Visiting the Taj Mahal with Kids

Visiting the Taj Mahal with Kids

When we were planning on visiting the Taj Mahal with kids, I have to admit I was a little anxious about taking the kids to India. The media can portray India as dangerous and dirty and that you’ll likely get sick from the food. They don’t really paint a pretty picture or encourage you to take your kids there.  This post will provide useful facts about India for kids, particularly focusing on the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal location is close to the city of Agra, the historic capital city of India.

This is quite sad, as in our experience my anxiety was totally unfounded. I was luckly enough to be in contact with a British expat @travelynnfamily on Instagram and was able to discuss a few of my concerns. Jenny has a great post on tips for travelling to India with kids which is very helpful for first time visitors. This put my mind at ease substantially and gave me the confidence to go forward with our plans. We had planned to take the train from Jaipur to Agra but as I’ll explain later we had to change these plans. If you are planning on travelling via rail my guide to booking the train in India online will be helpful. We spent the majority of our stay in Jaipur, you can read all about our top places to visit in Jaipur with kids.


We are normally independent travellers, reason being that travelling with 5 is expensive enough without adding on tours and guide costs. A couple of times I’ve been disappointed that we didn’t have a guide because at some places you can really benefit from a good one. Our trip to Angkor Wat is a good example of that. I hadn’t booked one there because I hadn’t researched it before arriving and was overwhelmed with everyone approaching us when we arrived so I just said no to everyone.

While in Agra we stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton Agra and this was 2 kms from the Taj Mahal and in a great location.

Organised Tours

If you prefer to be more organised and book prior to departure, I highly recommend a few tours I have listed below, these  available for direct booking with Klook which offers a competitive price.

Taj Mahal & Agra Fort Private Half Day Tour;

Taj Mahal Fast Track Entry Ticket;

Kids are free, our kids were 12, 10 and 8 years old at the time of our visit, I believe kids under 15 are free.

Choosing a tour guide from Trip Advisor

This time I was determined not to let that happen again and when we decided to visit the Taj Mahal I started researching tour guides on Trip Advisor. There are heaps to choose from but my theory is to go to the one with the most reviews and then read the most recent 15-20. If there are a couple of bad reviews I’m not too concerned as long at the majority are excellent.

Taj Mahal entrance gate
Entrance into the Taj Mahal, previous photo above taken inside this entrance

You can also make sure that the service has comments from a variety of different nationalities. Australian’s are a pretty easy going bunch so if I see a few good reviews from other Aussies, I’m pretty happy that the tour guide will be fairly reasonable. I look for reviews from different english speaking countries as well, as that will indicate that the tour guide has a reasonable grasp of the English language.

Tour guide & private driver

This is where things got a bit messy and I have to admit I came unstuck here. In Agra booking a tour guide doesn’t necessarily mean you have a driver. For us, this got lost in translation and somehow I missed that we needed to book both separately or advise the tour guide that we would need one so he could organise it for us.

You can always grab a tuk-tuk but, depending on yours and the kids tolerance for heat, you may find that you want to be able to hop into an air conditioned car after being out exploring in the heat.

We had a 13 hour flight delay which meant that we would miss our train from Jaipur to Agra. While in transit I had to organise last minute transfers between the cities. I also had to change our full day Agra tour to two half day tours which is where some of the confusion came from. After realising that we didn’t have a driver, our guide attempted to find us one but it was the beginning of the peak season so he was unable to find one. Luckily he was happy to drive us in his personal vehicle which turned out to be fantastic for us.

Our Taj Mahal tour guide

Our guide was Kishore Gupta. You can contact him on
Click the link to read Kishore’s reviews on Trip Advisor. I made contact with Kishore online and he was very responsive. He was flexible with all the changes I had to make due to the flight delays and he was great with the kids. I highly recommend Kishore and I think you’ll find him a great choice for your Taj Mahal visit.
Costs vary but on this occasion we paid INR3000, that’s equates to A$60 which I think is reasonable for 5 people. That included visiting the Agra Fort the evening before, we had two half days with Kishore which were included in the one price. After the Agra Fort, Kishore took us to a garden on the other side of the river behind the Taj Mahal to watch the sunset. He also took us for a drive around Agra before heading back to our hotel to wait for our transfer back to Jaipur.

Kishore Gupta our tour guide for the Taj Mahal
Kishore Gupta our tour guide

Taj Mahal visiting hours

The Taj Mahal opens at sunrise or sometime close to that and closes at sunset. The approximate time frames for Taj Mahal visiting hours are 6.00am until 6.30pm.  Be mindful when travelling to the Taj Mahal that it’s closed to tourists on Fridays , although it is open to Muslims for afternoon prayers.

