I was in Taiwan when the immigration officer asked me,
Officer: “ Where are you from?”
Officer: “The place of the Thajamehel’?
It took me few seconds to comprehend that he meant ‘Taj Mahal’.
Home to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, Agra is one of the most visited places in India.
To help fellow travelers, in this blog post (based on my experience), I have covered
- how you can reach Delhi to Agra via road, rail, and Air
- important details regarding visiting the Taj Mahal
- 10 Top Places to Visit in Agra Beyond the Taj Mahal
“The Taj Mahal rises above the banks of the river like a solitary tear suspended on the cheek of time.”
― Rabindranath Tagore
How can we reach the Taj Mahal?(New Delhi to Agra)
Agra, the place that houses the Taj Mahal, lies at a distance of approximately 204 km from the national capital New Delhi. Agra is very well connected to most of the other cities and national capital through rail and road. The most convenient and economical way to reach Agra from Delhi would be to travel by train.
In the following paragraphs I have covered how you can reach Agra by air, road and rail. The railways being my preferred mode of transport.
Agra has an Airport known as Kheria Airport which also operates as a military base. Currently, there are very few flights operating to and from Agra. There is no direct flight from Delhi to Agra at present. It is advisable to look up beforehand for flight schedules for Agra while planning a trip to this city.
One can start as early as one wants from Delhi to make the most of the available time.
Many travel agencies operate regular tours to Agra from Delhi. This can be a good option for those who don’t want much hassle and like things pre-planned. Choose only registered or approved tour operators.
One can easily find public and private buses, cabs, etc to Agra from Delhi. AC, Non-AC, Seater, Sleeper, Volvo buses run between Delhi and Agra taking 3 to 4 hours for the journey. It is well connected by bus to Delhi, Jaipur, Lucknow, Gwalior, Kanpur.
These may cost approximately anywhere between INR 300 to 900 depending upon travel time and amenities provided.
If you are looking for spiritual experiences in India specially in Varanasi and Amritsar, then the following posts will be helpful to you.
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- Golden temple is located in the city of Amritsar in the state of Punjab in India. It is also known as Darbar Sahib or Harmandir Sahib. It is among the holiest places for Sikhs. Read my 2600 words detailed post-India’s Golden Temple in Amritsar: The Only Guide You Need
- Bhang on! An Awesome Guide on having Bhang in Varanasi, India.
As mentioned above, the most convenient and economical way to reach Agra from Delhi would be to travel by train.
More than 30 trains run daily between Delhi and Agra.
It is good to make your bookings well in advance to avoid any last minute hassle as these do get crowded during holidays and tourist season.
A seat in Non AC compartment would cost you approx INR 150 to 200 and one in AC compartment would cost approx INR 400 and above depending upon AC class (AC chair/3AC/2AC/1Ac etc) and train type (Shatabdi/ Rajdhani/ Superfast etc).
Best trains between Delhi To Agra
There are many trains running between Agra and Delhi. Delhi has many train stations. New Delhi Railway Station, Nizamuddin Railway Station and Old Delhi Railway station being a few major ones.
- 12002 Bhopal Shatabdi that departs from New Delhi Railway Station at 6 am and arrives at Agra Cantt at 7.57 am in around two hours. It is the best option to take as it is not too early in the morning and it runs everyday of the week.
- 12050 Gatimaan Express departs from Nizamuddin at 8.10 am and arrives at Agra Cantt at 9.50 am taking less than two hours for the journey. This train does not run on Friday.
Other trains that run daily and take between 2 to 3 hours for the journey from Delhi to Agra are as below-
- 22416 AP Express departs from New Delhi Railway Station at 6.25 am and arrives at 9.10 am at Agra Cantt station.
- 12280 Taj Express departs from New Delhi Railway station at 6.45 am and reaches Agra Cantt at 9.40 am
- 12618 MNGLA LKSDP Express departs from Nizamuddin Railway station at 9.15 am and reaches Agra Cantt at 12.05 pm.
