Taj Mahal is undoubtedly one of the most visited and photographed monuments in the world. Being an iconic symbol of eternal love and India’s most celebrated landmark, it is an attraction that most people long to see at least once in their lifetime. In fact, millions of tourists make their way to Agra each year for the sole purpose of checking this white marble dome out.
Having been there a few months ago myself, I can attest that it actually is as magnificent as they say it is. I will never forget the rush of walking past the gigantic red sandstone gates before sunrise and seeing the most beautiful building in the world appearing in front of me. But did you know that you don’t necessarily need to enter the Taj Mahal complex in order to get a glimpse of one of the seven wonders of the world?
Although nothing compares to seeing this white mausoleum up close, there are several alternative viewpoints in Agra that you can visit to get unique perspectives of the Taj Mahal. Luckily for you, I spent four days in Agra scouting Taj photo points so you don’t have to. In this post, you will find the 10 best places to click pictures of the Taj Mahal, along with how to access them.
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How to get to the Taj Mahal?
The Taj Mahal is situated in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. Agra is well connected to most Indian cities by an extensive rail and road network. There is also a domestic airport in Agra, but since there aren’t many frequent flights as of yet, it is usually more convenient to fly to New Delhi or Jaipur. From there, many trains, buses and private taxis are available.
Getting to the Taj Mahal from New Delhi
There are several train stations in Agra, out of which Agra Cantonment (Agra Cantt) and Agra Fort are closest to the city centre. The Gatimaan Express leaving from Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station in New Delhi takes only 1 hour and 40 minutes to reach Agra Cantonment. You can find more information on trains from New Delhi to Agra here.
Another option is to cover the distance by road. Agra is an easy four hour drive from New Delhi on the Yamuna Expressway. The roads are in great condition and you will find many eateries and toilets along the way. You can pre-book your transport online and have a local driver ready to pick you up as preferable. Just aim to leave early to avoid midday heat and traffic.
For buses, I recommend checking redBus or 12go.asia for updated schedules and prices.
Getting to the Taj Mahal from Jaipur
From Jaipur, you can also travel to Agra via trains, buses and a private transfer. There are several direct trains leaving from Jaipur to Agra Cantt and Agra Fort daily with an average journey time of approximately 4 hours and 5 minutes. The Indian Railways 12308 and 22308 trains to Howrah also go via Jaipur and take only 3 hours and 50 minutes to reach Agra Fort. You can find more information on trains from Jaipur to Agra here.
However, covering the distance by road is the most convenient option in my opinion. The highway connecting Jaipur and Agra is in good condition and there are again many restaurants and toilets along the way. You can drive your own vehicle or book a private transfer online and go as per your own schedule. Besides, places like Chand Baori and Fatehpur Sikri fall on the way so you can stop and sightsee for a bit to break the 4-6 hours journey.
For buses between Jaipur to Agra, checkout redBus or 12go.asia. This day trip to Agra from Jaipur with transport is also a good alternative if you are short on time. But if you can, try staying for a night or two.
Best Taj Mahal Viewpoint Locations in Agra
If you are looking to capture Instagram worthy pictures of the Taj Mahal, then below are some of my favourite places in Agra for photographing this awe-inspiring white-marble masterpiece. Some of these are popular Taj Mahal viewpoints while others are off-beat spots to give you a different perspective.
1. From the grounds inside the Taj Mahal complex
Because how can you go to Agra and not admire the Taj Mahal up close from within the grounds? As soon as you enter the Taj Mahal compound and pass through the enormous red gates, you will find yourself in front of one of the most iconic spots to witness and photograph the white marble mausoleum: the reflective pool.
Providing picture perfect symmetry, the white marble platform under the reflective pool is one of the best photo points to capture the Taj Mahal in all its glory. It is also the busiest spot in the entire complex, so if you can, try to get there as early as possible. I went minutes before sunrise and had the place to myself for a couple of minutes capturing different angles. The famous Lady Diana bench is also located there.
Apart from the main mausoleum and the ornate reflective pool, the Taj Mahal complex also houses two red sandstone buildings on either side of the Taj. Although they look identical from afar, the one on the west side is a mosque (open to public) while the east one is a guesthouse that is currently closed.
If you are visiting Taj Mahal later in the day, or are simply looking to get pictures without many people in the frame, then make your way to the mosque located on the left hand side of the pool as you approach it from the entrance. You will be surprised to see how empty it is, even when the rest of the complex is bustling with visitors. Plus, the arches of the mosque provide a perfect frame and a nice contrast to the sheer whiteness of the Taj.
