Travel Report Taj Mahal - part of a 13 days round trip through Rajasthan (India)
What are the highlights to discover at the Taj Mahal in Agra? What is a must-see?
Our travel report Taj Mahal (Agra) summarizes the best highlights and “must sees” for you so that you also have an unforgettable trip. The main reason for our round trip was the desire to photograph wild tigers. India is still one of the best places for this and the best time to travel is between November and February if you want to avoid the really hot temperatures. But if you’re already there, you can also take in the many cultural highlights, such as the Taj Mahal.
Where is the Taj Mahal (Agra) in India?
What you should definitely think about when traveling to the Taj Mahal
Local currency: Indian rupee (INR). You can use your credit card everywhere for payments or cash withdrawals. Cash is mainly needed for tips.
Vaccinations: No vaccinations are required if you are coming from Germany. However, it is advisable to see a doctor before your trip to have your vaccinations checked and to have a number of vaccinations, such as rabies, carried out. Any doctor can provide more detailed information or, if necessary, the Tropical Institute.
Visas: German citizens require a visa for India. The visa must be applied for at an Indian diplomatic mission or as an e-visa before entering the country. Visas on arrival are not possible. Here is the Link to the official Website for Visa.
As always, there are a number of websites that will apply for a visa for a fee. For people with a good knowledge of English, the Indian website is not a problem. As a rule, you need a 30-day tourist visa. This costs just under 30 USD including all fees. You can only apply for the visa 30 days before entry and it is then valid for 30 days from entry.
Taking a drone to the Taj Mahal (in India), is that allowed?
The short answer is NO. In India, Indians are allowed to have and fly drones, but it is almost impossible for tourists to get a drone permit. If you still want to try, you should have a look at Indian prisons or visit one of the numerous websites where you can try to apply for a permit. Neither is nice.
Detailed travel report Taj Mahal - important questions:
Is India, the Taj Mahal (in Agra) cheap?
It all depends. Hotel prices, or accommodation prices in general, are not really cheap if you want a certain European standard. Flights and transfers with a guide/driver, on the other hand, are really cheap. A safari, on the other hand, is expensive, although not quite on a par with African safaris.
The highlights of Agra - Experience the Taj Mahal
From Germany, there are daily direct flights to Delhi and from there you can take a car and driver and reach the city of Agra, where the Taj Mahal is located, in just over 4 hours.
Do I need a rental car to get to the Taj Mahal?
Our recommendation is definitely NO. Driving in India is definitely not for Europeans and is far too dangerous. The Indian way of driving has nothing to do with the way we are used to in Europe or the USA. In addition, you can book a driver with a car (preferably an SUV) for very little money and he will drive you around the whole time. Many hotels also offer this service. That’s why you should do without a rental car if at all possible.
What could a 13-day round trip including the Taj Mahal look like?
1.Day: We flew directly to Delhi from Germany
Hotel: Aloft New Delhi Aerocity, 5B IGI T3 Road, Delhi Aerocity New Delhi, 110037
2.Day: Delhi – Agra (Taj Mahal) Transfer with an AC Innova: Travel time approx. 4 hours.
Hotel: ITC Mughal, a luxury collection, Taj Ganj, Agra, 282001
3.Day: Departure to Ranthambore, travel time approx. 6 hours (!). 300km
Hotel: The Ranthambhore Bagh, Village Khilchipur, Off Ranthambhore Road, Sawai Madhopur 322001,
4.-7.Day: Tiger safari in Ranthambore National Park, 7 safari drives in total
8.-9.Day: Departure to Jaipur, driving time approx. 3:30h. Approx. 160km.
Hotel: ITC Rajputana, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Jaipur, Palace Road, Jaipur, 302006 India
10.-11.Day: Transfer to the airport, flight Jaipur (T2) with Indigo to Jodhpur
Hotel: The Ajit Bhawan – A Palace Resort, Near Circuit House Road, Jodhpur, 342006 Transfer from the airport to the hotel organized with the hotel (!)