- 12626 Kerala Express departs from New Delhi Railway Station at 11.25 am and arrives at Agra Cantt station at 2.05 pm
- 12191 NZM JBP SUP EXP departs from Nizamuddin at 2.20 pm and arrives at Agra Cantt at 4.57 pm.
- 12780 Goa Express departs from Nizamuddin at 3.00 pm and arrives at Agra Cantt Railway Station at 5.30 pm
- 12724 Telangana Express departs from New Delhi Railway station at 5.25 pm and arrives at Agra Cantt at 8.11 pm
- 22182 NZM JBP SF EXP departs from Nizamuddin at 5.50 pm and reaches Agra Cantt at 8.28 pm
Along with the above mentioned, there are many more trains running between these two stations but these are the trains that start and arrive at a very convenient time and are fast.
Traveling India by train?
Train travel in India can be confusing and intimidating. In this detailed 3401 words guide, you will find the answer to frequently asked questions about booking train tickets and the class of compartments. Click here to read “Everything You Need to Know about Traveling India By Train”.
If you are wondering if it is safe to travel by train in India? My answer is, Yes, traveling by train in India even though risky at some levels, is safer if you travel in a reserved compartment. Staying cautious is the key. If you are a female traveling solo or with a child then try to get an upper berth where you are at a safe distance from the (unwanted) touch of passers-by.
Of course, there is much more to train travel in India than what I have just mentioned. Click here to read “How To travel safely in Indian trains: 13 Awesome tips”.
How to go to Taj Mahal from Agra Railway Station
From Railway station one can book a cab, hire a prepaid or normal taxi to Taj Mahal. It is advisable to book Ola, Uber or a prepaid taxi else visitors(especially foreigners) are heckled by the taxi drivers and auto-rickshaw drivers. Agra Cantt is the main Railway Station in Agra besides Agra City, Raja Ki Mandi, Agra Fort, Idgah Agra.
Don’t fall into the trap of free rides, good hotels, tour packages etc.
These drivers and tourist guides can be extremely persistent and persuasive but almost all of them would manipulate you. Just ignore them all.
Is Uber available in Agra?
Uber and Ola both are available in Agra. This makes travel very convenient, safe and comfortable. You get to know beforehand how much you need to pay for your ride.
Opening hours of Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal is open from sunrise till sunset. It remains closed on Friday. One can also see Taj in its glory in the moonlight. It is open on full moon night and two days before and after that.
Night visiting hours are between 8.30 pm to 12.30 am and duration allowed is 30 minutes.
Entry fee and information including Night tickets
- Entry fee for Indian/Domestic tourists is INR 50,
- for citizens of SAARC and BIMSTEC countries INR 540,
- for other foreign tourists INR 1100.
- Additional INR 200 would be charged to every person visiting the main mausoleum.
- Entry is free for children below the age of 15 years (both domestic and foreigner)
Tickets are available 24 hours advance for a night visit at Archaeological Survey of India, 22 Mall Road, Agra between 10 a.m to 6 p.m
Night visit tickets are priced at
- INR 510 for Indians,
- INR 750 for foreigner and
- INR 500 for children aged 3 to 15 years.
Taj is closed for night visit on Fridays and for Ramzan namaz. It is good to check the weather beforehand while going for a night visit. Cloudless clear nights are the best to look at the splendor of this monument shimmering in the moonlight.
Both domestic and foreign visitors can purchase tickets online at asi.payumoney.com
Tickets are available from one hour before sunrise to up to 45 minutes before sunset.
Which month is best for Agra?
Best time to visit Agra is from October to March. Rest of time the weather is quite hot for outdoor activities.
Is Agra safe for tourists?
Though Agra is quite safe for tourists, one has to be aware of touts, pick-pockets, scams and be as cautious as one otherwise is while traveling to a foreign place.
