Taj Mahal Ticket Hacks: How to Avoid the Queue at the Taj Mahal

Words can do little justice to the Taj Mahal, one of the most spectacular sites on our planet. It’s a place that always made me wonder how anyone could feel a love so deep that their devotion will one day be turned into one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Like you may or may not know, the famous Taj was built in 1652 by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan after the death of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It took 22 years, 20,000 skilled workers, and more than 1,000 elephants (for transporting materials) in order to finally complete this jewel of Islamic and Indian architecture.
Taj Mahal

Today, Taj Mahal is one of the most visited places on the planet, attracting millions of tourists every year. In fact, an average of 12,000 people visit this spectacular site every day. You might think that like many other places on Earth, the Taj must have lost its charm after having so many visitors every day.

However, you couldn’t be farther away from the truth. The Taj is one of the best-maintained monuments in India despite being surrounded by the trash and chaos of Agra and is certainly worth visiting despite hosting thousands of tourists every day.  Wherever there are so many people, you can expect to find a lot of long queues. And no one likes waiting in the queue and we all want to find a way to skip it, right? Well, that’s completely possible if you know the Taj Mahal ticket hacks I’ll share with you in this article.

Before we start, you should also check out this article to see what’s the most convenient ways to reach Agra from Delhi (most travelers come to Agra from Delhi). Alternatively, if you’re looking for a cheap flight to Agra, check out Air France’s Oh-la-la deals to save up to 20% on your flight.

Taj Mahal ticket hacks: You don’t have to wake up early

Taj Mahal sunset

One thing you can always do is to get there before everyone else. The Taj Mahal opens at 6 AM and if you can be there at 5:30, you’ll probably avoid the crowds. Plus, you could also catch the marvelous view of the sunrise over the legendary Taj Mahal. I would recommend you get there early in the morning because of the view. But you can still skip the long queues without getting there early in the morning! You will find multiple tourist agencies in Agra that sell “skip-the-line tours” but they cost $45 or more. Additionally, tickets for foreign citizens cost 1,000 rupees (around $20), while Indians only need to pay 20 rupees for entrance. The alternative that I’m talking about will not cost you more than 800 rupees ($12 USD), including the ticket.

So, how did I do it?

 


I actually discovered this method during my second visit to Agra. Having visited once already, I had some friends in Agra and they introduced me to Amit. Amit was a local guide that not only managed to buy a ticket for me for 20 rupees (the price Indians pay) but he also guided me through the crowd and through the security check without losing a second waiting in the queue. Additionally, he knew the best spots to take some amazing pictures of the Taj from and even made sure that there weren’t any people in the frame when I was taking the pictures.

daniel passport symphony

Of course, there was a small fee I had to pay to Amit but it was completely worth it. At first, he asked for 1,500 rupees but I managed to bargain the price down to 750. It was a win-win for the both of us! I paid only 20 rupees for entrance instead of 1,000 and didn’t have to wait in the queue. Amit got a nice tip for an hours work. You will be able to find guides like Amit roaming around the ticket section. However, they are being careful and they don’t approach everyone. I found Amit because, as I said, I had friends in Agra.

Related: the most unusual religious festivals in India

How can you skip the lines at the Taj Mahal?

taj mahal people

Even if you don’t have a common friend you can still approach them and offer them a big tip if they can get you an Indian ticket and help you go through security. Most of these guys can do that because they are friends with the security stuff and I believe they give them a share of the tip. Finally, don’t forget to bargain! The starting price these guides will ask for is always much higher than what they would accept.

Related: what is life like in India

Are you one of those people that think the Taj Mahal is overrated?

Taj Mahal ticket hacks

I normally don’t get very excited about historic monuments, especially ones that are visited by thousands of people every day. So, if you’re thinking that the Taj Mahal is overrated and you are planning to skip it during your trip to India, I understand where you come from. However, I would still strongly suggest you reconsider that. To put it simply, the Taj Mahal isn’t one of the Seven Wonders of the World for no reason. Clearly, it has an amazing history but it’s also one of the most fascinating pieces of architecture in the world, even today 400 years after its construction. Take a moment to think about the 20,000 workers who built this marvelous site by using these tools

primitive tools

Transporting marble from destinations 100 of miles away like this:

elephant carrying materials

To finally build a building made of the whitest marble you could ever find. A marble so clear that it changes the mausoleum’s colors from pinkish in the morning to milky white during the day and golden during sunsets.

So, no I really couldn’t say the majestic Taj Mahal is over-rated.

Liked this article? For more travel hacks, check out my ultimate guide.

Useful tips for visiting Agra

Are you looking for a cheap flight to Agra? Check out Air France’s Oh-la-la deals to save up to 20% on your flight.

