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5 BEST ways of photographing the Taj Mahal, Agra

5 BEST ways of photographing the Taj Mahal, Agra
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On photographing the Taj Mahal, Agra

We would be millionaires if we had a penny for every time any one asked us which camera we use for our photos. Truth be told, photography is about scouting for locations, being patient, spending time (lots of it!) on capturing perfect frames. Good equipment can lend a helping hand but ultimately it’s your vision of a photograph that lends it that special something.

This is nowhere truer than at a place that boasts of being the most visited and most photographed monument in the world – THE Taj Mahal. How can one photograph the mighty Taj Mahal in ways that pay homage to the sheer splendour of the monument? I won’t lie – in the process you might have to walk through grubby alleyways, mucky passages, or sit on rickety boats that could give way any second 😉 But that’s how you find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

Luckily for you, we did the dirty work (quite literally – there were quite a few soiled shoes at these excursions) and dug up our favourite places in Agra for clicking photographs of the Taj Mahal.

Sunset at Taj Mahal from Mehtab Bagh Gardens

Perfect sunset scene at Taj Mahal 🙂

 

Getting to the Taj Mahal from New Delhi

The Taj Mahal is an easy four hour drive from New Delhi on the Yamuna Expressway. The highway is in great shape and there are tons of public toilets and restaurants along the way. Expect to pay INR 415 (£5) as toll tax. 

The Taj Mahal makes for an easy day trip from New Delhi but we would suggest staying in Agra at least for one night. This is because sunrise and sunset are the best times to photograph the Taj Mahal. Here are five of our favourite places to photograph the Taj Mahal:

 

I) The compound of Taj Mahal for capturing it up close

You’ve paid the entry fee, walked around the complex of Taj Mahal, marvelled at the intricate carvings on walls, and it’s time to leave. But you don’t have a single photo that does justice to the sheer scale of the Taj Mahal. Fret not – just head to either of the two red mosques (preferably the one on the  that flank the main ivory building inside the Taj Mahal complex.

 

While the main building is swarming with people  at most times of the day, you’ll be surprised to know that less than 1% of these visitors make it to the brick-coloured mosques on either side of the Taj Mahal. The doorways and arches of these mosques provide the perfect frame for capturing the Taj Mahal. This makes for the ideal photograph of the monument.

 

girl at Taj Mahal mosque

Enjoying the gorgeous view of The Taj

 

If you are one of the first few people into the Taj Mahal when it opens at sunrise, you can get a perfectly symmetrical shot with the fountains in the front. Just remember that at any time one of the minarets of the Taj is under repair, which means scaffoldings might spoil the photograph. We got this shot at noon:

 

Taj Mahal fountains and gardens

Classic shot of Taj Mahal 🙂

 

Entry fee for Taj Mahal: INR 40 Indian nationals, INR 1000 (£12) for foreigners. Food and camera tripods are not allowed inside the Taj Mahal.

 

II) Hathi Ghat for photographing Taj Mahal at sunrise

I will preface this one with a warning – this is only for serious photography enthusiasts. Tourists rarely make their way to Hathi Ghat because it isn’t on the regular tourist trail and comprises a muddy field that doesn’t have much to offer. EXCEPT a spectacular view of Taj Mahal at sunrise. The barren river bed is distinctly underwhelming during the day but I promise you this – it is the perfect place to photograph Taj Mahal at sunrise. The first rays of the sun shine on the Taj Mahal in the distance and create magic. See for yourself:

 

Sunrise behind the Taj Mahal from Hathi Ghat

One of the most gorgeous sunrises 🙂

 

Sunrise at Taj Mahal from the river bed of Yamuna

What a sight! 🙂

 

Entry Fee: Free but you might lose a pair of shoes to muck in the process – consider yourself warned 😉 You can ask any cabbie or tuk-tuk driver to take you there.

 

III) Mehtab Bagh for photographing the facade of Taj Mahal

These gardens, right opposite the Taj Mahal, are perfect spot for clicking the Taj Mahal during the day. Legend has it that Shah Jahan thought of the gardens as the perfect place for viewing the Taj Mahal and absorbing the beauty of the mausoleum. He was right because the gardens offer a great vantage point for absorbing the beauty of the Taj Mahal. Mehtab Bagh is great at any time of the day but we suggest visiting the gardens in the evening and sticking around for sunset.

Sunset at Mehtab Bagh Gardens Taj Mahal Agra

Enjoying the sunset. Le Sigh!

 

Sunset at Taj Mahal Agra

Gorgeous hues 🙂

 

Entry Fee: INR 15 for Indian Nationals, INR 200 (£2.5) for foreigners

 

IV) Photograph the Taj Mahal from a hot air balloon

The Taj Balloon Festival is a relatively new phenomenon and takes place in November every year. Of course we had to go check it out for ourselves. Of course, one barely needs any persuasion to hop onto a hot air balloon when the mighty Taj Mahal is part of the photo. But this hot air balloon ride offers so much more. 