The foreign tourists are more heckled by the hawkers, vendors, touts, etc. Tourist places in Agra have a bad reputation due to this. While visiting various places in Agra, one has to be very cautious and strict about this.
When you reach Agra Railway station or Bus station, make sure to have your taxi and stay booked in advance. Discourage anyone who approaches you with better hotel stays, tours, discounts, etc.
Avoid buying things from vendors as they would most probably charge you a lot more than the actual price. Do not even listen to them, just ignore and be careful about your belongings.
There are better places to shop in India. If you are traveling solo, avoid going out alone late at night.
It would be best to read a little about the history of Agra and its famous landmarks before visiting this city. It would definitely add to your overall experience.
Where to stay in Agra
Usually, tourists choose to complete their Agra trip within a day or two as it is not actually a place to stay longer to experience the local life. It is a city that attracts a lot of domestic and foreign tourists because of its history and landmarks but needs a lot of work in pollution control and cleanliness.
In case you choose to stay here and cover all the ‘places to visit’ in Agra, booking.com offers a lot of options catering to every budget.
Hostel Accomodation in Agra
For Backpackers and youngsters traveling on a shoestring budget, hostels are a great option. You get to meet many like-minded travelers in such hostels having casual vibes.
Following hostels have 8+ rating on Booking.com and offer stay starting at INR 221 per night. For reviews and latest prices click here.
- Moustache Agra
- Joey’s hostel Agra
- GoStops Agra
- Bedweiser Backpackers Hostel
- Zostel Agra
- Zigzag Hostel Agra
- Rhine Hostel
Budget Accommodation in Agra
For travelers who can shell out a little more and want better services with privacy and comfort at reasonable prices can look at the options below.
They range from INR 1500 to 4000 per night with 8+ ratings and include homestays and budget hotels.
- Aradhana’s Homestay
- The Coral Court Homestay
- Taj Castle Homestay
- Indian Homestay
- The Agra Grande
- Aaram Bagh by Pachar Group Agra
- Maple Grand
- Hotel Atulyaa Taj
Luxury Accomodation in Agra
If you have no budget constraint and want to experience a luxurious stay in Agra, there are many great hotels to choose from.
They offer stays starting at INR 8000 and above per night with a rating of 8.5 plus at Booking.com
- DoubleTree By Hilton Agra
- The Oberoi Amarvilas Agra
- Trident Agra
- The Grand Imperial Heritage Hotel
- Taj Hotel & Convention Centre Agra
- Courtyard By Marriott Agra
Places worth visiting in Agra are
- Taj Mahal
- Agra Fort
- Tomb of Itimad Ud Daulah
- Fatehpur Sikri
- Mehtab Bagh
- Akbar’s Tomb
- Gurudwara Guru Ka Taal
- Sheroes Hangout Cafe
The Taj Mahal was constructed by Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. She died while giving birth to their child. Mumtaz was very beautiful and very dear to the Emperor. Hence, he decided to erect an equally beautiful monument in her memory that she was worthy of.
It took around 20 thousand artisans and 22 years to complete this mausoleum. It is known to have cost 32 billion rupees to build it. Taj Mahal is visited by around 7 to 8 million people every year.
The Taj is made up of white marble with carvings and calligraphy that displays a beautiful blend of Mughal, Persian and Indian architecture. The appearance and beauty of the Taj Mahal changes with the time of the day. It’s different at dawn, daytime, dusk and night.
Taj Mahal is such an important architectural marvel and important historical structure for India that during the Indo-Pak war in 1971 it was camouflaged so that it could be saved from any attack.
Besides Taj Mahal, there are many other places that are worth a visit in Agra.
After Taj Mahal, Agra Fort is the most famous place to visit in Agra. The construction of the Agra Fort was commissioned by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1565.
Initial structures of the fort were made by Akbar but later on, Shah Jahan replaced many with his marble creations.