You are able to visit the Taj Mahal at night, you must purchase your tickets 24 hours prior from the Taj Mahal ticketing booth and note that camera’s are not allowed at night.

Visiting the Taj Mahal with Kids

The best time to visit the Taj Mahal is sunrise. While the sun does not rise behind the building for the perfect golden sunrise shot, the sun rises to the side of the monument and bathes it in a beautiful glow. It’s also the least busy time of day and will enable you to wander around quite freely.

The classic Taj shot

Now when I say the least busy time, don’t be fooled, even though it is quoted as the least busy time, this is by Indian standards and I have to admit, its still chaotic and crazy! The whole experience is pretty overwhelming and if your worrying about getting tickets, being in the right line, what you can take in and then all the while watching your kids….. I take my hat off to you!

When we arrived there were about 150 people already in line. Kishore had a friend at the front so he gave him our money. He bought our tickets for us and handed them back to Kishore while we waited outside (it’s not what you know  ). Once you have your tickets you grab a complimentary bottle of water and shoe covers from a counter on the way out. There is no orderly line and most people are not patiently waiting their turn so expect some unorganised chaos here.

Map of the Taj Mahal
Map of the Taj Mahal Complex

Now you can make your way to the entrance. You can either walk or take a buggy down to the Taj Mahal, we took a buggy to the east gate. The west gate is the busiest and this is where most tourists are taken Hawkers attempt to sell tourists horse and carriage rides and elephant rides down to the entrance gate. The east gate is less manic and slightly more organised. Most people here have done a bit of research about which gate is best. The south gate does not open until 8am.

On arrival at the gate you are ushered into separate lines until the gates open. There are 4 lines, Indian female, foreign female, Indian male and foreign male. When the gates open you go through the security check for a pat down by security guards of the same sex and then a bag check. They are pretty thorough with the bag check so only take what you require. Women’s hand bags are fine but don’t bother with any back packs or anything like that, they won’t be allowed.

Once you clear bag inspection everyone pretty much runs to get that first glimpse of the Taj Mahal and when you do its magical! We were probably through to the Taj Mahal within the first 100 or so for that day. Having our tour guide get hold of our tickets enabled us to get through and get some great photos without the crowds. That is priceless!

Looking back at the Main Gate

I often noticed that Indian people would stare at us, particularly the kids and would walk towards us and Kishore would often speak to them in Hindi. I can only assume that he was telling them not to hassle us for for selfies. We got very little of that while we were with him. I am thankful for that because I am very soft and would stop for people if they asked but this does take away from your experience and makes the kids a little uncomfortable.

Once inside people are pushing and shoving to get photos from different vantage points, in particular at Diana’s seat. The guides look after their own clients but in an orderly manner. Your guide also doubles as a photographer as well and we have quite a few family photos from the Taj Mahal because he took them for us.

Taj Mahal
As you can see the crowd behind us, apparently that is nothing compared to around 10am when the crowds get huge.

Last but not least, the best reason for having a guide is the information they provide about the area. The history of the Taj Mahal, the cultural differences and sets the scene of what it was like back in the day. This is the stuff you can’t find in a book, the stuff only locals can tell you about their city. This is what you invest in the guide for, it enriches your experience.

Taj Mahal facts for kids

Here are some interesting facts about the Taj Mahal for kids and should keep them busy thinking about what was actually involved my building and constructing all the Taj Mahal marble:

  • All the materials used to build Taj Mahal were transported by 1,000 elephants;
  • It took 22,000 labourers, painters, stonecutters, embroidery artists to build the Taj Mahal;
  • Emperor Shan originally wanted to build a black marble Taj Mahal across the river from its current location;
  • Over 1 million tourist per year visit the Taj Mahal,
  • The Taj Mahal is India’s biggest tourist attraction;
  • The centre dome rises to about 35 meters (115 feet) and is surrounded by four other domes;
  • Many of the precious stones on the mausoleum were stolen from the walls by the British army in 1857;
  • TThe Emperor ordered all workers who worked on the mausoleum, were to get their hands chopped off, this ensured no one could make anything like it ever again.

Our private driver

Our private driver drove us from Jaipur to Agra and back. This is a four and a half hour trip each way. Due to flight delays we missed a day in Agra so arrived one day and left the next day. Quite a bit of car time for three kids.