CG’s tip: Tripods and selfie sticks are not allowed inside the Taj Mahal complex. If you are travelling solo and want pictures, it is best to hire a local photographer from before or resort to asking strangers for a picture or two. You can also book a guided tour and have the guide take photos of you.
Opening hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes before sunset, every day except Friday. The Taj Mahal is closed every Friday for religious reasons.
Entrance Fee: INR 45 for Indians and INR 1050 for Foreigners for online tickets. Entrance to the mausoleum is an additional INR 200 for both. Ticket booths at the Taj Mahal are closed due to the pandemic, so make sure to buy tickets here beforehand.
Recommended Tour: Taj Mahal and Agra Fort Private Sunrise Tour from New Delhi
2. Dusshera Ghat
Also known as Taj Yamuna View Point, Dusshera Ghat is a great alternative if you do not want to pay the hefty entrance fee for visiting the Taj Mahal grounds and still want to be as close to it as possible. It is also one of the best places to see the Taj Mahal on a Friday when the monument is closed for prayers, and you unfortunately have only one day in Agra.
Dusshera Ghat is located just a short walk away from the East Gate entrance of the Taj Mahal. To get there, just walk straight along the boundary of the Taj from the eastern gate towards the Yamuna river. Once you reach the Ghat, you will notice the Taj peeking through the boundary wall on one side and the Yamuna on the other.
There is also a small Hindu temple on the banks of River Yamuna that you can visit when there. Just don’t go with high expectations as the river is quite polluted and you may get a foul smell. But, the photography opportunities are great as the sun sets behind the Taj Mahal and there are very few people around at any given time. Do not forget to carry a wide angle lens with you.
Dusshera Ghat is much closer to the Taj than Mehtab Bagh, which takes a lot of time to go to, and is far away, on the other side of the Yamuna. If you only have limited time in Agra, then I recommend going here for another perspective of the Taj. Besides, it is where you can get the only running boat from (more on that below).
CG’s tip: This spot can be a little dirty or busy if you are visiting Agra on a religious day or right after one as many people come to worship in the Hindu temple located on the premises.
Opening hours: All day
Entrance fee: Free
3. From a boat on the Yamuna River
We have all seen pictures of a wooden boat gliding on the Yamuna River with the Taj Mahal in the background. It is an iconic Agra shot that has been shared in magazines, movies, books and social media countless times. And even though it looks every bit dreamy in a picture, the reality on the ground is somewhat different.
There is only one boat available that offers a ride, and the legality of that is questionable too. Some say that tourists are not allowed to hop on the boat anymore, but there were several policemen around when I went and none of them had a problem with my friend and I going for a ride at sunrise. We also saw other travellers take one on the following day at sunset without an issue. However, if you are not a local, then the experience can differ.
If you want to experience seeing the Taj from the Yamuna River (it really is beautiful) and are willing to go the extra mile to get that shot (totally worth it if you ask me), it is best to head to Dusshera Ghat directly and ask around. The only boatman who offers this ride is called Manoj and people near the jetty can help you get in touch with him in case he is not there.
I actually went to Dusshera Ghat a day earlier to be safe and booked the sunrise slot with Manoj for the following day. If you are visiting during peak season, I would recommend you to do the same too. Some hotels and hostels around the Taj also offer to arrange this for you, but expect to pay a higher price for that. You can also DM me on Instagram and I will be happy to share a local photographer’s number who can contact Manoj for you and also take your pictures.
CG’s tip: Although the Taj looks mesmerising at any given time from the Yamuna, visiting at sunrise or sunset is best for pictures. During winters, there can be a lot of smog in Agra so I would recommend sunset this time of the year. Going on a Friday is even better since the Taj Mahal remains closed so there will be no one else in your pictures.
Opening hours: Sunrise to sunset, every day.
Entrance fee: Depends on what you can negotiate as it is not a ticketed experience, but expect to pay around INR 500 (in total) for a 15-20 minute ride.
4. Mehtab Bagh
Mehtab Bagh or Moonlight Garden is another must visit spot with one of the best views of the Taj Mahal in Agra. Mirroring the carefully manicured gardens at the Taj, it is a verdant green Mughal botanical garden located on the north bank of the Yamuna river. If you are looking to get epic sunrise and sunset photos of the Taj Mahal sans the crowd, then don’t skip this.
Mehtab Bagh is perfectly aligned with the Taj and there are several photo points facing the monument. There is even a popular myth associated with this garden as legend says that Shah Jahan wanted to make an exact copy of the Taj Mahal for his own burial here, only with black marble instead of white. But the construction of Black Taj never took place as he was imprisoned by his son, who buried him next to Mumtaz Mahal inside the Taj Mahal itself.
