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From todays Times of India newspaper:

enter image description here

I'm surprised there's such thick fog at the beginning of December. I assume those tourists were visiting early morning, and the 50m visibility wouldn't have stopped them from viewing the Taj up close, but by approximately what time in the day would the fog reduce sufficiently so that the Taj could be viewed clearly from where those tourists are standing?

I assume the same would apply to most of the other tourist spots in Agra and Delhi?

  • The mist is caused by droplets condensing on fine particulate matter and there's lots of that there. If I were there not being able to see the Taj would be the least of my worries. As the article says: "Air pollution in India is estimated to kill 1.5 million people every year; it is the fifth largest killer in India. India has the world's highest death rate from chronic respiratory diseases and asthma, according to the WHO. In Delhi, poor quality air damages irreversibly the lungs of 2.2 million or 50 percent of all children." – Count Iblis Dec 1 '16 at 2:52
  • While that doesn't really answer the question, I agree there's a lot of pollution in Delhi now. Wearing masks would be necessary. For anyone traveling there for a few days, they wouldn't have to be worried about getting adversely affected by pollution. Besides, now is a good time to avoid Delhi heat and the crowds. When my relatives went to the Taj, it was so hot they could barely keep their feet on the ground. – Nav Dec 1 '16 at 4:27
  • AND you can't use large notes any more! :O – Fattie Dec 2 '16 at 11:44
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EDIT: 6th Jan 2017: Personal experience:
I was at Agra at the end of December, and although there was thick fog till 11am (visibility 50m), almost all of the fog cleared off by 13:00hrs. The pic I took below, was taken at around 13:50hrs. So even if you visit the Taj in winter, you have no need to worry about the fog.

enter image description here

Do note that it is better to reach the Taj early. The queues can be extremely long for Indians. I stood in one queue for 20 minutes to get the entry tickets. Another queue to get the electric vehicle to the entry gates (could've just walked). A 30 minute wait in another queue to enter the complex. An extremely long queue that starts half way from the garden surrounding the Taj, and goes all around the Taj. This was just to enter onto the elevated marble platform the Taj is on. Then there's another queue that goes around the Taj if you want to see the inside of the monument.

Tip for Indians and foreigners: If there's too much of a crowd, just take the more expensive ticket meant for tourists. You won't have to wait in any long queues. It is completely worth it. Also, (if you want a good photograph) it might help to postpone your visit until the maintenance work is completed. As you can see from the photo below, there's work ongoing on one tower. There's also work ongoing behind the Taj where they've erected similar structures.

My initial answer before 6th Jan 2017:

According to a November 2016 post about the Taj Mahal, visibility isn't all that bad; especially when you move closer to the monument. Of course, November was when smog was at its worst in Delhi, but measures have been taken to reduce it, so by the end of December it may improve.

People have shared past experiences, saying that by 10am or 11am, the fog would reduce considerably. So if you reach there too early, you could choose to visit the Agra Fort and then visit the Taj by the time the sun is up.

Some of the comments taken from users on TripAdvisor:

17 December 2013: NO need to cancel the trip...dont get dissappointed...no doubt 16 Dec morning was very foggy buy as d day proceed it lifted up....better to be at d Taj Mahal between 11-15 hours.

17 December 2013: In the morning weather foggy but after 11:00 am it becomes clear. Tajmahal you can visit in evening about 16:00 pm and rest of monuments before it.

17 December 2013: Any time of the year and in any weather - Taj is beautifull - it is different. Moreover as sun comes out fog melts and it is good sunlight.

19 December 2013: Its true that north india effected from dense fog at this time. but its not effect your tour to taj mahal . Because after 10 Am its going to be low and you can drive and do every activity which you want so keep continue and visit the world heritage site taj mahal without think so much about fog and wheather conditions.

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