Taj Mahal
Andras Foldesi/EyeEm/Getty Images

Key Info

Taj Road

Details

Churches/Religious Sites, Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.9scorecard
  • 4.5Value
  • 5.0Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

Plain and simple: This is the reason you come to Agra. The Taj Mahal is a majestic tomb built in the Mughal style, which combines Indian, Islamic and Persian architectural principles. Visitors marvel at the intricate Quran inscriptions, the structure's perfect symmetry, the ornate accents, and the surrounding manicured gardens. But this monument's enchantment goes beyond its arresting visual appeal: The story behind its creation has drawn romantics for centuries.

According to legend, Emperor Shah Jahan (part of the Mughal dynasty, which ruled the majority of northern India between the 16th and 18th centuries) fell deeply in love with Arjumand Banu Begum, who became his favorite of his three wives. They shared such an intense passion for each another that he renamed her "Mumtaz Mahal," or "Chosen One of the Palace." After many years of happy marriage, Mumtaz passed away during the birth of her 14th child. To commemorate their undying love for one another, the Shah built the Taj Mahal as an elaborate tomb. The tomb is made up entirely of white marble and features jade, crystal, lapis, turquoise and amethyst stones inlaid throughout. Over 20,000 workers labored over the site for more than 20 years.

While most visitors have seen pictures of the monument and heard the lovers' tale, coming face to face with the Taj Mahal remains a unique and awe-inspiring experience. This UNESCO World Heritage Site welcomes between seven and eight million visitors per year, and hardly any of them leave disappointed. That said, the one thing that can disrupt the serenity of the Taj Mahal is overcrowding. Be sure to visit at sunrise or sunset to avoid peak times.

There are three entrances to the site: the Western, Eastern, and Southern Gates. You'll want to put any non-permissible items, such as food and drinks (other than water), in the lockers available. If you are not visiting the Taj Mahal on an organized tour, you can easily take a short taxi ride from central Agra as the Taj Mahal is located just east of downtown. The Taj Mahal welcomes visitors every day from sunrise to sunset, except Fridays. The entrance fee for international travelers is 1,000 rupees (about $16) and can be purchased at any of the gates. For more information, consult the Taj Mahal's official website.

See all Hotels in Agra »

More Best Things To Do in Agra

Agra Fort
Itmad-ud-Daulah's Tomb
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 4
#2 Agra Fort

Just northwest of theTaj Mahal, this formidable fortress rests on the west bank of the Yamuna River on the edge of central Agra. About a century older than its more recognized neighbor, Agra Fort boasts impressive red sandstone architectural details throughout and is considered to be one of the best

Read more
rchphoto/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in Agra »

Explore More of Agra

Recommended

The 20 Best Michigan State Parks

Two peninsulas, four Great Lakes and innumerable natural highlights elevate Michigan's state parks.

Zach WatsonApril 18, 2019

50 Awesome Vacation Ideas for Every Type of Traveler

Consider these vacation ideas for your next getaway.

Holly JohnsonApril 11, 2019

The 13 Best National Parks in California

You won't regret adding one of these national parks to your California itinerary.

Rachel CenterApril 10, 2019

10 Beautiful Places to Visit in the South of France

Plan a getaway to these special destinations to soak up culture, cuisine and quaint atmospheres.

Gwen PratesiApril 8, 2019

Best Carry-on Luggage of 2019

U.S. News rated the best carry-on luggage, considering recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerApril 3, 2019

The 11 Best Utah National Parks and Monuments to Visit

From birding to bouldering to boating, Utah's national parks have it all.

Zach WatsonApril 2, 2019

The 30 Best Zoos in the U.S.

Get an up-close look at wild creatures in natural settings at America's top animal parks.

Kyle McCarthyMarch 28, 2019

15 Scenic Train Rides to Add to Your Bucket List

Climb aboard these locomotives for jaw-dropping views.

Christine SmithMarch 26, 2019

13 Top Places to Visit in Tuscany, Italy

Ditch the crowded streets of Rome or Milan and head to Italy's picturesque countryside.

Lyn MettlerMarch 25, 2019

10 Excellent Educational Vacations for Families

Make sure your next getaway is both enjoyable and informative.

Holly JohnsonMarch 14, 2019