Agra Taj Mahal Tour
Excited to visit the Taj Mahal? Have you gathered all the necessary information about the Agra Taj Mahal Tour? If not, then you have come to the right place as here we have discussed each and every single thing about the Taj Mahal in detail so that you don’t end up facing problems during the tour.
As you know that Taj Mahal is famous all around the world not only as one of the Seven Wonders of the World but also as one of the most famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is an ivory-white marble mausoleum, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the loving memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Moreover, it is also recognized as the epitome of love. In the words of Rabindranath Tagore, it is “a teardrop on the cheek of eternity” while Rudyard Kipling says that it is “the embodiment of all things pure”. It is the finest specimen of Mughal architecture in India. On the other hand, Sir Edwin Arnold describes it as “not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passions of an emperor’s love wrought in living stones”.
What does Taj Mahal mean?
The word “Taj” comes from the Persian language, meaning “Crown”, while “Mahal” is a short variant of Mumtaz Mahal, the formal name of Arjumand Banu Begum in the court, whose meaning is “The first lady of the Palace/Beautiful Part of the Castle”. Therefore, Taj Mahal refers to the “Crown of Palaces”.
Where is Taj Mahal located?
Spread across in a 42-acre complex, Taj Mahal is a mausoleum situated on the southern bank of Yamuna River in Agra, an ancient city in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The closeness of the monument to the river makes it appear more beautiful. Undoubtedly, the half of the mausoleum’s beauty is contributed by its strategic location in Agra.
What is the history of Taj Mahal?
This architectural marvel attracts more than 8 million tourists every year. Therefore, its history is a matter of great interest. The history of Taj Mahal adds to its magnificence or in other words, we can say that it is a love poem written in marble. It was built by the great Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the loving memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
Arjumand Banu Begum (Mumtaz Mahal) was a Persian princess, daughter of Abdul Hasan Asaf Khan. It was at the age of 14 when Shah Jahan met her and fell in love with her. They got married five years later in 1612 A.D. The queen was very much precious to the emperor. She used to accompany him everywhere, even on the military campaigns and during one such campaign in Burhanpur; she died while giving birth to their 14th child, Gauhara Begum in 1631.
It was Mumtaz’s last wish to Shah Jahan that he should build a tomb in her memory. She even mentioned it specifically that the tomb should be such that the world had never seen anything like that ever before. Shah Jahan fulfilled her wish by having the most beautiful mausoleum in the world built. He laid foundations for the mausoleum in 1632 and Taj Mahal was completed with the consequent efforts of almost 22,000 masons, inlayers, carvers, painters, embroidery artists, calligraphers, stonecutters, dome-builders and other artisans and 1,000 elephants in the time span of approximately 22 years. It is often believed that the Persian architect, Ustad Isa designed the tomb and it costed an expenditure of approximately 32 million rupees to build this out-of-the-world structure. Taj Mahal was finally completed in 1653.
It was soon after the completion of Taj Mahal that Shah Jahan’s son Aurangzeb deposed him and kept him under house arrest in the palace of Agra Fort. He could view his wonderful creation only through a window for the rest of his life. After Shah Jahan’s death in 1666, he was also buried in the mausoleum beside his wife.
Taj Mahal earned the recognition as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.
How is the structure of Taj Mahal?
Taj Mahal is praised all over the world for its flawless beauty. Although the centuries have passed, this spectacular monument has retained its charm still continues to fascinate the visitors. It is a distinct blend of Islamic, Persian and Indian architectural styles. The entire Taj complex consists of 5 major constituents: Darwaza (main gateway), Bageecha (gardens), Masjid (mosque), Naqqar Khana (rest/guest house) and Rauza (main mausoleum).
Covering an area of 42 acres, Taj Mahal represents the most spectacular example of the Mughal architecture. The main gateway located at the end of the long watercourse, embellished with verses of Holy Quran in calligraphy and a domed central chamber was constructed during 1932-1938. The original door of the sandstone gateway was made up of solid silver. It was established in order to prevent people from catching a glimpse of the tomb until they are in the doorway. Maintaining vertical symmetry lies the main gateway of Taj Mahal, which is made up of black stone and is decorated with verses from the Quran in calligraphy.
