delhi

*Private Day Trip to Agra Taj Mahal by AC Car or by AC Train. *Tour of Taj Mahal and Agra fort with experienced Guide. *Lunch at one of the best restaurants in Agra. (If you Choose the right option). *Entrance and Camera fees for Taj Mahal and Agra Fort inclusive (If you Choose the right option). *No time limit for any monuments so enjoys as long you want. *Flexible pick up and drop-off from Airport or Hotel in Delhi 

Price $110

Min age 0

Rating 4.93 / 5 [1378 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
Website >

Private Taj Mahal Tour from Delhi by Express Train - All Inclusive

  • New Delhi

Depart from Delhi NCR on the 90 minutes Gatimaan Express Train to Agra. Enjoy a private guided tour of The Taj Mahal, Agra Fort or Baby Taj. Return to Delhi by Train at 7:30 PM.

Price $20

Min age 0

Rating 4.87 / 5 [1089 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Website >

Delhi to Agra and Taj Mahal Private Day Trip by Express Train with Lunch

  • New Delhi

This tour gives a traveller value for money. Within an economic price the traveler will get to experience a train ride on one of the fastest train in India. The price includes almost everything like local transfers, tour expert, train tickets and of course delicious Indian lunch in one of the best restaurant of Agra city. This tour helps a traveller in saving time and money both.

Price $22

Min age 0

Rating 4.94 / 5 [942 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
Website >