After some relaxing days in Goa, we slowly made our way to the bigger cities, including Bombay and Agra, where we visited the Taj Mahal.
The Taj Mahal is definitely a must-do when in India. It took 22 years and 20,000 workers to build this building. I will tell you everything you need to know about visiting the Taj Mahal in order to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.
Arrival to the Taj Mahal
We made a day trip from New Delhi to Agra. You have several options to do so. Either by train, car or bus. We decide on the car and took around 3-4h to arrive in Agra.
If that is too much driving in one day for you, then you can also spend a few nights in Agra, so you shorten the travel time.
Arriving by Train
If you decide to travel by train, it is best to leave from the New Delhi Railway Station (NDLS) near the Paharganj area. The stop in Agra is called Agra Cantt (AGC) and it takes about 2-3h.
The fastest way to arrive is to choose a train early in the morning, from 6 o’clock onwards. Tickets can vary from 6-15 €, depending on whether you choose 1st class with air conditioning or 2nd class without air conditioning.
Arriving by Bus
Arriving by Car
By car, it is not much more expensive, although you book a private driver. It is especially worthwhile if you are a group of 3-4 people. The advantage is that you can take breaks whenever you want.
The Story of Taj Mahal
Let me tell you more about the story behind the Taj Mahal and why it actually is so famous. When the third wife of Shah Jahan, Mumtaz Mahal, gave birth to their 14th child, she passed away, even though some sources state differently.
In honor of her, since sources state that she was his favorite of all wives, this mausoleum was built. Inside, both of them, as well as their child, are buried. The Taj Mahal is a building of LOVE which also shows in the name. “Mahal” can be translated as Palace and “Taj” means either crown or is a short form of his wife’s first name (MumTAZ= Taj).
Important Facts about visiting Taj Mahal
So you do not have unpleasant surprises when visiting Taj Mahal, here are some tips for you.
There is a long list of items that can not be taken to visit the Taj Mahal. Some a bit more curious than others.
Personally, I was not allowed to take my selfie stick with me. However, you can rent lockers or give it to locals in the stores for a small fee.
There are several entrance tickets for visiting the Taj Mahal. You can choose between “Higher Value” and “General” tickets. The tourists usually take the “Higher Value” ticket, which costs around 10€ (750RS).
Accordingly, there are also different queues, where you then have to get in line. While with the “Higher Value” ticket you will be in within a few minutes, the “General” ticket can take a while. The same principle applies to visit the mausoleum.
Photos with Locals
Indians themselves travel from many parts of the country to visit the Taj Mahal. Therefore, it is common that these people have never seen a foreigner before.
I realized very soon that we were an attraction ourselves. Be prepared! Many Indians will politely ask you if they can take a picture with you.
First a photo of you and her/him, then with the mother, the father, then both, the children, only the men, only the women and so on…my advice to you: You better keep on smiling.