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Taj Mahal

By Aman Saxena

What is the Taj Mahal?

The Taj Mahal is one of the most iconic and famous monuments in the world. It is located in Agra, India, and is known for its breathtaking architecture, exquisite craftsmanship, and rich history.

Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century as a mausoleum for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal is considered a symbol of eternal love and has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Text: Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh, India. Images: two views of the Taj Mahal
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It is not just a UNESCO World Heritage site but is also one of the 7 new wonders of the world. This magnificent white marble structure is a popular tourist attraction, drawing millions of visitors each year to marvel at its beauty and learn about its cultural significance.

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Why is the Taj Mahal a UNESCO World Heritage site?

The Taj Mahal is a UNESCO Heritage site for several significant reasons. Firstly, it is a masterpiece of architecture and a symbol of love. Built in the 17th century by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, it was dedicated to his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is renowned for its remarkable beauty, with its marble domes, intricate carvings, and perfectly symmetrical layout.

Secondly, it represents the blending of various cultural influences, combining Persian, Islamic, and Indian architectural styles. This fusion of different artistic elements makes it a unique and exceptional landmark.

The classic view of the mausoleum: looking down the long, narrow reflecting pool toward the white marble building.

What can you expect on a visit to the Taj Mahal?

I was born in Agra but it still took me 12 years to visit the Taj Mahal for the first time. When I visited the monument for the first time I fell in love with it. The craftsmanship this monument displays is really remarkable and the architectural illusions are even more astounding.

For the last 10 years, I have visited the Taj Mahal every year at every possible time of the day, whether it is at sunrise, sunset, or even at midnight. Yes, the Taj Mahal can be visited at midnight and not a lot of tourists know about this. I have also written a complete guide on How to visit the Taj Mahal at night.

While the night is a very unique experience, the best time to visit the Taj Mahal is either during sunrise or sunset. The different colors during these times make the monument even more charming and beautiful.

The upper part of the mausoleum seen from the front, taken at dusk or dawn.

Is the Taj Mahal worth visiting?

The Taj Mahal is one of the most popular monuments in the world and is very much worth visiting. The Taj Mahal’s stunning marble exterior, exquisite carvings, and symmetrical design make it a truly awe-inspiring sight. 

Additionally, the Taj Mahal is a symbol of love, as it was built as a tribute to Emperor Shah Jahan’s beloved wife, thus also making it a great spot for couples to visit.

In my opinion, if you’re visiting Agra or India in general, your trip cannot be complete without a visit to the Taj Mahal.

A view of the Taj Mahal seen from an angle, accentuating how white the building is.

Tips for visiting the Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal can be very crowded. It is best to visit in the early morning at sunrise to avoid the crowds and have that amazing pic with no other tourists in the background.

The Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays; thus it’s very important to plan your trip accordingly. It is busiest on the weekends and during holidays, so plan for a weekday visit.

Just carry a water bottle and camera to avoid the additional time at the security check, which is much like security at airports.

Head to the prayer hall on the west side to get those iconic shots of the Taj Mahal.

To get a fuller understanding of the Taj Mahal’s history, take a tour, most of which include skip-the-line tickets and transportation:

After your visit to the Taj Mahal, exit from the East gate to enjoy the most iconic chaats of Agra. These are local snacks using fried dough with a range of savory ingredients.

The Taj Mahal is not the only iconic monument in Agra. Make time to visit other monuments like Agra Fort, Itmad ud Daula(Baby Taj), and a day trip to Fatehpur Sikri, which is also a UNESCO site and an excellent example of more traditional Mughal architecture.

Use the map below to book your stay in Agra:

Where is the Taj Mahal?

The Taj Mahal is in the city of Agra in Uttar Pradesh, India.

By flight: Agra has its own airport. Currently a limited number of flights fly to Agra from different destinations across India.

By car: Travelling from Delhi to Agra by car takes around four hours on average via the Yamuna Expressway.

Use this link to compare rental car prices in India.

By train: One of the cheapest ways to reach Agra is by taking a train from Delhi, which takes around three hours. Agra has three railway stations and getting there by train from any other part of India is easy.

For more information about the Taj Mahal, its opening hours, and admission fees, see its official website.

Text and photos provided by Aman Saxena of Stories of Raku. Aman is a budget travel blogger who loves sharing unique, affordable travel experiences to inspire exploration beyond the usual spots. He’s all about discovering hidden gems worldwide.

Have you been to the Taj Mahal? If so, do you have any additional information or advice about this UNESCO World Heritage site? Please add your comments below!

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