Agra is located in India, in the federal state of Uttar Pradesh, three hours drive from Delhi or five hours from Jaipur (Rajasthan). Although Agra is not actually located in Rajasthan, the city is often included in Rajasthan tours either because located along the main road connecting Delhi to Jaipur, either because the Taj Mahal is an attraction not to be missed during any trip in India. If you are not traveling in India by car and driver, Agra can be reached also by train from both Delhi and Jaipur, there are instead no regular flights operating onto local airport.
Therefore, if your question is "is it possible to visit the Taj Mahal on a tour in Rajasthan?", the answer is absolutely yes, as long as you will travel between Jaipur and Delhi by car (or train) and not by plane. All that you need to do, is just to add an overnight stop in Agra, so you will have enough time to rest and to visit most of the attractions, including Taj Mahal. Obviously this option is possible either at beginning or end of the tour, depending if in Rajasthan you will follow respectively a clockwise or anti-clockwise itinerary.
Of course, Agra and Taj Mahal is a convenient destination for exciting excursions even for those not visiting Rajasthan at all, since the location can be visited also by guided day tours from Delhi, with departure in early in the morning and return late in the evening. The packages offered by local operators are quite flexible, there are also options with overnight stop in Agra, to have longer time for all the other important landmarks. For independent travelers, the excursion from Delhi to Taj Mahal is also possible by train.
Although the Taj Mahal is the best known attraction in Agra, the city offers also the magnificent Red Fort, a complex dating back to the 16th century, which includes massive ramparts and palaces built by marble and red sandstone, in the World Heritage Site list by UNESCO. If you have an hour of extra time, it is also worth visiting the old city of Agra with its Kinari Bazaar, an ancient market full of activities of all kinds. Also noteworthy are the gardens and mausoleums along the banks of Yamuna River, which also offer views of Taj Mahal from a different perspective.
Not far from Agra, an half day tour to Fatehpur Sikri is highly recommended and chosen by most tourists visiting the region.
How long time is necessary to visit Agra? To visit Agra, the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort, tourists usually need a minimum of half day, unless you wish to visit Taj Mahal during different time of day, to appreciate changing lights. In such case, an overnight stay in Agra will be necessary.
What is the best time to visit Taj Mahal? Depending on time of year, it may be particularly impressive to visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise and sunset because of the warm pastel colors reflected onto marble's surface. The best period to visit Taj Mahal is between October and November or between February and April (on the other hand, during the wet monsoon or in the middle of winter, clouds and fog respectively, could hide the sun and prevent from enjoying beautiful lights).
Beware: the Taj Mahal is closed of Friday.
But now let's see some photos of Taj Mahal and Agra Red Fort taken during our trip in India.
The sightseeing in Agra starts around 9 in the morning, with the main objective of visiting the most famous monument of whole India: the Taj Mahal. To best avoid the crowds, especially large "bus" groups of Indians and foreigners, it is best to plan the visit early in the morning and not during the central hours of the day. Weather conditions permitting (no fog or clouds, conditions usually guaranteed between October-November and March-April, but rare in other periods of the year) visits can be programmed at sunrise, when there are fewer tourists and the marble is illuminated by pastel colors.
I enter the Taj Mahal from southern portal, an imposing red sandstone building, decorated by inlaid white marble panels. Through the central opening appears, like a mirage, the majestic silhouette of Taj Mahal, so candid and powerful, that it does not seem true.
The Taj Mahal rises above a huge basement in white Makrana marble, 7 meters (23 feet) high and with a square shape having sides of 102 meters (334 feet). It is accessed through a corridor and a staircase, after covering the shoes with soft slippers supplied at the ticket counter, to prevent scratches on the floor.
At the four corners of the basement, around the shrine, there are as many imposing minarets 44 meters (144,32 feet) high, also covered with slabs of Makrana marble, which cast long shadows on the Taj Mahal.
After passing the first entrance, beyond the drawbridge, visitors will enjoy a beautiful view on the massive and elegant Akbar Gate (Akbari Darvaza) a portal through the inner circle of walls.