Updated: Mar 30
There are thousands of travel blogs warning travellers about the dangers of visiting the Taj Mahal warning people about muggers, scammers and pickpockets and yes, like any place in India there is always someone trying to sell you something but it is no worse at the Taj Mahal than anywhere else in India. I had an amazing experience during my visit and it definitely lives up to the huge expectations.
Here is what I found from my experience (and some of my top tips)...
In short ... Yes the streets of Agra are not the cleanest but then that's India. However, when you're actually inside the Taj Mahal gates there are some of the cleanest areas in India that I visited. The area surrounding the Taj Mahal is continuously being maintained and I was really impressed at how tidy the whole space was.
If you a keen to get the best photos then arriving early will be your best chance to avoid any crowds but there's no guarantee as it can get busy even early on. If anything I'd advise you to get there early to avoid the midday heat rather than the crowds, especially in the summer periods, there are some shaded areas around the parameters but overall it is a very open space with little shade.
Being Asked for Photos
I'm still not sure why but the locals are always keen to take photos with foreign tourists, to say I was surprised is an understatement especially when there is the phenomenal Taj Mahal to look at. Be warned if you say yes to one photo they will all want one even forming an orderly queue to wait their turn. As harsh as it sounds you will eventually have to say no to photos and enjoy your own experience otherwise you'll be stuck in the same spot taking photos with locals all day.
Too Crowded to Move...
Yes, it's busy but what landmark doesn't have floods of tourists, like any other world-renowned place there will be a lot of people wanting to visit. The busiest areas are near Diana's Bench but there are plenty of pathways around the gardens which are a lot quieter.
The Inside is Boring
Okay maybe boring is an exaggeration the walls are lined with intricate detailing but the outside is far more impressive. The inside is also very cramped and you get herded through like cattle around the one-way system, overall the exterior is much more enjoyable.