The Taj Mahal is the tourist symbol of India. It is a must-see place on your visit to India. It is also considered one of the most reputed buildings within the Mughal architecture, which is a fusion between Persian, Muslim and Indian architecture. It was built between 1631 and 1648 in the city of Agra on the banks of the Yamuna River, by the Muslim emperor Shah Jahan, of the Mughal dynasty, in honor of his favorite wife.
In 1983, he was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired world heritage masterpieces.” In 2007 one of the New Seven Wonders of the Modern World was designated.
How to get to and visit the Taj Mahal?
India is a huge country and you can visit the Taj Mahal from many places, but the most common is New Delhi , the capital.
Visit the Taj Mahal by plane:
There are flights to Agra from the main cities of India and it is one of the most comfortable ways to get there. The flight from New Delhi will be 3 hours, while if you leave from Varanasi ( Varanasi ) you will arrive in just over an hour.
Visiting the Taj Mahal by train:
Trains from New Delhi to Agra take approximately 5 hours to arrive. On many occasions these trains stop for a long time halfway without clear explanation and lengthen the estimated time of arrival. Since April 2016 there is a “ high speed ” train that connects both cities in approximately 2 hours. This one has wifi and air conditioning. It is known as Gatiman Express and is much more comfortable to visit the Taj Mahal. It is a fairly economical option and allows you to be in contact with the local population. Either you can take the most famous Palace on Wheels train.
Visiting the Taj Mahal by bus or car:
If you plan to visit the Taj Mahal from New Delhi by road you will take approximately 4 hours. The roads in this section are in quite good condition, but the traffic can be chaotic. It is always advisable to leave the job of driving an expert to India and avoid complications.
How many entrance doors does the Taj Mahal have?
The Taj Mahal complex has 3 access doors:
The southern entrance (Sirhi Darwaza):
The door faces south, which overlooks the ancient Mumtazabad. It is the least common access, since it is located between the lane of Agra streets, although it is a good option if there is a queue at the west entrance.
The east entrance (Fatehabad Gate):
This door faces Fatehabad and is the furthest from the center of Agra. The ticket offices are 750 meters from the entrance to the Taj Mahal in the so-called “Shilpgram”.
The west entrance (Fatehpuri Gate):
It is the main entrance to the Taj Mahal and is oriented towards the center of the city of Agra. You can get there by walking if we stay nearby, or by tuk-tuk from anywhere in the city. It is very interesting to stay near any of the access doors.
Where is the entrance ticket purchased?
The office where to buy the tickets is about 500 meters from the entrance. From there there is a vehicle (similar to a tourist train) that will take us to the entrance to the Taj Mahal, since the passage of vehicles is restricted so as not to contaminate the area.
What is the schedule of the Taj Mahal?
The schedules range from sunrise to sunset, there are no defined fixed schedules. The best time to visit it is in the early hours of the morning or late in the afternoon, especially to take pictures of the place with an amazing sun. Another fact to keep in mind is the intense heat and the crowd, so if you go early in the morning it will be much better.
In addition, visiting the Taj Mahal with night illumination in the moonlight makes it more fascinating to contemplate such a majestic construction.
Useful information to visit the Taj Mahal:
Ticket offices open from sunrise to sunset, but it is important to know that every Friday they close.
The Taj Mahal closes every Friday, and access to the mosque is only for Muslims who are going to pray. So try not to match your trip to Agra with this date.
Together with the entrance, they will give you, free of charge, some plastics to access the main enclosure with shoes and a bottle of water.
Next to the entrance, many guides (official and not) will offer you their services. The decision to hire him or not is personal, but it is necessary to ensure that they are official and show your identification card.
The Taj Museum, inside the complex and located in the music house, opens from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free and shows a small exhibition of objects and history about the wonder.