PhotoSecrets Taj Mahal

A Photographer’s Guide

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A Photographer’s Guide
Andrew Hudson


Taj Mahal classic afternoonRuthChoi/Shutterstock

Taj Mahal

49 views to photograph
Taj Mahal classic with reflectionWaj/Shutterstock
Taj Mahal river northeast sunriseRawpixel/Shutterstock
Taj Mahal river northwest sunsetBoris Stroujko/Shutterstock
Taj Mahal classic morningDmitry Strizhakov/Shutterstock
Taj Mahal framed archJool-yan/Shutterstock
Taj Mahal framed arch silhouetteAchim Baque/Shutterstock
Taj Mahal Great Gate east gallery detailEdmund Gall/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal Paradise Garden grass from westRamesh Ng/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal river northwest dawnKoshy Koshy/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal river northwest duskBoris Stroujko/Shutterstock
Taj Mahal West Gate interiorSam Hawley/Flickr
View of Taj Mahal from Agra FortLouen/Wikipedia
East Gate corridorSouravita/Wikipedia
Mosque interiorSamir Luther/Flickr
Taj Mahal classic sunriseSeb2583/Shutterstock
Taj Mahal close corner sunsetRusticus80/Flickr
Taj Mahal framed arch with photographerAnkushsharma2002/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal from Moonlight GardenNarender9/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal river northeast boatSaidur/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal river northeast sunsetTravel & Shit/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal tombs in cryptDonelson/Wikipedia
View of Great Gate from Riverfront TerraceAirknight/Wikipedia
View of Mosque from Riverfront TerraceManav/Wikipedia
View of Taj Mahal framed by Great Gate doorwaySteve Evans/Wikipedia
East Gate and cloistersDennis Jarvis/Wikipedia
Great Gate [Darwaza-i rauza]Sumit Roy/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal classic noonMarttaelib/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal details inlayTeufel1987/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal entrance wellManikanta Allam/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal from Riverfront Terrace at afternoonTanweer Morshed/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal from Riverfront Terrace at morningBjørn Christian Tørrissen/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal Great Gate ceilingAnoop Pushkar/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal Paradise Garden grass from eastAiwok/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal river northeast bikeLeigh Harries/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal river northwest afternoonSomeone/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal river northwest afternoon with cowsDcastor/Wikipedia
View of Great Gate from Paradise GardenFrancisco Anzola/Wikipedia
View of Mosque from Paradise GardenFrancisco Anzola/Wikipedia
View of northwest octagonal towerBiswarup Ganguly/Wikipedia
Moonlight Garden [Mehtab Bagh]Khandelwal/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal close cornerUmesh Namdeo/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal close sideAnoop Pushkar/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal close topBiswarup Ganguly/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal details artAnoop Pushkar/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal from Riverfront Terrace at sunriseMuhammad Mahdi Karim/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal Paradise Garden pavilion [Naubat Khana]Biswarup Ganguly/Wikipedia
Taj Mahal river north verticalLeigh Harries/Wikipedia


Map of Taj Mahal

Map of Entrance Forecourt

Map of Paradise Garden

Map of Riverfront Terrace

Map of Yamuna River

Taj Mahal Site Plan


1. South Gate
2. Saheli Burj
3. Forecourt (Jilaukhana)
4. West Gate (Fatehpuri Gate)
5. East Gate (Fatehbad Gate)
6. Great Gate (Darwaza-i rauza)
7. Paradise Garden (Char Bagh)
8. Pavilion (Naubat Khana)
9. Mosque (on riverfront terrace)
10. Jawab (Mehman Khana) (reception)
11. Main Mausoleum
12. Yamuna River
13. Moonlight Garden (Mehtab Bagh) (ruined)


About PhotoSecrets



A great travel photo­graph requires you to be in the right place at the right time to capture that special moment. Professional photo­graphers have a short-hand phrase for this: “F8 and be there.”