 Despite the infamous layer of smog in Agra, we loved gazing at the Taj Mahal and River Yamuna snaking its way through Agra, from the comfort of our hot air balloon. But the real fun started after that! Hundreds of little kids waved at our balloon from rooftops of houses, schools, and shops. Dozens of them actually followed our balloon as it landed in the countryside and came to say hello. We’ve been on plenty of hot air balloon rides before but this was inimitably Indian and truly special. We loved it and got some great photographs of the Taj Mahal too.

 

Hot air balloon over Taj Mahal Agra India

A hot air balloon takes off for its flight over the Taj

 

Hot air balloon ride over Taj Mahal and Yamuna river in Agra

Gorgeous view of Taj Mahal and Yamuna from the sky

 

Entry fee: Taj Balloon Festival is still in its nascent stages but flights are expected to be priced around INR15000 (£180)

 

V) A whole new way of photographing the Taj Mahal – from a boat!

Go against the grain. When you’re standing at the entrance of the Taj Mahal, turn right. A short ten minute walk will take you to Dussehra Ghat at the banks of river Yamuna. It’s just 10 minutes away from the hustle bustle of the Taj Mahal but it seems like another world. There is rarely anyone except a couple of security guards, priests, and stray monkeys here. 

The view of the Taj from the Yamuna Riverbank is pretty cool, so you could click a few photographs here. Or you could amplify the experience to another level and take a short boat ride on a decaying old-school boat. There is just one boatman by the name of Manoj here as this isn’t a ticketed attraction – we went back twice to find him but it was worth it 🙂 It’s easy to click the Taj Mahal while floating and gliding on the waters of River Yamuna but Manoj happily obliges by clicking a few shots if you want to be part of that photograph too.

 

boat ride on Yamuna to see Taj Mahal

Best way to start the day 🙂

 

Reflection shot of Taj Mahal in waters of Yamuna river in Agra

Perfect reflections 🙂

 

Entry fee: This isn’t a formal ticketed ride but expect to pay INR 200-300 (£3-5) for a 15 minute boat ride.

Accommodation in Agra

If you want to be close to The Taj Mahal and enjoy gorgeous views of the monument right from your hotel whilst indulging in some luxury, go for either Oberoi Amarvilas (just 600 metres from Taj Mahal) or ITC Mughal (close to the West Gate of Taj Mahal). Alternatively you can find plenty of hotels in Agra to suit all budgets here.

 

Taj Mahal mosque photograph

Gorgeousness framed 🙂

 

Hope this gives you some nice ideas for photographing the Taj Mahal. Do remember to take a few moments without your camera to absorb the magic of Taj Mahal and its surroundings 🙂

Planning on travelling in India? Read all our articles on India for some offbeat and luxurious suggestions 🙂

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69 Comments

  1. Beautifully written and extremely well articulated article.You almost make me feel that I am there, right by your side exploring the by lanes of Agra for a good shot of the Taj Mahal. The accompanying pictures are unique in their own way – a work of art!

    • Thank you so much Sangs 🙂

  2. Hi Savi&vid, I really love to read your articles ;)When are you coming to Johor,Malaysia? I would love to meet you 😀

    • We’d love to meet you too 🙂 No immediate plans of visiting Johor but we’ll love to head there sometime later this year!

  3. Your photographs of the Taj Mahal leave me speechless, they are so breathtakingly beautiful. Every time I thought I had found my favourite I found another. The sunrise photos are truly spectacular as are the ones taken from the boat. I would love to see this myself someday.

    • Hey Sarah,

      Thank you so much for your kind words. We had an amazing time clicking all these photos of The Taj Mahal – we wanted to get away from the crowds and were happy that we came away with some really cool shots 🙂

  4. These pictures are gorgeous! I’d love to go and visit the Taj Mahal x

    • Thanks a lot Stephanie 🙂 Taj Mahal is a special place – you must visit soon!

  5. What an interesting post. I really want to learn how to use my camera better this year, but I think I’ll also have to start thinking more about the composition of photos.

    • Indeed! Composition is key especially when you are photographing something as gorgeous as The Taj Mahal 🙂

  6. My husband is a photographer and often talks about the fact you might have to take 50 pics to get 1 good one lol. Im blown away by the quality of the ones featured on your post, they are incredible and really transport you there in mind, great work x

    • Thanks a lot Lynne – we really enjoyed photographing The Taj Mahal 🙂

  7. What amazing photos, and from so many different angles, everyone knows the classic shot but from a boat or from a hot air balloon are new views for me.

    • Glad to hear you enjoyed them 🙂 The shots from the boat are my favourite 🙂

  8. These photos are absolutely stunning. Thanks for sharing all the tips!

    • Thanks a lot Yaya 🙂

  9. I expected the balloon ride to cost a lot more. What an amazing way to view such an iconic landmark. Your photography is insane!

