The highlight of the journey to discover the city of Agra is the world wonder Taj Mahal, where any visitor wants to once see with his own eyes and touch the monumental architecture recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site in 1983. Today, I will share with you 10 tips for visiting Taj Mahal (Taj Mahal travel tips) what I got after my trip to one the wonders of the world through my Taj Mahal blog (Taj Mahal travel blog), especially including Taj Mahal photography tips, Taj Mahal photo shoot with the best spots to help you shoot stunning photos of Taj Mahal.
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Taj Mahal blog: The story of the Taj Mahal
Taj Mal is a vestige of a most beautiful and sacred love story that proves the so-called “Eternal Love”.
The Taj Mahal is the mausoleum of King Shah Jahan, the 5th king of the Mughal Empire, who ruled India for 30 years (1628 – 1658), and his beloved wife, Empress Mahal Mumtaz.
Mahal Mumtaz is not the only wife of Shah Jahan. He also had two other wives, both for political reasons, and Mahal Mumtaz was Shah Jahan’s only true love.
During the 19 years of husband and wife relationship, Mahal Mumtaz has always stood by her husband in battle and discussed politics, even when she was pregnant. 14 children are the result of their love, but unfortunately the last daughter was born also when Mahal Mumtaz died forever, at the age of 39.
Before her death, Empress Mahal Mumtaz had four requests:
1. Let’s get married again.
2. Take care and love their children.
3. Let’s build a temple worthy of their love.
4. Visit the grave every year on the day of the Empress’ death.
And the faithful king fulfilled that promise with a magnificent mausoleum with pure white and gentle like this.
I had 3 days and 2 nights in Agra, of which I spent a full day just hanging around taking photos at different views of the Taj Mahal.
Honestly, only when looking from afar, you can really see how majestic and magnificent of the Taj Mahal is. An outstanding architectural, monumental work by the Yamuna River.
And to have the best “value for money” photos of the Taj Mahal, I will share with you 10 extremely useful tips below from my own experience. Now, let’s check out the Taj Mahal travel tips with 10 tips for visiting Taj Mahal including Taj Mahal photography tips.
Before the trip, I searched a lot of guides about the beautiful Taj Mahal shooting locations, but did not find any detailed sharing. Even when I send messages on Instagram to ask famous travel bloggers where they used to check in for instructions, but the result is only a faint “seen” line.
That’s why I hope the following detailed sharing about beautiful angles for Taj Mahal photography tips will help you a bit.
1. Choose a hotel (Taj Mahal photography tips #1)
Most visitors often choose a hotel near the West Gate or the East Gate to easy walk to Taj Mahal for convenience and close. However, the big downside is that most of the hotels near the Taj Mahal are of very poor quality, dirty, dusty and rundown than what you see on their advertising pictures.
Therefore, if you want to enter the Taj Mahal early in the morning, there is no other way than staying close. In the case of staying far away, you can arrange a tuktuk to pick you up early the next day, or catch it on the street, but at 4 or 5 am, you can hardly see a tuktuk.
One of the best hotel near Taj Mahal you can choose to stay is The Oberoi Amarvilas (Agoda.com or Booking.com).
You can refer to more some good hotels near Taj Mahal on Agoda.com or Booking.com.
2. Buy tickets in advance (Taj Mahal travel tips #2)
Tickets can be purchased in advance through the Taj Mahal website HERE, or through the Ministry of Culture India page HERE.
The listed ticket price for foreigners is 1,050 Rupees, about USD 1.95.
Buying tickets in advance saves you time in line. Even when I arrived at more than 4 am waiting for the ticket sales to open, there were already a lot of people queuing up early to buy.
On my ticket, the opening time was 6:30am – 9:30am, which means you are only allowed to visit the Taj Mahal for exactly 3 hours. If you stay longer, you will have to pay extra. And always remember to keep your ticket until you exit the gate, because at any time there may be a security guard asking for your ticket.
The fact that at 5:30am you will be allowed go inside after at least 30 minutes in line, the security check was very thorough. They empty your bag to check it like before you boarding on an airplane. Only the camera is allowed and everything else has to be kept outside, they don’t care where your belongings keep.
That day I brought some ginger candies to suck on because of my throat was pained, some cold medicine, a book and a camera. As a result, they rummaged through my pockets, removed everything else, not even a single pill I asked to bring in to take it is also not allow. Only 1 camera was allowed in.
The most inconvenient is that there was no locker to store belongings that are not allowed to be brought in. I went back to the gate, hid it in an alcove, but when I returned it was already “flying without wings”.
Please note, leave it all at the hotel to avoid inconvenience like me.
Important note: The Taj Mahal is close on Fridays. So, you should pay attention this to arrange your schedule.
3. Get up early (Taj Mahal photo shoot #3)
The night before entering the Taj Mahal, go to bed early to recharge for tomorrow. Calculate the travel distance so that it is reasonable. Around 5 am, being right at the ticket gate is the best.
The Taj Mahal has two most beautiful moments: sunset and sunrise. However, spend the sunset to see this temple from afar will be more enjoyable.
Moreover, it is only early in the morning that you can shoot as few people as possible, and at other times, people are as crowded as the “ants”, dusty in groups of people, most of which are Indians.
4. Shot through the arch
I spent quite a bit of time to survey all the corners of the Taj Mahal before coming here through photos of travel bloggers, including Doyoutravel’s highlights.
Lesson learned from the photos is to go to the West and East gates first, right after entering the Taj Mahal. At this time, most people are taking pictures in front of the facade of the mausoleum, which is the South gate, so the angles of the West and East gates are still deserted.
