After researching a few companies for the tour and reading the feedback on trip Advisor we selected this Skip the Line ticket from this company. We were not disappointed, I found it simple to book, quick confirmations and nice updates via Whatsapp made the process simple, easy and efficient. Clearly when you are paying 20USD per person that is a lot more than local guides who will charge 500INR upwards, but locals then ask for add ons and will fleece you to other sellers, photographers or guide to their shops or stores or take long detours to the marble shops.
So avoid this hassle, with this you get a licensed and registered guide who knows the process and he was on time at our hotel, as we didn't need the pickup options, we used our own car and driver, it was 5 mins drive to the entrance to the Taj West Gate area, a 5 min walk to the ticket counter and after a few mins we were inside, quick and easy. We went early on a Saturday morning in early April and I highly recommend arriving before 7am 5am to see sunrise and leaving before lunch and avoiding the daytime heat and crowds.
With these VIP tickets we were fast tracked in, we got water and no hassle from touts, sellers or photographers as we had our guide who deflected them. For 1st time visitors you will need to plan for 3-4 hours minimum to do it justice, take it in, listen to the history, see the site and take all the pictures you need, I guarantee you will spend more time taking pictures, selfies and different views of the Taj than you will listening to the history or getting up close to the craftsmanship, marble, stonework and true beauty which is about the story about love.
Our guide was insightful helpful and understanding as we had little kids travelling to India for 1st time toilets, water, food, rest stops and adults who have been before so didn't need so much info, so the guide ensured we got our balance, got our pictures, got the tour and info and didn't feel rushed or forced to do anything we didn't want. Note you cannot take big bags inside, camera, wallet, purse, small packs are permitted, plan for your toilet breaks as it is at one end of the site and have patience with pictures and getting that perfect shot, also getting in and out of the Taj itself it about another queue and patience as it gets busy.
Aim to leave before lunch and use the small tempo to go back from the gate to the road, worth the few INR and saves lots of time and avoids all the sellers and beggars. I suggest either go out to an AC restaurant to cool down and refresh and get energy or do as we did which is go straight to Agra Fort immediately after Taj for a few hours, its only a 5 mins ride by car or tempo and by then it was quiet almost deserted and we felt we got a much better experience as a result.
Highly recommend this Skip the Line ticket to make the most of your experience of one the true Wonders of the World.
The guide was great but was a little disappointed that for the cost it did not include small things like the cart ride from the entrance to the ticket booth. Also, it did not include the shoe covers for the kids whose tickets were free but they still needed shoe covers.