We used Agra Day Tours and our driver was Ravi Ji. Ravi was fabulous and patient with the kids. We had a break half way and stretched our legs and had a drink. Ravi even bought snacks for the kids and a couple of beers for Craig to enjoy in the car. I cannot recommend him more highly.

Cost was tricky with this one. I paid US$125 each way, about A$160. I was happy with this price for 5 people but others have told me it was very expensive. I had 2AC train tickets booked and they were a total of A$100 so for an extra A$60 we were in a comfortable car. Also I organised this from home and didn’t attempt to negotiate on price, maybe I could have. I did contact 3 other companies and they were more expensive. Maybe you could negotiate something cheaper over there if you have the time but we were time strapped and these guys were flexible when I had to change our arrangements.


We were time poor and everything had to go as planned or we wouldn’t have even made it to Agra. I wasn’t prepared to be so close and not get to see the Taj Mahal so I was willing to pay whatever it cost. What I paid I feel was reasonable but the hard part is knowing what to tip.

We were quite generous with our tips for both these services but at the same time we were also very happy with the service provided. Both went above and beyond what I paid them for and this made our experience so much better.

Our family photo at the Taj Mahal for the photo wall at home.

Our trip to Agra could have been a nightmare, we had 24hrs, from lunchtime and lunchtime and we had to tick off everything on my list! We even managed to purchase a white marble coffee table to bring home to remind us of the trip! We stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton in Agra.

While in Agra we stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton, it opened 12 months prior and has great views of the Taj Mahal from the rooftop and from some rooms. India is an amazing country and even though I wouldn’t return to the north as I’m not a fan or returning when there is other places to visit, I would love an experience such as a luxury houseboat in Kerala in the South or Holi in Mumbai or even visit one of the larger cities such as Bangalore.

Side perspective of the Taj Mahal
Side perspective of the Taj Mahal with Keira doing a handstand.

Have you been to Agra? If you use these recommendations please let me know in the comments. I love to hear if I have helped someone with my information.

Safe travels,

Sal, Craig & our 3 kids


















This Post Has 34 Comments

  1. Hi Sally, what a great post! I need to work hard to convince Ross that we should visit the Taj Mahal….so it’s on the list but quite far down….but my list is continually changes – so who knows!!! Cheers, Amber

    1. Hi Amber,
      Thank you, I think people find India quite daunting due to the media portrayal, it’s actually pretty easy but I have to admit its pretty dirty! Once you get past that its very beautiful underneath. I think you would really enjoy it, it’s certainly a challenge but very rewarding at the same time.
      Keep working on him, it took me years to get Craig to go to Vietnam and it turned out the best holiday he’s ever had.
      Sal & Co

  2. I never knew that cameras aren’t allowed at night. Do you think that’s because of flash/tripods? Such a good tip—I bet that catches a lot of people out! I’d love to see this beautiful building in the flesh one day!

    1. Hi Emily,
      Thanks for your comment.

      It is an amazing building and yes India in general has some strange rules! Keeps you in your toes though!
      I do hope you get there one day.

      Sal & Co.

  3. The Taj Mahal is high up on my bucket list so thank you for this guide. Especially the contacts for great guides, as it can be tricky to know who to go with!

    1. Hi Monique,
      Thanks for your comment. We were so lucky to have the opportunity to visit the Taj Mahal with our kids. I highly recommend a visit and I do suggest a guide because things get a bit manic at times in India.

      Sal & Co.

    1. Hi Jessica,
      Thanks for your comment.

      We certainly did thank you. I highly recommend a visit if you ever have the chance.

      Sal & Co.

  4. You got great photos! I’ve seen some where the crowds are just god awful. I’m sure it’ll be a memorable highlight for the kids!

    1. Hi Amy,
      Thanks for your comment.

      We were there at sunrise but there were still a lot of people around. The tour buses start arriving around mid morning so you want to be in before then. We were back at the hotel at 9am having breakfast.

      Sal & Co.

  5. I loved the Taj Mahal and agree with you that it is magical! Your tour guide sounds great.

  6. Great thorough experience of your time at Taj Mahal. It sounds like it was well worth hiring a guide and he seems like a lovely choice for anyone. My husband and I are not early rises, but wow, we would get up for that beautiful sunrise picture. And to avoid the busier crowds. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Christina,
      Thanks for commenting.

      I’m very much an earlier riser and really enjoy sunrise when travelling. Its definitely a good time to view the Taj but I reckon sunset would be just as spectacular. I would have loved to stay for sunset but we had time constraints.