Although Mehtab Bagh is just across the river from the Taj Mahal, getting there takes longer than anticipated. You will have to travel a few kilometres west of the city, crossing the Ambedkar bridge, and then make your way back eastwards to the Taj Mahal viewpoint (do not confuse this with the Taj Mahal Yamuna viewpoint). The return journey to Mehtab Bagh from Agra’s city centre is roughly 16 km and you will need to hire an auto-rickshaw or taxi to get there.
CG’s tip: Mehtab Bagh remains open until sunset and the security guards sometimes start rushing people out just after the sun starts to set. If you want to have more time with great lighting, I recommend going for sunrise instead. There will be fewer people around that time too!
Opening hours: Sunrise to sunset, every day.
Entrance fee: INR 20 for Indians and INR 250 for Foreigners.
5. Taj View Point ADA
Taj View Point ADA is a newly opened site on the bank of river Yamuna near Mehtab Bagh. It is a few hundred metre long stretch with some benches providing a panoramic view of the Taj away from the typical crowds. The best thing about visiting this Taj Mahal viewpoint is that it is open even at night.
If you are visiting Agra during the week of a Full Moon, you can have an exceptional experience of seeing the mighty Taj lit up under moonlight from here. To get to the Taj View Point ADA, head towards Mehtab Bagh from Agra’s city centre and take a right turn from the entrance and walk around 100 metres.
Although the view from Taj View Point ADA is somewhat similar to that of Mehtab Bagh, this place is for you if you want to enjoy the landmark in peace, away from photographers and Instagrammers. For taking pictures during the day, Mehtab Bagh is more ideal.
Opening hours: Sunrise to Midnight, every day.
Entrance fee: INR 50 for Indians and INR 200 for Foreigners from sunrise to sunset. Post sunrise, the price increases to INR 200 for Indians and INR 500 for Foreigners.
6. Chhatris by the Yamuna River- The Secret Taj Mahal Sunset Point
Possibly my favourite off-beat place to photograph the Taj Mahal from, this chhatri (dome shaped pavilion) by the Yamuna river is a must visit monument in Agra. It is located just a short walk away from the East Gate entrance of the Taj, though getting there can be a bit tricky if you are alone and do not know where to go.
To reach this secret Taj Mahal sunset point, walk towards the direction of Dusshera Ghat on Dusshera Ghat Road from the East Gate entrance of the Taj. The perimeter wall of the Taj will be on your left as you make your way to the riverbank. Now, instead of going straight to the Ghat, take the first right (there is a small diversion so try not to miss it) to continue onto Dusshera Ghat Road.
After walking for about half a mile, you will come across another diversion. Now, instead of continuing on Dusshera Ghat Road, take a left and follow the dirt path until you can spot the chhatri behind a gated entrance. This gate is an entryway to a private property whose owner would let you go in for a small fee. You can also hire a local photographer and have them take you there. Message me on Instagram for the contact of the one I used.
The pavilion at this sunset point is a few storeys tall and the highest floor provides an unobstructed view of the Taj Mahal. Go here an hour before sunset and you will have the most beautiful view of the sun setting behind the Taj. Sunrise is also a good alternative if you do not want to shoot against the sun.
CG’s tip: Most people heading to this spot only go to the top floor of the monument, but there is also a nice vantage point on the floor below. This place is a popular spot amongst wedding photographers so expect some photoshoots going on when visiting.
GPS coordinates: 27.1770576, 78.0462014
Opening hours: Sunrise to sunset, every day.
Entrance Fee: This site is not a ticketed landmark, but if you are entering through a local’s home, then you have to pay around INR 100 per person.
7. From the trails of the Taj Nature Walk
Located a few metres away from the East Gate entrance of the Taj Mahal on Taj East Gate Road, Taj Nature Walk is a peaceful park providing walking trails and beautiful viewpoints. If you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Agra, then take a stroll through this 70 hectare green belt and enjoy unique glimpses of the Taj Mahal every now and then. Some of these Taj vantage points are exceedingly Instagram worthy!
Taj Nature Walk is also home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. You can expect to come across an array of birds, peacocks, peahens, hyena, and more whilst visiting. Many tourists also head here for a picnic, but in general, it is not a busy attraction. For the best experience, go to the Taj Nature Walk in the morning or evening hours when the weather is pleasant and the sun is not too harsh.
CG’s tip: Even though Taj Nature Walk is located in the same vicinity as the Taj Mahal, it is best to carry a zoom lens with you to get remarkable pictures of the mausoleum.
Opening hours: Sunrise to sunset, every day.
Entrance fee: INR 20 for Indians and INR 100 for Foreigners.
