India's pride and joy
[Tried & Tested] Insider Tips For The Best Taj Mahal Photos And Experience
This monumental attraction needs no introduction even for those who haven’t been to India. The Taj Mahal was built in the 1600s and today stands as a testament of one of the greatest love stories ever to exist.
Getting around in India can be incredibly complex and when you’re planning to visit a popular attraction like the Taj Mahal, it’s important to make arrangements beforehand. We Klook-ed our way to this world wonder and here’s our own tips for making the most of your trip there.
Klook your way to the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort
Travel by express train from Delhi to Agra and back and enjoy meals aboard the train! This is also a great way to experience local commuting between cities in India.
Enjoy hotel pick-up and drop-off from New Delhi, followed by a guided tour of two of India’s most prominent landmarks - the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort.
Enjoy pick-up and drop-off from Jaipur - India's pink city!
The Taj Mahal Story
India's pride and joy
The story goes that one of India’s great Mughal emperors Shah Jahan commissioned the Taj Mahal in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who passed on while giving birth to their 14th child in 1631. The Shah and his wife lie in rest in the inner chambers
Construction of this monumental structure began in 1632 and lasted a total of 22 years, mirrored by the number of domes found at the main gateway to the Taj Mahal. Skilled marble artisans were brought in from Persia to work on the details of the structure, with white marble brought in from Rajasthan, and precious stones like jade and crystal from neighbouring China.
The fact that a structure of this scale was constructed well before the dawn of modern tools is a miracle on its own. If you only have time for one activity in India, let it be visiting the Taj Mahal.
Insider tips for the Taj Mahal
Needless to say, the Taj Mahal is the top tourist attraction in Agra so it is important to visit very early in the day to avoid the crowds and the notorious North Indian heat.
Doors open at approximately 6am every morning and you’ll want to get in line before that. We reached the gates of the Taj Mahal at 5.30am and there were approximately 15 people ahead of us. Once the gates open, you’ll need to clear security (which can be quite a lengthy process if you carry many items) before you can proceed.
Most hotels are located along the stretch of road leading up to the East entrance of the Taj Mahal. This entrance is most commonly used by tourists and is therefore the most crowded one.
Just a short walk or drive away is the West entrance where the ticketing booth is located. Tickets can be purchased online beforehand but if you’re Klook-ing your visit to the Taj Mahal, you won’t have to worry about queuing for your own tickets as your guide will purchase them on your behalf.
It’s a flat rate of 1000 INR or 15 USD to enter the Taj Mahal.
For Klook tours, this amount has to be paid separately in cash on the day of your visit. Your guide will then purchase the entrance tickets on your behalf while you wait in line.
Many items are prohibited on the grounds of the Taj Mahal (matchboxes, lighters, cigarettes, food, chewing gum, etc) so it is strongly recommended that you bring as few items as possible to avoid queueing in line for security screening.
The only items we had on us were some cash, our passports, cameras and water. If you can avoid bringing a bag altogether, this will save you a lot of time.
Upon entering the main compound of the Taj Mahal, you’ll notice throngs of tourists gathering right inside the gate. You’ll want to head straight for the white marble platform in the middle while it’s still relatively empty in order to capture the reflection of the Taj Mahal on the water feature.
Alternatively there is also a decent photo spot to your left when facing the Taj Mahal. This gives wider views of the structure itself and also lets you take nice full-length photos and group shots.
The Taj Mahal is a sacred site and it’s important that everyone does their part in preserving one of the wonders of the world. Your Klook guide would’ve provided you with shoe covers that you must put on when venturing into the main dome of the Taj Mahal.
This helps to keep potentially harmful chemicals and other substances from damaging the pristine white marble thed Taj Mahal is predominantly made up of. You can throw your shoe covers away at one of the bins after your visit.
What you see is only 20% of the entire Agra Fort
The Agra Fort or Red Fort is also another key attraction in the city of Agra. Klook tours will cover visits to both the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort. Same rules apply for things allowed on the grounds of the fort, and visitors will have to pay INR 550 (= USD 8.25) for entry.
Origins of the Agra Fort are tied closely to that of the Taj Mahal - Shah Jahan (who built the Taj Mahal) was eventually deposed and later incarcerated in the fort by his own son Aurangzeb, where he remained till his death.
It is also noteworthy that visitors are only able to visit up to 20% of the Agra Fort for the other 80% is currently being used by the Indian military.
The Agra Fort is built mainly with red sandstone and white marble housing multiple rooms, spacious meeting areas and even a mosque.
Ancient baths are also a common feature in the fort, with the Emperor’s own bath tub in full display in the garden courtyard. The wider pool made of white marble was likely meant for the ladies of the court to cool down in the heat.
The largest and most prominent space is the Diwan-i-Aam where Mughal emperors often held meetings with the royal court and their wives, with the public in attendance.
It is said that Shah Jahan spent his last days in one of these marble balconies overlooking the Taj Mahal over the horizon.