      Sal & Co.

  7. I’ve always wanted to visit the Taj Mahal, but I haven’t had the chance to go yet. Thanks for all the tips! I had no idea that it was so crowded even at sunrise though. Even with all the people, though, it’s still such a magical place! <3

    1. Hi Jillian,
      Thanks for commenting.

      It really was an amazing experience, only enhanced by having a guide. Crowds in India can’t be avoided, its the same everywhere you go. Security checks are also time consuming in the major tourists spots. Just got to go with the flow sometimes and follow the crowd!

      Sal & Co.

  8. So many great tips for visiting Taj Mahal. Agree, mornings bring that special light to this place, and it’s good to be there early to skip the crowds. So glad you found a great guide 🙂

    1. Hi Mateja,
      Thanks for your comment.

      I loved the Taj Mahal and the rest of India was just as spectacular. The food is amazing and the people very friendly. I highly recommend visiting Agra and especially Jaipur. The Taj Mahal will definitely be something you will never forget.

      Sal & Co.

  9. I too, have had some concerns with visiting the Taj-Mahal with kids, but you’ve convinced me it’s actually quite doable! Thanks for the information on purchasing sunset tickets 24-hours in advance and I didn’t realise cameras weren’t allowed in the evening!

    1. Hi Marie,
      Thanks for commenting.

      I was very nervous visiting the Taj Mahal with the kids which is part of the reason I booked a guide. There’s a lot of red tape in India and its more efficient if someone can help you with it all. The kids still rate it as one of their best experiences as with me.

      Sal & Co.

  10. Great tip for going at sunrise – it looks a lot less crowded than in most of the other shots I’ve seen online!

    1. Hi Taryn,
      Thanks for your comment.

      Definitely a good idea to get there early but India is crowded nearly all of the time so you could have a different experience, or a better one! I do advise to beat the tour buses though!

      Sal & Co.

  11. Hi,
    Nicely described, really sweet post.
    Really liked all the pictures. Even I visited Taj Mahal recently, its really amazing. Taj Mahal is an experience of its own kind.


    1. Hi Nihal,
      Thanks for your comment.

      Glad to hear you enjoyed your visit also, there really is something special about standing in front of something so spectacular. I would love to return to India one day regardless of all the other issues.

      Sal & Co.

  12. Your pictures are stunning. Thanks for such an elaborate post. I visited Taj Mahal as a child and have fond memories of this place. I am sure your kids will treasure this for ever as well

    1. Hi Mayuri,
      Thanks for your comment.

      I think it is definitely a place that will not fade in your memory! We loved our experience there and would gladly go back to India if given the opportunity. It’s an amazing place to visit.

      Sal & Co.

  13. Hi,
    I’m travelling to India in December and plan to take my kids to the Taj Mahal. I might just copy your itinerary! Thanks for your post.

    1. Hi Allison,

      Thanks for your comment, that’s awesome so glad I have made the planning process easier for you.

      Taj Mahal will blow you away, make sure you get there early as the tour groups arrive starting around 10am.

      Shout out if you need any other help sorting out your trip. Are you visiting Jaipur as well?

      Sal & Co.

  14. This is a fantastic guide and I hope to be taking my two children to India when we do our tour of the country (maybe in a year or two). Really want to educate and let them experience India and the Taj Mahal has to be visited as it is one of the main landmarks.

  15. Even without kids I would value using a private driver. I did go to Taj Mahal many years ago and the touts didn’t make it easy so it would be good to already have a local guiding me. This will be an unforgettable experience for your kids!

  16. I visited the Taj twice actually, and though it is touristy now even more so than during my first visit 20 years ago, it’s still as beautiful as ever, and for sure worth the visit. I agree that having a guide makes all the difference when you visit historical sites, as you get stories books and travel guides would skip. During our last visit, we spent hours there, exploring every nook possible, which also allowed us to enjoy the Taj away from the selfie-taking-crowd packed around the fountains. Loved every second of it!

  17. Lovely post on your visit to the Taj Mahal. I do gently remind you that whilst you are pointing out the shortcomings of “the media” you are, in fact, one of them in one shape or another. By definition, you are publishing information and stories, and you are, as such (oh horrors) to be classed as “the media.” ;-). As with all bits and pieces of information, one conducts careful research, as you did, and then weighs the credibility of the various sources, and then you will arrive at a picture and understanding of a place that is properly balanced…as you did. And now your experience and story will add to the education of others who wish to travel to Taj. Nicely done.

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