8. Agra Fort
Another place from which you can see the Taj Mahal in Agra is none other than the city’s second most visited landmark, Agra Fort. Constructed as a military fortress in 1565 and later embellished with white marble and precious stones by Shah Jahan during his reign, it is easy to grasp why Agra Fort is one of the most beautiful forts in India.
When visiting Agra Fort, take a moment to appreciate its impressive 22 metre high red sandstone wall before making your way in. The interiors are equally astonishing with multiple palaces, courtyards, gardens and mosques. Apart from these, there are also plenty of vantage points that provide an unobstructed view of the Taj.
As you tour the many palaces of Agra Fort, you will find the Taj Mahal peeking through the many decorative jharokas (windows), balconies and towers inside. The total area of Agra fort is enormous, so I recommend keeping an afternoon or evening free to take it all in. However, for pictures, sunrise is better with fewer people around.
A fun fact about Agra Fort is that when Shah Jahan was overthrown and imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb, he spent eight years gazing out at the river and admiring the Taj Mahal from here until his death. The exact area where he was held is now barricaded but you can still see a glimpse of his view from afar.
CG’s tip: Carry a telephoto lens to bring the Taj Mahal closer in your pictures. You’ll thank me later!
Opening hours: Sunrise to sunset, every day.
Entrance fee: INR 35 for Indians and INR 550 for Foreigners for online tickets. Plus, a separate ticket for ADA Toll Tax upon arrival, which is INR 10 for Indians and INR 50 for foreigners.
9. Hathi Ghat
If you are still looking for a unique place to photograph the Taj Mahal from, then Hathi Ghat is for you. Deserted from heaps of tourists that are always at the Taj Mahal, this barren land by the river is a spot that very few people visit. In fact, you will barely find Hathi Ghat recommended in most travel books and guides about Agra.
Other than being a lesser known spot in Agra, the thing that keeps most visitors away from Hathi Ghat is the way to get to the photo point. Depending on the season, you may have to cross a muddy field with puddles of water to get there. But if you really want silhouette shots of the Taj Mahal at sunrise, then put your old shoes on and walk to the riverbank with utmost care.
Hathi Ghat looks incredibly underwhelming during the day, so if you cannot visit at sunrise then simply don’t bother going. To reach there, ask any auto-rickshaw to take you to Hathi Ghat or book an Uber or Ola for the same. The nearby Paradise Park is also a great place for photographing the Taj Mahal at sunrise.
CG’s tip: Remember to only wear shoes that you don’t mind getting spoiled and bring a telephoto lens with you.
Opening hours: Sunrise to sunset, every day.
Entrance fee: Free.
10. From a Rooftop café or Restaurant
You have been inside the Taj Mahal grounds and now cannot be bothered to make your way to any of the off-beat vantage points listed above. And yet, you would still like to observe another perspective of the Taj while you are still in Agra. Fret not, and just walk for a few minutes until you reach one of the many hostels and budget hotels located in the Taj Ganj area.
The next Taj Mahal viewpoint in this list is none other than a rooftop café or restaurant situated atop these properties. While all of them have a similar view of the Taj and the Great Gate, some obviously stand out more than the others. The rooftops of Hotel Saniya Palace and Hotel Kamal are amongst two of the most known. Another good option is Joey’s Hostel.
You can head to either and enjoy an unparalleled view of the Taj Mahal with a cup of coffee (or chai) in hand. Just keep in mind that the food is simply decent at most of these establishments. But hey, it is not every day that you get to have a meal with a view of the Taj Mahal, now do you?
Opening Hours: Depends on the café or restaurant you are visiting, but typically open from sunrise to 10pm.
Entrance Fee: There is no fee to access the rooftop, you just pay for what you order.
11. The Oberoi Amarvilas
If you would like some place luxurious instead, then don’t think twice before heading to the Oberoi Amarvilas. Situated only 600 metres from the Taj Mahal, every nook at this property provides an unbelievable view of the Taj. I stayed there for a night and couldn’t stop gazing at the Taj from my room. It truly is the best five star hotel in Agra.
But, if you are on a budget and cannot fathom splurging, then simply reserve a table at any one of their restaurants and take a tour of the property upon arrival. Everything from the reception, to the staircase to the restaurants, to the bar has a view of the Taj Mahal so you will get plenty of picture opportunities.
I personally love and recommend Bellevue, an all-day dining restaurant with outdoor seating overlooking the pool.
Opening hours: All day
Entrance fee: There is no charge to enter for dining, you simply pay for what you order. For overnight stays at the Oberoi Amarvilas, check prices here.