There are countless books that can help you with photo­graphic technique, the “F8” portion of that equation. But until now, there’s been little help for the other, more critical portion of that equation, the “be there” part. To find the right spot, you had to expend lots of time and shoe leather to essentially re-invent the wheel.

In my career as a professional travel photo­grapher, well over half my time on location is spent seeking out the good angles. Andrew Hudson’s PhotoSecrets does all that legwork for you, so you can spend your time photo­graphing instead of wandering about. I wish I had one of these books for every city I photo­graph on assignment.

PhotoSecrets can help you capture the most beautiful sights with a minimum of hassle and a maximum of enjoyment. So grab your camera, find your favorite PhotoSecrets spots, and “be there!”

About Bob Krist

Bob Krist has photo­graphed assignments for National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, Travel/­Holiday, Smithsonian, and Islands. He won “Travel photo­grapher of the Year” from the Society of American Travel Writers in 1994, 2007, and 2008.

For National Geographic, Bob has led round-the-world tours and a traveling lecture series. His book In Tuscany with Frances Mayes spent a month on The New York Times’ bestseller list and his how-to book Spirit of Place was hailed by American Photo­grapher magazine as “the best book about travel photo­graphy we’ve ever read.”

The parents of three sons, Bob and his wife live in New Hope, Pennsylvania.


Thank you for reading PhotoSecrets. As a fellow fan of travel and photo­graphy, I hope this guide will help you quickly find the most visually stunning places, and come home with equally stunning photo­graphs.

PhotoSecrets is designed to show you all the best sights. Flick through, see the classic views, and use them as a departure point for your own creations. Flick through, enjoy the photos, and see which places inspire you. Get comp­osition ideas, lighting tips, and a brief history. It’ll be like traveling with a location scout and a pro-photo­grapher by your side.

The idea for PhotoSecrets came during a trip to Thailand, when I tried to find the exotic beach used in the James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun. None of the guidebooks I had showed a picture, so I thought a guidebook of postcard photos would be useful for us photographers. If you have any ides for improvements, please send me an email at

Now, start exploring — and take lots of photos!

About Andrew Hudson

Originally an engineer, Andrew Hudson started PhotoSecrets in 1995. His first book won the Benjamin Franklin Award for Best First Book and his second won the Grand Prize in the National Self-Published Book Awards.

Andrew has published 15 nationally-distributed photo­graphy books. He has photo­graphed assignments for Macy’s, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Men’s Health and Seventeen, and been a location scout for Nikon. His photos and articles have appeared in Alaska Airlines, National Geographic Traveler, Shutterbug Outdoor and Nature photo­graphy, Where, and Woman’s World.

Andrew has a degree in Computer Engineering from Manchester University and a certificate in copyright law from Harvard Law School. Born in Redditch, England, he lives with his wife, two kids, and two chocolate Labs, in San Diego, California.


At a Glance

Name:Taj Mahal (Arabic for “Crown of Palaces”)
GPS:27.17500, 78.04194
Fame:Masterpiece of world heritage,
icon of India
Far:4.4 km (2.75 miles) from the center of Agra
Height:73 m (240 feet)
Architects:Ustad Ahmad Lahouri, Ustad Isa
Built by:Shah Jahan
Address:Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282001, India
Notes:The Taj Mahal is an extensive complex of buildings and gardens that extends over 22 hectares (55 acres)

The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (reigned 1628–1658), to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The tomb is the centrepiece of a 17-hectare (42-acre) complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall.

Construction of the mausoleum was essentially completed in 1643 but work continued on other phases of the project for another 10 years. The Taj Mahal complex is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653 at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees, which in 2015 would be approximately 52.8 billion rupees (US$827 million). The construction project employed some 20,000 artisans under the guidance of a board of architects led by the court architect to the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.

The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.” Described by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore as “the tear-drop on the cheek of time,” it is regarded by many as the best example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India’s rich history. The Taj Mahal attracts 7–8 million visitors a year. In 2007, it was declared a winner of the New7Wonders of the World (2000–2007) initiative.