The entire fort is spread over an area of 94 acres and it is a masterpiece of Mughal architecture. Most of the fort is used by the Indian military. There are four entrance gates to this fort and the one used for the public is Amar Singh Gate.
This fort is in very good condition and well-maintained by the authorities. There are many Palaces, courtyards, and halls inside the fort. During the last years of his life, Shahjahan was imprisoned in this fort by his son Aurangzeb.
From here he could look at the Taj Mahal, his much cherished and valued creation.
Tomb of Itimad Ud Daulah
The Tomb of Itimad Ud Daulah is often referred to as ‘Baby Taj’ and it has some similarities to the Taj Mahal.
It is also considered to be a draft of the Taj Mahal. It is the tomb of Mirza Ghiyas Beg who was a Persian nobleman and Emperor Jahangir’s chief minister.
His daughter Nur Jahan who was married to Jahangir built this tomb during the 17th century.
Located at a distance of around 39 km from Agra, this is a famous excursion among tourists. It is well connected to nearby cities by daily trains, normal and Volvo buses, etc.
One can also hire a taxi from Agra to Fatehpur Sikri.
Mughal Emperor Akbar built Fatehpur Sikri in the 16th century in honor and gratitude for Saint Sheikh Salim Chishti. Due to his blessings, he was blessed with a son.
Akbar made it his capital city but soon it had to be shifted to Delhi due to a shortage of water. You can see the famous Buland Darwaza, Jama Masjid and Panch Mahal in Fatehpur Sikri.
Why is Fatehpur Sikri called a ghost town? Fatehpur Sikri was an Indo-Islamic masterpiece, but due to the water shortages, this Royal City of religious importance was abandoned and that is why it is called a Ghost town. Perhaps, river Yamuna’s flow was not sufficient to provide water to the hinterlands. Fatehpur Sikri now sits in remarkably good condition as a deserted city popular with tourists, history and architecture lovers. If You Read One Article About Fatehpur Sikri read this detailed 2405 words travel guide to Fatehpur Sikri.
Mehtab Bagh was built by the Mughals and it is one of the last gardens built by them. Taj can be seen from various perspectives of this garden. It is located close to Taj Mahal, across the river in Etmadpur region of Agra.
Cabs and auto-rickshaws are available for hire from any part to Agra to this place.
Entry fee for Indians and citizens of SAARC and BIMSTEC countries INR 15, for other foreign tourists INR 100 and entry for children under 15 years is free.
After Shah Jahan, the garden was in ruins and remained forgotten till the early 1990s when it was renovated and became a popular spot among locals and visitors.
This is the resting place of Emperor Akbar located in a small town of Sikandra in Agra.
The construction of this place was started by the Emperor himself in 1602 and carried on by his son Jahangir after his death.
Made up of red sandstone and white marble, the monument stands amidst a beautiful garden. At the center of the garden lies Akbar’s mausoleum.
The king who became famous as ‘Akbar – The Great’ because of his justice, secularism and good administration skills.
Gurudwara Guru Ka Taal
Gurudwara Guru ka Taal is a historical Sikh pilgrimage place dedicated to the ninth Guru of Sikhs Sri Gur Tegh Bahadur. It is located near Sikandra in Agra district. Earlier it was a Taal (reservoir) built to collect and conserve rainwater.
The history of this place dates back to the time in the 17th century when Guru Tegh Bahadur offered his arrest to Aurangzeb, the Mughal Emperor. He was taken to Delhi after arrest along with his other Sikh companions.
Sheroes Hangout Cafe
The Sheroes Hangout Cafe looks like any other cafe in a famous touristy place but there is a major difference. The staff that works here are all females who survived acid attacks.
They chose not to just survive but thrive after such heinous incidents and emerged as Sheroes (She+Heroes).
Here you are offered more than food. You get to meet such strong and inspirational people, see and buy their artwork, read books or just chill.
Next time on your visit to Agra, don’t forget to visit this place.
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- 13 tried and tested Safety Tips for Train Travel in India
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