Many tourists tell me they're super excited about visiting the Taj in the moonlight. It sounds fantastic, doesn't it? I usually talk them out of it, because I don't think it is a good idea (see end of article for my advice). But if you do want to go, here are the details:

When is it open
The Taj Mahal is open for viewing by moonlight for 5 nights each month. These 5 nights include the full moon night, as well as two nights before and two nights after the full moon night. 

If any of these 5 dates fall on a Friday, there will not be any moonlight viewing on that night. In addition, the Taj is also closed in the daytime on all Fridays.

There is also no moonlight visit during the month of Ramzan.

As advised in the above words, please note that you can view the Taj 2 nights before, and 2 nights after the full moon. But if any of the 5 days falls on a Friday, you cannot view it on that day. So for example, in April, the full moon night is Saturday, April 4, so you can view on April 2, 4, 5, and 6, but not on April 3 which is a Friday.

How does the viewing happen:
Only 400 people are allowed to view the monument per night.

Entry is allowed in 8 batches of 50 people each, beginning at 8:30 p.m. and ending at midnight.

Each group has only 30 minutes to visit.

During the moonlight Taj visit you cannot go up to the famous big white tomb building. Access is allowed only until the Red Sandstone Platform of the main gate. 

Be aware that during night viewing Video cameras, tripods, mobile phones, cigarettes, and handbags are NOT permitted. Only handheld still cameras and binoculars are permitted without any extra charge. Security is very strict, and there are full body checks. 

Buying tickets:
Tickets for moonlight viewing are issued a day in advance, from the counter at the Archaeological Survey of India Agra office (22, The Mall, Agra 282001). They cannot be bought on the same day.

The counter is open from 10 am until 5 pm, however, tickets are sold on a first-come-first-serve basis and get sold out pretty quickly. As I said earlier, only 400 tickets are available for a day.  To avoid crowds and security issues, there is a rationing system. They allow tickets starting with the first batch (8:30 pm batch).

To buy the ticket, you have to fill out an application form. For overseas visitors to India, this includes providing a scanned copy of the ID page of your passport with Name, Gender, Passport Number, Age, and Nationality. For Indian visitors, the form asks for a scanned copy of any valid ID Proof, as well as details such as Full Name, Age, and Gender. Tickets are non-transferable. They are computer-generated and include these identity details.

The rates for entrance tickets are available on the Archaeological Survey of India Agra.

If you are going with a licensed guide, then there is no free ticket for the guide. The guide also needs to buy a ticket. If you wish to cancel a ticket, you can do so before 1 p.m. of the date of viewing. There will be a 25% cancellation charge.

You are supposed to show up at the Shilpgram Parking 30 minutes before the timeslot allotted to you. Your documents and ticket will be inspected and then you will be taken by battery-operated vehicle to the Taj. There is no charge for this vehicle ride.

My advice: 
While the idea of seeing the Taj Mahal by moonlight may sound enchanting, there are some considerations to keep in mind before deciding.

Firstly, the experience of visiting the Taj Mahal at night is restricted to specific dates and times, often limited to a few days around the full moon. This means that planning your visit can be challenging, especially if you have a tight schedule or are traveling during a different time of the month.

Additionally, the night viewing of the Taj Mahal usually involves smaller crowds compared to daytime visits. While this might sound appealing for those seeking a more intimate experience, it's essential to remember that the reduced visibility in the dark could impact your ability to fully appreciate the intricate details and beauty of the monument.

Furthermore, the weather conditions can also affect your experience. A cloudy night, for example, could obscure the moonlight and diminish the overall atmosphere. Additionally, navigating the grounds in low light may pose challenges, particularly for those with mobility issues or concerns about safety.

Considering these factors, some may prefer to experience the Taj Mahal during the day when the sunlight illuminates its splendor, offering clearer views and ample opportunities for photography. Ultimately, whether to visit the Taj Mahal by moonlight or not depends on personal preferences and circumstances.

If you do want go for the moonlight view, then the important thing to note while planning your trip is that you still need to go again the next day to actually see the Taj. So plan to spend more time in Agra (ideally 2 nights) and make sure you are ready to spend again on the ticket.

If you have to buy the ticket yourselves:
Day 1 - Delhi to Agra (4hrs) by road. Buy the moonlight viewing ticket, visit Agra Fort, Itmad-ud-daulah's Tomb, Sikandra. See sunset view of Taj from Mehtab Bagh on the other side of river.  Overnight Agra
Day 2 - Visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise. Return and rest. Visit Fatehpur Sikri. Return and have dinner. Go for the moonlight view. Overnight Agra
Day 3 - Late breakfast and depart from Agra

If you have someone to buy the ticket for you:
Day 1 - Delhi to Agra (4hrs) by road. Visit Agra Fort, Itmad-ud-daulah's Tomb, Sikandra. See the sunset view of the Taj from Mehtab Bagh on the other side of the river.  Moonlight view of Taj. Overnight Agra
Day 2 - Visit the Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri; depart from Agra.