The main tomb of Taj Mahal is a large white-marble structure, standing on a square pedestal and consists of a symmetrical building with an arch-shaped doorway topped by a large dome and finial. The four minarets on each corner of the square are detached facing the beveled angles of the main tomb and are positioned 137 feet away from each other to point out the beautiful and spherical dome, which is 81 feet high and is 58 feet in diameter. The mosque lies on the west side of the tomb while on the east lies the identical building, i.e. Jawab or Naqqar Khana. These structures add on to the color contrast as well as architectural symmetry of the edifice and are made up of red sandstone. In other words, the two are the mirror image of each other.
The garden has been laid out with impeccable symmetry. The Islamic architectural style of the garden personifies spirituality and the lush green well-watered signifies paradise according to the Holy Quran. The elevated pathways divide each of the 4 quarters into 16 flowerbeds with around 400 plants in each bed.
A shady catacomb shelters the burials of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan. The main chamber lies above these tombs and houses false tombs and perforated marble screens transmit light into the burial chamber. This is a typical characteristic of the Mughal mausoleums. Both the tombs are decorated with several semi-precious stones. Taj Mahal portrays some exquisite samples of polychrome inlay artwork on both interior and exterior, on cenotaphs and on the marble Jhajjar.
Materials from India and all over Asia were used in the construction of the Taj Mahal. More than 1,000 elephants helped in the transportation of building materials during the construction. The translucent white marble was imported from Makrana (Rajasthan), Jasper from Punjab, Jade, and crystal from China, turquoise from Tibet, Lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, sapphire from Sri Lanka and carnelian from Arabia. In all, 28 types of precious and semi-precious stones were inlaid into the white marble.
Although the architectural design of this splendid monument is believed to more Persian and less Indian in nature, it is exceptional and one-of-its-kind.
What are the timings of Taj Mahal?
Taj Mahal is opened 30 minutes prior to the sunrise and is closed 30 minutes prior to the sunset on all days. For general visitors, Taj Mahal remains closed on Fridays.
One can enjoy the night viewing of Taj Mahal, which is allowed for only 5 nights in the month, i. e. on the full moon night, two days before it and two days after it. However, the option of night viewing is not available on Fridays or during the month of Ramzan. The night viewing is made accessible for only 4 hours from 8:30 pm to 12:30 am. Only 400 people can enjoy night viewing at one night as 8 groups are formed of 50 people each and the time duration for each group is 30 minutes.
What is the best time to visit Taj Mahal?
Although Taj Mahal can be visited at any time of the year, it is advisable to visit during winter months between October to March. During this time span, you can enjoy the view of Taj Mahal without enduring any scorching heat.
What is the best time of the day to visit Taj Mahal?
The three main time slots to view Taj Mahal are sunrise, sunset and the full moon night. It looks magnificent always but in case you desire to see it in its utmost glory, you should visit it at the sunrise. The hues of the sunrise mingle with the beauty of Taj Mahal and make it look really fascinating. At this time, one can observe the transforming colors of Taj Mahal. Moreover, the sunrise is the best time to visit Taj Mahal as there is no crowd and you can get yourself clicked a beautiful picture with Taj Mahal, which will serve as a memory of your visit to this splendid wonder.
How much time is required to explore Taj Mahal?
If you wish to inquire into the beauty of Taj Mahal from inside and out, you need to spend minimum 2 hours in Taj Mahal complex. However, if you plan to have a guided tour of Taj Mahal, it may also take longer than 2 hours.
Which gate is the best one to enter Taj Mahal?
There are three different gates to enter the Taj Mahal, namely Eastern Gate, Western Gate and Southern Gate.
- Eastern Gate
Mostly used by foreign tourists, this gate is very close to nearby hotels. Usually, it has shorter queues, except for the sunrise when large groups enter through this gate. Built in the memory of Shah Jahan’s another wife Sirhindi Begum, this gate is also known by the name of Sirhi Darwaza.
- Western Gate
It is the main entrance of Taj Mahal and is mostly used by domestic tourists. It generally has the long queues throughout the day. However, it can be used at the time of the sunrise as it is less crowded at that time.
- Southern Gate
This gate is meant for pedestrians. It is the least used gate. It is located near a congested market area and cheap hotels. It is not a good choice to decide to enter through this gate as it does not open until 8 am.
