The 7 Wonders of the World contest was organized in 2007 and allowed to vote for what would be designated as the wonders of our modern world. The Taj Mahal made its entry alongside the Chinese Wall, the Colosseum or Machu Picchu. I had to visit it during my stay in India, even if it was not on my basic itinerary in Madhya Pradesh. I already knew that I had few chances to go wrong, but today I am sure that it was a detour that was really worth it. I tell you my impressions on my visit of this marvel as well as my good plans to enjoy it in the best conditions.

Some figures on the Taj Mahal

6 000 000 visitors per year

22 years of work

20,000 workers participated in the construction

It would have cost 32 million Rupees, which would correspond nowadays with inflation to 1 billion euros

How to get there?

The Taj Mahal has the particularity of being in a rather “remote” place in India. But it is not for all that difficult of access since many transports (bus, train…) allow you to reach the city or it is located: Agra. Once there, you just have to take a taxi or rickshaw.

I decided to go there from New Delhi by train and to stay there for two days in order to visit the site as well as the various points of view that can be found around.

Its history

As you can imagine, the Taj Mahal is a building with a fascinating history. I will not go into details but here are some elements that will allow you to better understand this magical place.

The Taj Mahal is in fact a mausoleum built by the Mughal Muslim emperor Shah Jahan in honor of his wife: Mumtaz Mahal. The story goes that they were madly in love, a rare occurrence at the time for people of their rank, and that it was while giving birth to their 14th child that Mumtaz Mahal unfortunately died.

She made Shah Jahan promise to remain faithful to her and to build a small tomb in her memory. He did so in the most beautiful way by building the largest mausoleum in the world.

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Legend even has it that once the work was finished, the emperor ordered that the hands of the 20,000 workers who had worked on the site be cut off so that they would not one day reproduce a building of such beauty…

Visit the Taj Mahal

Practical information

Price : 1100 Rupees
+ 200 Rupees to visit the Mausoleum

Opening : 30 minutes before sunrise

Closing: 30 minutes before sunset

Days: Every day except Friday

To Know

  • You can buy your tickets online on the following official websites:
    www.asiagracircle.in
    <a href=”https://asi.payumoney.com/#/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>asi.payumoney.com
    I strongly recommend it, it’s much more convenient and it’s a bit cheaper (50 rupees) than buying it on the spot. Make sure you choose the right time of arrival when you want to visit the Taj.
  • A ticket is valid for 3 hours officially. It is enough to visit the site and I stayed a little longer without the guard at the exit making any remark (he still asks for your ticket to validate it again on the way out).
  • Bags are not allowed! Don’t take a backpack with you and for photographers, no tripods like in many sites in India.
  • The Taj Mahal is free for children under 15 years old, remember to take an ID card

Passage à New Delhi avant de prendre le train pour AgraPassage à New Delhi avant de prendre le train pour Agra

The arrival

The site opens 30 minutes before sunrise but the queue starts to form in front of the doors well before. I advise you to arrive at least 30 minutes before the opening at one of the gates (East or West, the South gate is only for exits), and this for several reasons:

  • The Taj Mahal is one of the most visited places in the world, by going at the opening, you will avoid the crowd that is observable
  • The colors are just beautiful and seeing the first rays of sunlight hitting the dome of the mausoleum is a magical moment. It is a show that you will not be able to see in the evening as the Taj closes 30 minutes before sunset, before the last light.
  • The mist can sometimes be present and add a mystical atmosphere to the place. A phenomenon that does not occur in the afternoon or evening.
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Cars are forbidden for 500 meters around the Taj Mahal, so taxis and rickshaws cannot take you directly in front of the entrance, so take that into account when you go there.

Where to take the best pictures?

Once you arrive at the Taj Mahal through one of the two gates, you will be obliged to go through the same main gate which leads to the alleyway leading to the mausoleum. This is where many tourists stop to take pictures.

I advise you to continue to my favorite sport. If you arrive in the morning when it opens, there may be no one there yet and you will feel like you have the Taj Mahal to yourself. Just follow the alley and take a left (when you face the Taj Mahal) to get to the mosque that borders the mausoleum. Once there, take off your shoes and enter the building to get the view of the mausoleum from one of the huge doors. Here’s what you might get:

Alternative views

In addition to the visit of the Taj Mahal, I strongly advise you to go around the different points that can be found all around the site. This will allow you toenjoy it without having hundreds of tourists around you while having a unique angle on the magnificent mausoleum. I recommend 3 of them:

The park

You can check the exact coordinates of the viewpoint by clicking here.

The tower

There is a tower located on the banks of the Yamuna that gives an awesome view of the Taj Mahal, especially at sunset. It is a bit difficult to access, so I invite you to read this article: How to find the perfect view point of the Taj Mahal. It is in English but has all the necessary details (map, coordinates etc…) to find the tower.

The place is “guarded” by locals who will ask you for money to pass. You can give them a small ticket, but not more than 100 rupees.

You can check the exact coordinates of the viewpoint by clicking here.

LA vue depuis la tour qui se situe en haut du taj mahalLA vue depuis la tour qui se situe en haut du taj mahal

The rock

For those who are a bit adventurous and want to find a very original view of the Taj, I recommend a place that a local told me about on the banks of the Yamuna. There are no directions and you may have to cut across the fields but I assure you it’s worth it.

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I’m sharing with you the exact coordinates of the place: click here to display them on Google Maps.

Le rocher qui donne sur le Taj MahalLe rocher qui donne sur le Taj Mahal

Where to stay?

If you decide to stay a few days to visit the Taj Mahal and do the various walks around it, I obviously advise you to find an accommodation in Agra. The city has no shortage of hotels or hostels, for my part I stayed at the Ekaa Villa & Kitchen hotel. I don’t often share the places where I slept, but this one is really special. It is already impeccable in terms of cleanliness, showers and restaurants (believe me, when you go to hotels with lukewarm or cold showers in India, it counts a lot). The policy of the hotel is also to work with local artisans for all their products: soap, drinks, furniture etc… a great initiative that deserves to be highlighted.

It is a bit expensive for India but I think it is really worth it. Don’t forget to taste their food, it’s just excellent

As you could see, I was amazed by the Taj Mahal and I think that despite all the pictures that we can see from this building, one can only be surprised by the beauty of the site when one is there. I hope you find my tips useful, feel free to share your best views of the Taj Mahal in the comment space

Trip realized in collaboration with Shanti Travel. My favourites & recommendations are of course the result of my own appreciations