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Agra


Agra, synonymous with Taj Mahal, is a must day trip from New Delhi.  However, if you cannot do a long daytrip then one night stay is advised.  In case you are reaching Agra on full moon night, then night stay becomes a must.

Agra is about 2.5hr drive from New Delhi if coming from the expressway.  For day trip, leaving early, by 6AM is advisable.

City Population ~1.7 million
Tourist Population ~3 million annually
On Tourist Circuit Yes
Weather Dry, extreme summers & cold winters
Best time to go Early October to March
Why Go? Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri
Location of Sites Center, North East
Location of Hotels Center, North, East
Airport Yes

 

Attractions of Agra:

  • Taj Mahal:  A mausoleum, made of complete and only white marble, is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.  It is one of the most visited places in India attracting over 3mn visitors.  Taj Mahal can be entered from one of the South, East, and West gates.  Backpackers tend to prefer South gate as it lies in Taj Ganj, area of backpackers accommodation.  South Gate entry is through a massive red sandstone gate.  East gate has shortest queues because ticket office is inconveniently located.  Please note Taj Mahal is closed on Friday for prayers.  If you plan to visit other sites of Agra on the same day, entry ticket of Taj Mahal will give you a small discount on entry ticket of other monuments.
  • Agra Red Fort: Massive fort with entry now possible only from the Amar Singh gate.  Fort has beautiful architecture and artwork inside.  Initially built in red standstone in 1565, white marble work was later added by Shah Jahan, builder of Taj Mahal.  Inside there are multiple places to see including Diwan-i-khas, Diwan-a-Am, Nagina Masjid, and Jahangir Palace.  Audio guides available are best way to see this place.  Do not forget to get your first views of Taj Mahal from here.
  • Mehtab Bagh: Behind Taj Mahal, across the river, it provides best views of the Wonder of the World without the hassles of entering it and negotiating the crowd.  The gardens of Mehtab Bagh are identical to the gardens of Taj Mahal.
  • Ram Bagh: On the outer side of Agra, Ram Bagh is a garden built to represent the gardens of Heaven.  This can be skipped unless you wish to sit in lawn in sun or if it falls on your way.
  • Chini-ka-Rauza: Another mausoleum, little off the road, is currently under renovation.
  • Itimad-ud-Daulah: Known as baby Taj but has nothing to make it a resemblance of it.  However, it is exquisite and more delicate than Taj Mahal.  It is tomb of grandfather of Mumtaz Mahal, for whom Taj Mahal was built.
  • Jama Masjid: Located in Kinari Bazar, about 5km from Taj Ganj, it is a huge mosque with striking marble work on the domes.  Visit if you are in the area.
  • Akbar’s Mausoleum: Akbar is regarded as one of the best Kings India had.  And his mausoleum is also one of the best.  Marked for its simplicity and elegance, located about 10km from the Agra Fort, in Sikandra, it is a must visit place.  Mausoleum has been built with combination of red sandstone and white marble and has large gardens to add to the grace.

Hotels and Stay:

Hotels are spread out in different parts of the city with concentration in Center, North, and East.  Taj Ganj has budget Accommodation while mid tier to luxury hotels are on Fatehabad Road and Sadar Bazar.

Food & Eating:

Restaurants are again spread out in the city.  However, more popular places with good restaurants are in Taj Ganj or Sadar Bazaar.

Commuting within Agra:

Auto-rickshaw or taxi is best way to commute within the city and negotiate the traffic and congested lanes.  Do not forget to negotiate hard before sitting in an auto-rickshaw.

Tourist Office:

Websitehttp://www.tajmahal.gov.in/

One Day Trip:

Mathura, Vrindavan, and Bateshwar

Next Destination: 

New Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi, Gwalior,

 

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