Taj Mahal – The Complete OneDay Trip Guide

Taj Mahal – The Complete OneDay Trip Guide

Standing majestically on the banks of the Yamuna River, Taj Mahal looks like a pure, white fairytale. This marvellous mausoleum is an ultimate symbol of everlasting love. The astonishing site, perfect as a whole as well as in the individual pieces, was built by the Mughul emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. It took 21 years and over 20 000 people to finish it. And it since became one of the New World Wonders. In this complete guide are all necessary informations you will need for visiting the Taj Mahal.


Taj Mahal is located in Agra, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, approximately 200 kilometers from Delhi. 

Opening hours

Taj Mahal is open 30 minutes before sunrise which means from around  6 AM and closes 30 minutes before sunset- about 7 PM every day except Friday (when it’s closed for prayer).

Admission fee

Ticket price for foreign tourists is 1100 rupees (14 EUR) main ticket + optional visit to mausoleum costs 200 rupees  (2,5 EUR).

You can buy the tickets online for a chosen day of the visit here. Or buy them directly at the entry gate. 

Note : There are separate lines to enter for men and woman, leading to security boots. You and your bag will be searched.

Getting there

The Taj Mahal can be visited on a day trip from Delhi (thanks to this guide). There are different options to get there. Depending on what fits best for you, here are all the possible ways.

By train

The easiest and fastest way is by rail. Delhi is well connected to Agra and there is a fast train running to Taj Mahal with times suitable for tourists wanting to visit during the day. 

The main railway station in Delhi is New Delhi Railway Station (NDLS), but trains to Agra depart also from Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station (NZM). 

In Agra the stations is Agra Cantonment (AGC)- here you get off for Taj Mahal.

Dehli -> Taj Mahal

1. The fastest train from Delhi to Agra is the new, non-stop 12050 Gatimaan Express. It takes one hour and 40 minutes to reach Agra. The train departs Delhi’s Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station at 8.10 AM and arrives in Agra at 9.50 AM. The ticket price varies from 1495 rupees (ca 20 EUR) for the executive class to 750-1000 rupees (10-13 euro) for second class. The train is air-conditioned and runs daily except Friday (when the Taj Mahal is closed).

2. The second option is 12002 New Delhi Habibganj Shatabdi Express (there is one stop on the way). It departs New Delhi Railway Station at 6 AM and arrives at Agra at 7.57 AM Ticket price varies from 1010 rupees (13 EUR) for executive class to 505-673 rupees (6,5- 8,5 EUR) for regular ticket. The train runs every day. This is a good option for those wanting an early start and chance to beat the crowds (most tourists choose the Gatimaan Express)

3. If you are traveling on a tight budget, don’t mind less comfortable and longer journey, then the 12280 Taj Express Superfast is perfect for you. The train starts at 6.45 AM from New Delhi Railway Station to Agra (it stops at Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station as well) and arrives in Agra at 9.40 AM. This trip takes nearly three hours. The ticket prices varies from 375 rupees (5 EUR) to 105 rupees (1,5 EUR) for second class (no AC). The train has three stops and runs every day.

In Agra Cantonment (AGC) train station there are 24 hours official prepaid auto rickshaw and taxi booths just outside. Use these to avoid the hassle and do not agree to be taken to Taj Mahal by men approaching you.  

Taj Mahal -> Delhi

To return to Delhi the same day you can choose one of the following options:

1. The 12049 Gatimaan Express departing from Agra at 5.50 PM, (every day except Friday when Taj Mahal is closed). It arrives at Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station in Delhi at 7.30 PM It’s the fastest and most punctual train from Agra to Delhi.

2. The 12279 Taj Express Superfast returns to Delhi from Agra at 6.50 PM daily (although it often reaches Agra up to an hour late). It arrives at Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station at 9.51 PM and New Delhi Railway station at 10.25 PM.

3. The 12001 Habibganj New Delhi Shatabdi Express departs Agra at 9.10 PM and arrives at New Delhi Railway Station at 11.30 PM daily. However, this train usually runs late.

By bus

Bus is a good option as well (if traveling by train in impossible). Buses depart from Anand Vihar terminal in New Delhi every hour during the day. The cost is about 700 rupees per person and the trip takes about 4 hours (there is 30 min break half way)

By taxi

This is the best and fastest option if you can’t take the train, although it is expensive. The round trip costs about 6000 rupees (75 EUR) for up to 4 people. The drive takes 3 hours and the driver will wait for you, while you visit Taj Mahal and take you back to Delhi.

The downside is the traffic on the way back as it gets extremely hectic. But the car will take you directly to your hotel/accomodation. 

By tour

It’s a popular way of visiting Taj Mahal. However we do not advise taking the big tour as you will never fully enjoy the sight being with 40 other people. The private tour sounds like a great option- it is however really expensive (more than a taxi). 

Arriving in Taj Mahal

Next, let’s review in this guide once you reach Taj Mahal. There are three entry gates: South, East, and West and all are locate about 500 m from the mausoleum.

  1. The West gate is the main gate mostly used by Indian visitors and it generally has the longest lines throughout the day
  2. The East gate is used mostly by foreign tourists and usually has shorter queues. Remember that the ticket office is located about 10 minutes away by walk from the gate. Thats why it is the best option for those who have purchased the tickets online. 
  3. The South gate is the least-used gate as it opened at 8 am. 