If you want to take a tour in India that features the Taj Mahal (among other things), I personally recommend Trafalgar’s Colorful India tour.

Looking to save on accommodation in Agra? This special offer gets you up to 15% off on all Booking.com properties in Agra.

Finally, don’t forget about travel insurance; for the best deals on the market, go to World Nomads. If something happens, you can make a claim online and get paid ASAP.

Have you ever heard about these Taj Mahal ticket hacks? Do you have any other useful tips for visiting the Taj Mahal? Share your experience in the comments!

taj mahal ticket hacks

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22 thoughts on “Taj Mahal Ticket Hacks: How to Avoid the Queue at the Taj Mahal”

  1. Wow I didn’t know about this! Thanks for the tip! I am planning to go to Taj Mahal next year hopefully if all goes well 🙂

    Reply
    • That’s awesome, Andrea. Try this, it will save you both, money and time 🙂 Finally, I hope you have a great time in India 😀

      Reply
  2. Such a great tip, thank you for sharing. The Taj Mahal is on my list of places to see in India. It is incredible not only from the actual building but the story. I will be the one turning up at 5.30am.

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  3. Perfect, this is a great hack how to do it. Amit, I will remember that name when I hopefully make it to the Taj Mahal in the near future. It is high on my bucket list and I would love to see this impressive building one day with my own eyes. I seriously hate to get up very early in the morning, that’s why I really appreciate such tips. Also, the impressions you share here about the Taj Mahal are beautiful, such a palace!

    Reply
  4. The tip of visiting Taj Mahal before its official opening time is great. That’s the best way to get those perfect shots and enjoy quality time. I didn’t know of this way to bypass the foreign tourist ticket price.

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  5. Very handy tips. Personally, I loved being there for sunrise even though it meant getting up early. Well worth it. It’s one of those big attractions that never fail to disappoint no matter how many times you see it.

    Reply
  6. Very interesting and useful! Thanks for sharing. It’s always good to know some locals since ultimately, they are the ones who know all the tricks and best places to visit. Taj Mahal sure is beautiful and I hope I can visit someday. I will remember these tips, and try to find someone who can help me.

    Reply
  7. Taj Mahal is beautiful and I agree that it is not to be skipped even though it is thronged by thousands every day. I had no idea about this workaround to beating the queues at the Taj. I guess in India for everything there is “jugaad”. You just have to look in the right direction!

    Reply
  8. The guides in Agra, both for Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri are very helpful! I don’t like a lot of crowd when I visit a place, so guess for me going there early morning was the best thing. But like you said, even when you go during peak hours, the beauty of Taj Mahal makes it all worth it! 🙂

    Reply
  9. I have been to the Taj Mahal umpteen times and discover something new every time I visit it. And, as you said the wee hours of the morning is the perfect time to catch a glimpse of this wonder! But, I am not sure if I would suggest or accept bypassing the rules and regulations put down by the authorities. IN a way, I feel it is like encouraging people to be corrupt.

    Reply
    • As much as I would like to agree with you, the fact that rules are in force doesn’t mean that they are forever and that should not be questioned. In this case, as a foreigner, I felt discriminated having to pay a fee which is 20 times higher than an Indian resident for experiencing the same thing (1100 INR vs 50 INR) and waiting in the same long queue. Not to mention that it already cost me a small fortune just to be there. The guide had a similar perception and a few other people I met on the way. If even locals don’t particularly agree with the rules and the fact that me “breaking” the rules, it means something isn’t right. I would end this with a quote from my favorite books (Wall and Piece) “The greatest crimes in the world are not committed by people breaking the rules but by people following the rules. It’s people who follow orders that drop bombs and massacre villages.”

      Reply
  10. Haha!!! Interesting way you managed to hack your entry! I did something similar in Vatican Musuems!!!!
    Its been more than a decade since I last went to the Taj Mahal and I had the film roll camera then!
    I should go again, the whole Delhi, Agra, Fatehpur, Mathura trip…

    Reply
    • Thank you, Bhushavali- I’m glad you liked this post. It’s cool that you managed to do something similar in the Vatican Museums. I hope you get the chance to visit the Taj again.

      Reply
  11. Good information & tips.

    If I may add that one of the better places to view the Taj in relative peace is from the Mehtab Bagh especially at the time os sunset which was old garden used the Mughal royals and from here the white marble monument can be seen in the background of the Yamuna river with the sun palying its magic thorugh varying the subtle colour & shades of the grand monument.
    Also the view of the monument from the Agra Fort in morning almost from where Shah Jahan must have watched it over the years of his life is worth looking at as the world wonder plays around behind its white
    overtones with various shades of blue & orange.

    Reply

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