    • Hey Jess – You’re right – given the going rate in the rest of the world, the balloon ride over Taj Mahal is actually quite cheap 🙂

  10. Those photos are just beautiful. I love the one with the birds flying across.

    • Thanks Dannii – glad you enjoyed our photos of the Taj Mahal 🙂

  11. Oh this post is so just in time ! I am in Agra tomorrow 🙂

    • Hey Mani – how cool is that? Let me know if you make it to any of the 5 places 🙂

  12. Wow these photos are absolutely stunning, some fantastic angles have been captured xxx

    • We just had to photograph the Taj Mahal from every possible angle 😉

  13. Just absolutely STUNNING. This is in my bucketlist and I cannot wait to make it happen!! Thank you for sharing and relighting the fire in me!

    • Hey Katrina – hope you make it to Taj Mahal soon. It is quite touristy but it really helps to go off-the-beaten-path, especially if you enjoy photography 🙂

  14. Stunning and breath taking photos the sunrise is my favourite thank u for sharing your tips.

    • Glad you enjoyed reading our tips on taking the best photos of Taj Mahal 🙂

  15. I would love to see the Taj Mahal in person. I think India is beautiful and more people should visit x

    • India is a bit of a sensory overload but most visitors love the colour, food, and monuments once the initial shock (mostly at the chaos) settles down 🙂

  16. You took some fab photos here. Thanks for sharing the tips x

    • Thanks Hannah – the Taj Mahal lends itself well to photographs 🙂

    • Thanks Hannah – The Taj Mahal lends itself so well to photographs 🙂

  17. Wow these are some lovely shots of the special landmark! I love that some are not the typical ones i’ve seen x

    • Thanks Jodie – we loved putting together this article on tips for clicking the best photos at Taj Mahal 🙂

  18. Some absolutely stunning photos you have there. I’d love to visit!

    • Thanks Anne – the Taj Mahal can be overwhelming but these are definitely 5 of the best ways to photograph it and escape the rush 🙂

  19. I want to visit the Taj Mahal so much and these photos are stunning especially the ones from the river and the framed ones x

    • Hey Rhian – thanks a ton. I hope you make it to Agra super soon 🙂

  20. Gorgeous photos! I think the classic shot is my favourite but I love the sunset one too!

    • Hey Charlotte – Good to know you like the classic shot. I feel like it’s a bit overdone, but I do enjoy it nevertheless 🙂

  21. Wow, absolutely sunning photo’s. My mum visited when she was working there a number of years ago and said how overwhelming it was

    • I can imagine Stephanie.India is a bit of a sensory overload – good and bad all at once 🙂

  22. What stunning photo’s, I’d love to visit one day! xo

    • Hope you make it to Taj Mahal soon Rachel 🙂

  23. Stunning photographs! You really have a great eye for composition and colours 🙂

    • Thanks Lubka – so glad you enjoyed reading our post 🙂

  24. My goodness it’s enormous. Your pictures are amazing. I love the different variations.

    • Thanks Melanie – loved clicking all these gorgeous photographs of Taj Mahal. It’s a truly special monument 🙂

  25. Great ideas! I love looking at posts like these before visiting somewhere. My favourite has to be the first shot with the birds!

    • Thanks Laura – that’s definitely the best way to gauge the kind of photographs you can click at a particular place 🙂

  26. Amazing tips! I love them all but I think by boat is my favourite. I’d love to visit the Taj Mahal.

    • Hehe floating by the Taj Mahal in a boat was definitely the highlight of our trip to Agra 🙂

  27. These are some fantastic shots ? I especially love the ones taken from the hot air balloon and the boat! You guys get serious points for creativity ?

    • Thanks a million Adele 🙂 Those are two of my favourite ways of photographing the Taj Mahal too

  28. These are some beautiful shots of Taj Mahal, I would love to visit one day x

    • Thanks Cherie – it’s an incredibly photogenic monument (despite the crowds and chaos) 🙂

  29. wow those photos are stunning and I definitely want to visit!

    • Thanks Kristina – hope you make it to Taj Mahal soon 🙂

  30. This is fantabulous , I Loved loved loved every picture. Taj mahal is on my list from Such a long time . And I am sorry, But I am going to copy last pic of yours whenever I do visit Taj 🙂 .

    • Please do Sonal – and you have to send us the photos you click at Taj Mahal too 🙂

  31. Gorgeous pictures! Sometimes you feel like you know a place already from the many pictures – all the same – but no: there are a million different angles to discover when you go there. Well done!

    • Hey Stefania – that’s so true. We loved clicking photographs of the Taj Mahal from different angles and just couldn’t get enough 🙂

  32. Fan of both of u guys…!?

    • Thanks a ton Shubham 🙂

  33. Breath taking pictures! I’ve seen tons of pictures of Taj mahal but haven’t read an article that is remotely close to this one! I don’t think anyone could articulate it better than you guys! Very helpful article. Will definitely keep all these points in mind while visiting Agra. I’ll also post the photos and tag you when I make it (but I don’t think my pictures will do justice to the monument the way your pictures do)

    • Dear Sindhu,

      So happy to hear you enjoyed reading the article. Yes please, do share your photos with us when you visit 🙂

      Cheers!

  34. this is good article in this blog thanks for share taj mahal photos

    • Thanks 🙂 Glad you found it helpful

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