You have to choose the gate wisely through which you will enter Taj Mahal. Moreover, you can make your choice depending on the location and ease of commuting.
What can you wear to Taj Mahal?
There is no dress code to visit Taj Mahal. However, you need to dress modestly if you wish to enter the mosque. Women are supposed to cover their heads, shoulders and knees while entering a religious site in India. Another thing that you must bear in mind is that since Taj Mahal is white in color, colorful clothes will make a good contrast for your pictures. You should wear light and bright colored clothes if you are visiting during summers while on the other hand, you need to cover yourself properly during winters as Agra gets quite cold at that time. Wearing sunscreen is also recommendable to avoid sunburn.
What can you bring to Taj Mahal?
Large bags are not allowed in Taj Mahal premises. You just need to carry a few essential things, which include a mobile phone, a water bottle, a camera, a passport and money. Apart from this, you cannot take anything else to Taj Mahal. In case you are found with anything else in your possession, either you will be asked to surrender it or you will have to walk back to the lockers available outside the gate. In the case of night viewing, mobile phones are prohibited while cameras are allowed.
What are the special facilities offered at Taj Mahal?
- The Taj Mahal is also accessible to differently abled people. As many as nine ramps are there in different parts of the complex so that people having special needs don’t face any sort of problem during their visit to Taj Mahal. These people can also move around the complex sitting on a wheelchair, which is available at the ASI office at Taj Mahal.
- From July onwards, mothers can also avail the service of baby feeding rooms in the Taj Mahal complex. This has been planned taking into consideration the motherhood right. With this, Taj Mahal becomes the first Indian heritage monument to get a breastfeeding room.
How can one reach Taj Mahal?
- By Air: Agra is easily accessible by air as it has its own airport, which is well-connected to the major cities of India.
- By Road: Agra shares good connectivity with the important cities of India like Delhi, Varanasi, Jaipur, Gwalior, etc. You can get to Taj Mahal through a bus or private transport easily.
- By Train: The railways connect Agra to the major cities of the country. Agra has three railway stations, namely Agra Cantonment, Agra Fort and Raja Ki Mandi. You can reach Taj Mahal by deboarding at any of the three stations.
What are the tips to be followed at Taj Mahal?
- Pay no heed to the beggars and touts as they might be nothing but tourist scams.
- Feed yourself well before visiting Taj Mahal as it may take as long as 3-4 hours in the premises.
- Smoking and eating are strictly prohibited in the premises of the Taj Mahal.
- Make sure that you reach the ticket counter early and grab a ticket for having a better view of the Taj Mahal without any crowd.
- Be patient as Taj Mahal receives a lot of tourists on a daily basis and it gets really crowded.
What are the nearby attractions of the Taj Mahal?
- Agra Fort
Situated near the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort (Red Fort of Agra) was constructed by the great Mughal emperor Akbar in 1565. Built of red sandstone, it is one of the finest specimens of the Mughal architecture. The fort was the royal seat of the Mughals until 1638 when Shah Jahan shifted the capital from Agra to Delhi. Later, it was captured by Britishers in 1803. The fort has withstood the ravages of time and still continues to lure the visitors with its mosques, private and public audience halls, palaces, towers and courtyards. One can also attend the evening light and sound show to know more about the fort’s history.
- Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah
This tomb is highly significant in the Indian history as it was the first one to be built of marble and that too, white in color. The tomb was constructed as a dedication to Mirza Ghiyas Beg. His daughter, Nur Jahan (beloved empress of the Mughal emperor Jahangir) constructed this magnificent tomb. Positioned on the left bank of the Yamuna River, the tomb was constructed between 1622 and 1628. This opulent structure is a blend of Islamic and Persian influences and is also called the “Baby Taj” due to its inlay artwork and intricate carvings. Set amidst the lush green gardens, this tomb also has arched entrances.
- Fatehpur Sikri
Nestled at a distance of 35 km from Agra, Fatehpur Sikri is the first planned city of the Mughals in Uttar Pradesh. This walled city was established by the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1571. It used to be the capital of the Mughals until 1585 when it was abandoned due to the scarcity of water. The building was built in the memory of the Sufi saint, Salim Chishti. The palace complex also preserves the tomb of the saint. This majestic fort city illustrates Indo-Islamic architectural style. Some of the major attractions of the city include embellished pillars, jharokhas, palatial places, etc. It is one of the top tourist destinations in Agra and is also one of the famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.