11.-13.Day: Transfer to Udaipur organized by hotel (12k INR + Tax), Innova AC. Travel time approx. 5:30h (!) . ca 260km.
Hotel: Moustache Udaipur Luxuria, 25-26 Navghat, Next to City Palace,
Udaipur – 313001,Rajasthan
13.Day: Transfer to the airport organized by the hotel. Flight Udaipur with Indigo to Delhi. Visit Delhi city, then return to the airport.
Due to the early return flight (01:50 am), we booked another hotel room on the last day to rest before our departure.
Hotel (again):Aloft New Delhi Aerocity, 5B IGI T3 Road, Delhi Aerocity New Delhi, 110037
Taj Mahal - Arrival and highlights
The journey to the Taj Mahal from Delhi can be made by train or by cab. We opted for the latter, as we didn’t feel like meeting lots of other people and the hassle of booking was too much for us. A cab with driver costs very little in India and is therefore the most pleasant way to travel, especially if the car is big enough. Get your guide offers both train and driver. Just have a look.
You should definitely not drive yourself in India. The car we booked is an Innova AC, a kind of minibus SUV hybrid, which is practically standard in this class in India.
The roads out of Delhi are very good. The route to Agra is mainly on a toll highway. There are also some rest stops here, but they have little in common with those in Germany and are more reminiscent of Asia, as everything is cooked and prepared outside. The toilets are clean but take some getting used to. Apart from the highways, you shouldn’t expect German standards.
After a good 4-hour drive, we reach our hotel, the ITC Mughal Agra, also part of the Marriott Group. From the hotel you can see the Taj Mahal in the distance.
Hotel in Agra am Taj Mahal - ITC Mughal by Marriott
The ITC Mughal Hotel in Agra is a real highlight. It is run by Marriott and comes highly recommended. It is also very close to the Taj Mahal, so it is easy to get there in the morning to see it. When the weather is nice you can enjoy the pool area and the spa area.
The hotel is old but in top condition and you can feel the Indian charm as soon as you drive up. The gardens are maintained by a good 1000 gardeners.
If you want to visit the Taj Mahal, you should get up early!
At 05:30 it’s time to leave for the Taj Mahal… and yes, we are actually too late. The queue is already over 100m long, but before you reach it you have to wait at the East Gate parking lot for the “Golf Kart”, which will take you to the East Gate. You should definitely have bought tickets in advance. From the East Gate to the main gate it is another 300m and then, yes then, you see it. The Taj Mahal.
It’s impressive, but you wish there were fewer people. There are people everywhere jostling for the best photo spots and it’s not even really light yet. The further you walk in, the more the crowds get lost. Our tip: when you pass through the first archway, everyone stops. So keep walking. After about 150m there is another, even better spot where there are fewer people in the picture. It’s also best to take a bottle of water with you, as you can take great mirror pictures and quench your thirst.
We also booked the mausoleum but didn’t end up visiting it. You should plan at least 2 hours for the visit, but you can easily spend twice as long. Definitely go at sunrise!
Even if you only have a short time, a visit to the Taj Mahal is worthwhile. It is rightly one of the most important buildings of our time and you will never forget a visit. The atmosphere, especially at sunrise, is magical and invites you to pause for a moment. However, you really should go very early, as it gets fuller and fuller every minute after opening. It is simply one of the tourist highlights in India. The fountains are switched on from 9 o’clock in the morning and then you can no longer take pictures with a water reflection.
Calendar from our Phototours online?
Which photo equipment for the Taj Mahal in India?
The photographic equipment we took with us to the Taj Mahal is listed below. You also have the option of ordering the photographic equipment we used directly via our Photo-Shop and requesting further technical details. There are also lots of extras available there.
- Z7ii (Nikon)
- Apple Iphone 14pro
- Z 24-120mm f/4 (Nikon)
- 70-200mm f/2.8 (Nikon)