12. From a hot air balloon
This last Taj Mahal viewpoint is rather unconventional. Started just a few years ago, the Taj hot air balloon festival taking place for a few days in November each year will give you a chance to gaze down on one of the seven wonders of the world from the sky.
Spend a morning floating above the Taj Mahal and capture this UNESCO World Heritage site from an entirely different dimension. Since drones are not allowed anywhere in the Taj Mahal vicinity, you will get an opportunity to click some unique bird’s eye perspectives of both the mausoleum and Yamuna River.
Unfortunately, I only found out about this in Agra, which of course was too late to coincide my trip with the festival. But if you are still indecisive on your dates and are considering November, then the Taj hot air balloon festival usually happens towards the end of the month. There are only a limited number of balloons so make sure to reserve in advance if visiting.
Opening hours: Depends on the year, but usually the flights are in the morning.
Entrance fee: INR 15,000 for adults and INR 10,000 for children.
Map of the best Taj Mahal Viewpoints in Agra
To make your time in Agra even more convenient, I even created a custom map containing the best Taj Mahal viewpoints for you. This way you can club places that are closer in one outing and plan your trip more easily.
Just click on the bracket in the upper right corner and the map will automatically open in Google Maps on your device. You can leave it open to come back to it later or share with friends and family.
More hotels with a Taj Mahal View in Agra
Although the Oberoi Amarvilas has the best Taj Mahal view in my opinion, there are several other properties that offer a peek at India’s most famous monument. Below you will find some options for hotels with a Taj Mahal view that don’t necessarily break the bank:
DoubleTree by Hilton Agra: Located minutes from the Taj Mahal in Taj Ganj, DoubleTree by Hilton is an affordable five star hotel in Agra. You can pay a premium for a room with a Taj Mahal view or simply book the cheapest one and enjoy an unobstructed view of the Taj from the rooftop pool. Places like Agra Fort and Agra Cantonment station are also close by. Check prices and availability at DoubleTree by Hilton Agra here.
Radisson Hotel Agra: With an outdoor restaurant providing pleasant views of the Taj Mahal, Radisson Hotel is another popular choice amongst travellers. It is located only 2 kilometres from the Taj and the airport is quite close too. If you wish to splurge extra on a room with a view, you can easily get a glimpse of the Taj Mahal from your bedroom at the Radisson. Check prices and availability for Radisson Hotel Agra here.
Crystal Sarovar Premiere: Crystal Sarovar Premiere is another affordable luxury hotel near the Taj Mahal. Along with 136 plush rooms offering stunning views of the Taj, you can also admire the famous mausoleum from the hotel’s rooftop dining selections and pool at the terrace. Other landmarks like Agra Fort, Moti Masjid and more are also situated close by. Check prices and availability for Crystal Sarovar Premiere here.
Taj Hotel & Convention Centre Agra: Last but not the least, Taj Hotel & Convention Centre is ideal for you if you are a fan of the Taj group of hotels. Located just 1 kilometre from the iconic Taj Mahal, this property features an infinity swimming pool with an astonishing view of the Taj at the rooftop. There are five dining options available at the property, as well as other amenities like a fitness centre. Check prices and availability for Taj Hotel & Convention Centre here.
That’s a wrap on the best places to photograph the Taj Mahal from me! Being a landmark that is so widely known, I had high hopes of capturing this world wonder from multiple angles. Thankfully, there are numerous Taj Mahal vantage points in Agra and one can never have enough of the mausoleum.
I have included all the best places to see the Taj Mahal from that I could think of in this post. I hope you found the information here helpful in planning your trip to Agra. This post about the best Taj Mahal quotes may also come handy when you come back with lots of amazing pictures from the city.
But if there is anything else I can help you out with, then please leave a comment below or DM me on Instagram. I love hearing from you and seeing your pictures!
Want to keep reading? You may like “A Complete Agra Travel Guide” and “Best Instagram Spots in Jaipur” too.
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This Post Has 4 Comments
Incredibly beautiful architecture and surrounding landscape. It is so interesting how you explained some of the myths there are about what we see online vs how it is in real life. Thank you so much for sharing this experience. It truly looks incredible!
Thank you for reading and for your kind words, Andrea. I think it is very important to share true experiences so readers know what to expect upon visiting and plan their trips accordingly. Some spots can be a hassle to get to, but as you mentioned, the beautiful architecture and surrounding landscape of the Taj Mahal makes it SO worth it.
The Taj Majal picture from the water is extraordinary! haven’t seen many like this, so cool!
Thank you, Nat. The Taj Mahal looked unbelievably beautiful from the river, I am happy to read that the picture helps in depicting that.