The photo through the arch, looking out into the distance to see the entire main architecture of the Taj Mahal is an extremely classic angle of any photographer visiting this wonder.
You should align the frame layout on what position you will stand to pose, the camera angle. And then…waiting for the background to be empty of tourists. The moment the background is empty to take a satisfactory photo is not easy because the number of people visiting the Taj Mahal is very crowded.
When the background is just empty, you immediately take the opportunity to shoot.
The Yamuna River was calm in the early morning. Across the river is Mehtab Bagh Park. A very beautiful angle to capture the Taj Mahal from this river is that you hire a boat from the locals around to let them take you to the middle of the river, taking pictures back to the Taj Mahal.
Unfortunately, the day I was looking for a boatman, they said there was a ban on taking tourists to the river.
The Taj Mahal is considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements of Persian, Turkish, Indian, and Islamic architectural styles.
The original name of the temple was Tat Bibica Rauza, meaning “the burial place of the queen of the heart”, later it was named Taj Mahal, which stands for the title of the woman remembered in the palace, the empress Mumtaz Mahal, meaning “pride of the palace”.
6. Masjid Bhukhari
Masjid Bhukhari is a small residential area near the Muslim tombs, located next to the Taj Mahal at the east gate. From this place, you look towards the Taj Mahal at sunset, which is very beautiful.
In fact, at first I wanted to find the watchtower located above the boy in orange pants, the right cover of the picture above. But that area was banned to enter.
While I was quite disappointed that the Taj Mahal was photographed beautifully from that watchtower, I suddenly had the idea of looking for the boys who lived around here, because only children who wandered around would know some strange places to take pictures.
After asking three or four children about it, no one knew, finally but I also met the boy wearing a leather jacket (fourth from the left). I gave his the picture and said that I wanted to find similar places, he agreed to a fee of 800 Rupees (about $10). I said, Ok!
The boy led me into the residential area, climbed a field full of graves and kept saying “Holy” and asking to take off my shoes to enter the cemetery.
Along the way to Masjid Bhukhari, many other curious boys joined together to form a group of “small elves”, very childish and happy.
And as you can see, from the cemetery of Masjid Bhukhari looking towards the Taj Mahal in a sunset is indeed indescribably beautiful.
Near the Masjid Bhukhari cemetery there is a ruin area, what appears to be a collapsed city gate. We held hands to climb to the top to cool off and see the Taj Mahal.
Looking at the Taj Mahal from the ruins, your photo will highlight the contrast between the collapsed soil and the magnificent structure in the distance. A very beautiful location to capture the Taj Mahal and enjoy the cool breeze that I have hardly seen anyone taking this angle on Instagram.
8. Watchtower by the river
This is not the watchtower I originally intended to go to, but after groping for a while, I discovered this beautiful angle spot.
It is also located near the eastern gate of the Taj Mahal, the end near the Yamuna River.
You crept through the thick bushes, finding a residential area with a very large iron fence gate. At first, they didn’t let me in because it was a residential area with a locked gate.
But if I pay 500 Rupees, I will get in for 30 minutes, the woman sitting in the hammock at the door negotiated. Of course I nodded without thinking.
Didn’t loss effort to come here. The old watchtower with a typical dome of Mughal architecture is located right on the edge of the Yamuna river, looking in the distance is the majestic Taj Mahal.
A picture frame full of fairy colors and so beautiful that I didn’t want to leave this place, I wanted to linger while the children asked me to go back or else they will be locked in the gate.
Until now, looking at this photo, I still feel emotional and can’t believe I’ve been here before, I’m the one who sat in this beautiful scene.
9. Rooftop cafe
A very popular rooftop cafe in Agra to view the Taj Mahal from afar is Hotel Saniya.
This is actually a small hotel, located near the Taj Mahal and has a terrace that is both a cafe and restaurant serving chicken dishes.
Although it is not a beautiful angle to take pictures of the Taj Mahal, it is not a bad idea to sit here and relax, watching this mausoleum.
10. Mehtab Bagh
Mehtab Bagh, across the Yamuna River, is a large park. The park is nothing special other than overlooking the Taj Mahal.
From here, you can take pictures of the Taj Mahal in the morning is the most beautiful, the light is reflected on the calm river covered with dew.
The entrance ticket is 250 Rupees.
And so, with detailed sharing of hotels, sightseeing guides and most importantly, places to take pictures of the most unique Taj Mahal.
I hope you will have the most wonderful and memorable photos when you come to this wonder of the world.
Have a nice trip!
Taj Mahal travel blog: Further information of Taj Mahal
Address: Dharmapuri, Forest Colony, Tajganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282001, India
Hours: 6 AM to 7 PM every day, except on Fridays.
Phone: +91 562 222 7261
Architect: Ustad Ahmad Lahori
Construction started: 1631
Height: 73 m
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Taj Mahal and Agra you can refer to
- Taj Mahal Fast Track Entry Ticket
- Itmad-ud-Daulah Ticket in Agra
- Taj Mahal and Agra Private Day Tour by Express Train from Delhi
- Taj Mahal and Agra Fort Day Tour from Delhi
- Taj Mahal and Agra Fort Private Half Day Tour
- Walking Tour Of Agra City
- Sunrise Tour Of Taj Mahal and Agra Fort from Delhi
- Taj Mahal and Agra Fort Day Tour from Jaipur
- Private Sunrise Tour Of Taj Mahal and Agra Fort from Delhi
- Private Tour Of Taj Mahal + Agra Fort From Agra
- Agra Street Food Crawl
Read more: Agra travel blog — The fullest Agra guide, itinerary & what to do in Agra for 3 days? and India guide here.