top of page
  • Writer's pictureTrisha Sarang

10 Do’s and Don’ts When Visiting the Taj Mahal [From a Local]

The Taj Mahal: one of the seven wonders of the world. Housed in one of the most culturally rich countries in the world, it’s a huge bucket list item. Yet, it can be intimidating to get to. Here are my local tips, as someone who has been 5 times and grew up only a few hours away in New Delhi:

  1. Be cognizant of getting scammed.

  2. Don’t take them up on getting professional pictures.

  3. Dress appropriately.

  4. Use the bathroom before you go.

  5. Wear comfortable shoes.

  6. Don’t bring much – including food or water.

  7. Bring cash.

  8. Be smart about who you chose for a tour guide.

  9. Take your time.

  10. Fun Fact – did you know there were supposed to be two?

Taj Mahal – Know Before You Go

Be cognizant of getting scammed.

The locals here are incredibly persistent because they know you are a foreigner. They will try to offer to give you a ride, be your tour guide (some can be legit while others not), sell you trinkets, and many will use their children to convince you into buying them. I’ve seen people get scammed for up to 1,000 rupees. Be as strong as they are persistent if you aren’t interested in buying!

Don’t take them up on getting professional pictures.

When you enter the monument area, there will be a crowd of photographers that are licensed to be there. Many will persistently bug you to take pictures of you that they will send on the spot for a small price.

These are the professional pictures. Needless to say… my friends and I took our own pictures on our phones that were much less cheesy than the ones we paid for.

Dress appropriately.

No matter how hot it is, dress respectfully to honor the dead. The Taj is a mausoleum after all, with the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and his favorite wife still buried in the monument. Additionally, the culture surrounding the area is more conservative than typical western culture, so be sure to dress accordingly.

Use the bathroom before you go.

Sometimes there’s no running water, and there’s no trash cans in the women's restroom. Bring hand sanitizer if you are cautious about germs.

Wear comfortable shoes.

If you are going to be walking on the marble, you will be asked to wear covers on your shoes. Wear shoes with good grip so you don’t slip! It’s also a huge area and monument, so you will be walking a lot more than you think.

Don’t bring much – including food or water.

You will get one water bottle included with your ticket, but you won’t be allowed to bring in any other food or drinks. You will also only be allowed to bring a small bag, and will have to go through security to enter the area.

Bring cash.

While you can buy your tickets with card, cash is always easier when it comes to souvenirs and tour guides. It’s quicker too!

Entrance is expensive for foreigners (it is around 1500-2000 rupees). I would recommend bringing 3 or 4K rupees (so around $50 per person) to last you an outing/day at the Taj Mahal.

Be smart about who you chose for a tour guide.

Ask some questions to vet them, maybe about how many times they’ve given the tour, how much they’ll charge, or what makes them different from anyone else. More often than not, it’s a gut feeling of who you should go with based on how and what they answer. A big giveaway is if they are asking for too much. Normally you should pay a couple hundred rupees for a guide, but up to $10 is ok.

Take your time.

This is one of the wonders of the world after all. It’s a huge place with a stunning garden and beautiful architecture. Go inside and see the sarcophagi of the Shah and his wife. (And no, their bodies aren’t in there. The actual burials are at a lower level.)

Fun Fact – did you know there were supposed to be two?

The current Taj Mahal was built by the Shah out of his love for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. There is a myth that, originally, the Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan had planned to have another identical monument across the Yamuna river for his own mausoleum – except in black marble. He began construction during his reign, which was halted when he was overthrown and imprisoned by his son.

Want to Learn More?

Start your list of recommendations by downloading our app, Locals Insight. It enables users to discover new unique experiences at home and abroad to make lifelong memories. Download it now! (Available on iOS).

If you want to see Trisha’s specific recommendations, find her profile in the Locals Insight app by searching “A One Kathi Rolls”. There’s your first rec right there!

If you want to explore, check out our other resources on India to learn more!


bottom of page