- Akbar’s Tomb
Situated in Sikandra, 13 km away from the Agra Fort, Akbar’s Tomb is spread across an area of 119 acres in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. It contains the tomb of the most influential Mughal emperor Akbar. The emperor planned this tomb after finalizing the site but his son, Jahangir completed it after his death in 1604-1613. The most striking feature of the tomb lies in the fact that it has influences of several religions, namely Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. It also highlights that Akbar believed in secularity and unity. This pyramidal tomb is quite different from other Mughal constructions in its architectural style. The inscription of 99 names of Allah sets this tomb apart from all others.
- Mehtab Bagh
If you wish to catch a glimpse of the world-famous Taj Mahal away from the crowds, then Mehtab Bagh is the best place for you. Also known by the name of “Moonlight Garden”, this garden covers an area of 25 acres and was constructed by the founder of the Mughal Empire, i.e. emperor Babur in the 16th century. Located at the opposite side of the Taj Mahal, Mehtab Bagh is the last of eleven Mughal built gardens along the Yamuna River. The square shaped garden measures 300 m on all the sides. The garden also houses the domed tower, which is octagonal in shape and is made up of red sandstone. Moreover, this garden is worth a visit during the Agra tour.
Where can you stay near Taj Mahal?
In Agra, you can find all types of accommodations. You can make yourself comfortable either in budget-friendly guest houses or luxurious hotels. Some of the deluxe hotels also offer Taj views. You can make your choice as per your wants and requirements.
What are the famous Taj Mahal tours?
Since Taj Mahal is located in Agra, a lot of tourists flock this city throughout the year but visiting only Agra may not be a good idea. That’s why it is advised to take the Golden Triangle tour. The Golden Triangle is the most sought-after tourist circuit of India, comprising of three most visited cities, i. e. Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. As you have already read about the major attractions of Agra, we will discuss only Delhi and Jaipur here.
Delhiis not only the capital of the country but is also the administrative seat. Delhi is divided into two parts – New Delhi and Old Delhi. Old Delhi will let you explore the Mughal built buildings, out of which the most famous ones are Red Fort and Jama Masjid. You can stroll down the busy streets of Chandni Chowk and indulge in shopping. On the other hand, New Delhi portrays the British influences, which you can spot through a sightseeing tour of the Parliament House, President House and other Government secretarial buildings. Furthermore, you can enjoy the nightlife of Delhi by enjoying in bars and clubs in Connaught Place with your friends and family.
Jaipur is the capital city of Rajasthan, which is the largest state of India. Whenever Rajasthan is thought about, forts and palaces make their appearance in the mind. And the pink city Jaipur is no different. It is known by the name of the Pink City as it was painted in pink color to welcome the Queen Victoria and Prince of Wales in 1876. One can observe the vibrant culture and colorful traditions by interacting with the friendly and helpful of Jaipur. Some of the major tourist spots of Jaipur include City Palace, Amer Fort, Jantar Mantar and many others. Jaipur is also a perfect destination for an adventure enthusiast as it offers several activities like zip lining, zorbing, elephant ride, etc.
Since Taj Mahal has announced to provide the facility of a wheelchair, senior citizens can also visit Agra to appreciate its beauty. To ensure the best traveling experience, we have Taj Mahal Group Tour, during which you can not only avail the special facilities but you can also enjoy the company of like-minded people. This tour package will surely be a one-of-its-kind experience for senior citizens. Though it is possible to go with a group on Taj Mahal Tour, it is not mandatory. In case, your loved ones can’t accompany you on the tour, don’t fret and opt for it. Solo travel is also amusing and one must travel solo once in a lifetime.
Worried about planning the itinerary of vacations in India? Go through our collection of specially-crafted Taj Mahal tour packages. You can pick any one of your choices and catch a sight of the pride of India, Taj Mahal. Besides this, you can cover the major tourist attractions of Agra and its nearby cities. Delay no more and opt for the package of your choice from the Golden Triangle Tours and Taj Mahal Tours. These tours will surely be an unforgettable experience for you.