TIP : If you arrive for sunrise then use west gate instead of the east gate. The queue will be shorter. 

When to go

The best time to visit Taj Mahal is from November to February for the optimal weather conditions. We have visited in August and it was unbearably hot. 

Taj Mahal from the airport (during layover)

We didn’t have much time to spend in India, but my dream of visiting Taj Mahal was stronger. I have decided to book our main tickets with long layover (20 hours) just so we can see the site. 

As we were arriving at the main airport at 9 am, we knew that traveling by train was not an option. We didn’t know how it will turn out exactly as I couldn’t find any relatable information in the internet prior to our departure. 

Note : All European citizens need a visa to enter India. We have applied for visa in the Indian consulate of Paris few weeks before our trip.

To see what type of visa you are suitable for visit the official Indian website.

From our plane to the World Wonder

After exiting the terminal we have directed our steps towards the taxi booth located just outside. There we have told the person sitting inside, that we want to go to Taj Mahal by taxi, departing now. And that we need to pass by a nearby hotel first (we got an Ibis Airport hotel for that night) to drop off our backpacks. We were told the price of 6000 rupees- about 75 euros all included (we were even told not to give anything extra to the driver). It seems expensive but its a normal price for this trip and it was the only way.

The car had ac and even if our driver spoke little english, we communicated well. The ride took about 3 hours and we have arrived at Taj Mahal around 13.00. We managed to find our way to the gate (not sure which one we entered through), buy tickets on the spot and as soon as the mausoleum came into sight were blown away. 

It took us 3 hours to visit the whole site. I must admit that we were a bit worried about our taxi driver driving away or if we’d be able to find him, but he was waiting for us just outside of the gates.

Driving back to our hotel, located by the airport, took over 4 hours as the evening traffic in Delhi was insane. Overall we are a bit upset we didn’t get to see the beautiful colours of either sunrise or sunset spread on the white marble of the Taj Mahal. But we were very happy with how the day went and that we made our dream of seeing the most romantic sight in the world real. 

The story

Visiting Taj Mahal makes little sense if you don’t know the incredible story that lies behind it. A story of everlasting love stronger than anything- even death…

A 14 year old boy named Shah Jahan, next in line to the throne of India, known as Prince Khurram. One day, he was casually strolling down the Meena Bazaar, when he caught a glimpse of a girl’s hawking silk and glass beads… it was love at first sight. His chosen one turned out to be Arjumand Banu Begum (later known as Mumtaz Mahal), a 15 year old Muslim Persian princess. Straight after meeting her, Shah Jahan went back to his father and declared that he wanted to marry her. And so he did, 5 years later. The marriage was finalised in 1612.

In 1628 Shah Jahan became the Emperor and Arjumand Banu sat on the throne next to him. He gave her a new title of Mumtaz Mahal, meaning the “Jewel of the Palace”. Tragically in 1631, Mumtaz Mahal died due to complications while giving birth to their 14th child. While Mumtaz was on her deathbed, Shah Jahan promised her that he would never remarry and will build the richest mausoleum over her grave.

Shah Jahan was so heartbroken after her death that he ordered the court into mourning for two years. Sometimes after her death, he started making his promise real. It took 22 years and the labor of 22,000 workers to construct the monument. When Shah Jahan died in 1666, his body was placed in a tomb next to the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal.

Interesting Facts

The Taj Mahal is so beautiful in its form, because it is perfectly symmetrical. Its minarets, walls, rooms and even gardens follow a perfect symmetry.

Only the tombs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal are not symmetrical. And till this day we can only speculate why.

Some believe that Shah Jahan was never meant to be placed alongside the sarcophagus of his wife. It would have disrupted the whole symmetry of the central and the burial chamber. It is believed that Shah Jahan meant to construct another Taj Mahal, in black, on the opposite side of the river for himself. However he died before those plans became real and was placed alongside his love. 

Staying overnight close to Taj Mahal

It’s a fantastic option if you have more time. Spending a day or two in Taj Mahal means you can enjoy the site with the most wonderful light, for sunrise and sunset. As well as see the majestic view of Taj Mahal and the Yamuna river from the Mehtab Bhag. 

Getting there takes around 20 minutes by tuk-tuk. Expect to pay 300-400 rupees for a driver but for that price he will take you to the gardens, wait for you, then drive you back towards town, stopping anywhere you wish along the way.

Be advised that boat rides are not officially allowed. If you’d still like to do it at your own risk, just ask fishermen or boat-men if they’d agree to take you. The boat ride will take 20-30 min and should cost around 100 rupees per person. 

Hotels around Taj Mahal

All the hotels for the Taj Mahal are located in and around Agra. Major hotel websites offer a variety of hotels from budget to luxurious options.

Find all hotels in Agra on booking.com

We recommend: Crystal Sarovar Premiere AgraThe Grand Imperial – Heritage Hotel

Blog comments (7)

  • Vinita rai

    very well explained thank you

    • Voyage In Style

      Hey Vinita! Thank you for your comment, we are happy our article helped you in your researches 🙂

  • arif

    Well Explained Keep it up

  • arif

    Nice Sharing Keep it up.

  • same day taj mahal tour by train

    Thank you for taking the time to share this valuable information with us.

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