These tips for visiting the Taj Mahal are a part of this guide to the perfect one day in Agra and this itinerary on how to spend a perfect 2 weeks in Rajasthan.
Being one of the modern 7 wonders of the world, you can imagine that the Taj Mahal gets a ton of visitors every day.
Well, there are tons of people visiting the Taj Mahal every day except Friday. The Taj Mahal is closed on Friday.
Also be sure to see how to spend your days in Udaipur (city of lakes), Jaipur (pink city), Jodhpur (blue city), Jaisalmer (golden city), the Thar Desert (camel safari), Rajasthan (land of kings, forts, and palaces), the rest of Agra, and… the Kerala backwaters!
What are some things to know before going to the Taj Mahal?
Taj Mahal visit tips
1. When planning out your Agra itinerary, you’ll also want to add in some buffer room for getting into the Taj Mahal
This can include things like:
- Walking to the ticket booth
- Walking to the Taj Mahal gate entrance
- Security check
- Checking a bag into a luggage storage locker
These things may not seem like a lot, but the time can add up as you are walking around outside the grounds of the Taj Mahal.
2. There are separate lines for foreigners and Indians
At both the ticket booth and the entry gate, there are separate lines for foreigners and Indians.
3. The lines may not be as long as they seem. (So don’t let the tour guides let you believe that they are!)
Are the lines long at the Taj Mahal?!
When I went, the separate line for foreigners was pretty much non-existent.
I was there around noon on a Monday in the month of March, and I went through the south gate of the Taj Mahal.
But the long lines really all depends on when you go.
When you first arrive at an entry gate of the Taj Mahal, you may feel overwhelmed by all the people you see and the incredibly long lines.
You will likely have people approach you telling you that you can pay them to skip ahead to the front of the line.
But there may not be a reason to pay for this “service.”
So first check how long the line actually is before considering a tour that includes the “skip the line” service.
Just because you see an intimidating long line doesn’t necessarily mean the line will be long for you!
You may have the experience when you visit the Taj Mahal of finding really long lines for foreigners and short lines for Indians.
But just know that just because a tour guide offers you a tour to skip the line and points at a long line, it doesn’t mean that the line you’ll be taking is actually long.
4. If you don’t take a backpack or bag, you can get visit the Taj Mahal quicker!
Are backpacks allowed in the Taj Mahal?
I had a small backpack that I took with me to the Taj Mahal. (There’s a picture below of my backpack that I’m wearing in front of the Taj Mahal.)
Bringing a backpack did mean that I had to wait in an extra line so that the backpack could be checked by security before entry to the Taj Mahal.
The security bag check is combined for Indians and foreigners, but I didn’t think the wait time for this was that bad.
If you don’t have a bag that needs to be scanned, this can be totally skipped!
And that means… quicker access to the Taj Mahal!
5. If you bring a prohibited item with you, there’s an easy solution. (There’s a luggage storage area.)
As a global icon and national monument, security at the Taj Mahal is tight.
Guards with guns were all around. Even on the train to Agra from Jaipur, officers with guns were frequently walking through.
I went through the Taj Mahal security check and had a flashlight that’s not allowed in my backpack (oops) so I had to walk over to the luggage storage area, then walk back again.
This probably added a total of around 20 minutes of time.
I was happy to have this easy solution, but if you’re in a rush trying to make the most of your time with just one day in Agra, you may consider it to be somewhat of an inconvenience.
So make sure you know the rules of what is not allowed and what not to bring to the Taj Mahal.
If needed, you can head to the luggage storage lockers before you go to the Taj Mahal.
This way you won’t have any prohibited items that will cause you a delay in getting in.
If you do take a backpack or purse, you also may have some things in there that you don’t think twice about.
Among the list of items that are prohibited at the Taj Mahal include phone chargers, headphones, and tobacco products.
6. It costs 20 rupees (30 cents) to check a backpack
The lockers that I went to were located to the far left of the ticket booth of the south gate. There are both lockers and a bag rack. You can store your big backpack here.
7. If you are forced to go check your bag from the entry gate, you don’t have to go back through the line when you return
This is my daypack that I was allowed to carry into the Taj Mahal.
When I went back to the entry gate, the security guy allowed me to go straight through the gate instead of the proper line.
Although in my case there was no line anyway.
But in case this happens to you when there IS a line, you don’t have to worry about standing in line all over again!
You will have to go back through the security check again though.
Then once you finally get through the Taj Mahal entry gate…
What you came for!
What to do for the rest of your time in Agra after the Taj Mahal
If you don’t want to leave Agra immediately after seeing the Taj Mahal, see more places to visit in Agra beyond the Taj Mahal.
Among those places, the Agra Fort can be a fort worth visiting when you’re backpacking the Golden Triangle.
And for more things to do in Agra, try going to a garden so you can see the Taj Mahal from the back, or to a rooftop restaurant for views of the Taj Mahal from a distance too!
HAPPY TAJ MAHAL VISIT!
- 3 days in Udaipur (city of lakes)
- 2 days in Jodhpur (blue city)
- 3 days in Jaisalmer (golden city)
- 3 days in Jaipur (pink city)
- 1 day in Agra
The need-to-know India travel tips!If it's your first trip to India, be sure to see these tips for getting around India on a budget, and more! Also be sure to see how to spend one month in South India and 2 weeks in North India, as well as tips for the Golden Triangle. And, overnight sleeper bus travel isn't so bad, and neither is traveling in general class on the train!
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India tourist visa tip!Access to India as a foreigner seems to be getting friendlier! There's an e-visa now and this visa fee is far less than it was before. See the current cost of an e-visa by selecting your country. That's a partner website to make the evisa application process less stressful - it's possible to apply on your own too. See about your options on how to get an e-visa for India.
Travel insurance for India - just in case!You get travel insurance hoping that you'll never have to use it. But if you do end up needing to use it, chances are that you will be VERY happy that you did get it! See how to figure out the cost of travel insurance for India.
How to book India train tickets online as a foreignerIf you don't want to go through the complicated process of setting up an IRCTC Indian railways account as a foreigner...
Then the most convenient way to buy train tickets online is through this booking website. I've used it, and it's super simple! You buy the ticket, and then show the electronic version on your phone once you're on the train. Compared to buying directly through an Indian ticket booking website (IRCTC account required) or directly at the train station in India, there is a small convenience fee, as well as a less flexible cancellation policy, though!
Retreats in IndiaFor relaxation and rejuvenation for health and wellness, see:
- Yoga retreats in India
- Ayurveda retreats in Kerala - ayurveda is basically healthy living through natural herbs and remedies, and Kerala is the birthplace of ayurveda!
Where to stay on the tourist trail in KeralaThese places basically go down the coast from north to south!
- Cochin: Try a homestay in the cute heritage area of Fort Kochi.
- Marari Beach: This is an "off-beat" location as Marari is mostly unknown to backpackers, but it can be a convenient stop to make between Cochin and Alleppey with chill laid back vibes. For an idea of what type of beach can be nearby, see my beach walk from Alleppey to Marari.
- Alleppey Beach:
- Funky Art Beach House again for chill vibes with a location among locals in a residential neighborhood
- And there's Zostel Alleppey too for another beach location to stay several days
- OR if Alleppey is a quick visit, try Dream Nest to be closer to town
- And see how to spend one day in Alleppey (short version: go for the backwaters village canoe tour instead of a houseboat!)
- Alleppey backwaters:
- Munroe Island: This is another generally kind of more off-beat location, and you can see a different part of the Kerala backwaters on a quiet island
- Varkala cliff: