What to do and See in Agra in 1 Day
The city of Agra is part of the state of Uttar Pradesh, in vast India and was the capital of the Mogul Kingdom between 1556 and 1658. It was founded by the Sultan of Delhi Sikandar Lodi who made it his capital by the year 1504. Between the 15th and 16th centuries had its maximum cultural splendour and its most famous monument was famously built in 1631. It is not a pretty city nor is there much to do in Agra, but it is one of the most famous in all of India for having an of the wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal. But in addition to the Taj, there are other treasures to see in Agra and that we teach you below.
Where is? How to get to Agra from Delhi and Varanasi?
Currently Agra has a population of more than one and a half million people. An ugly, chaotic city with very high levels of pollution, which makes them wake up many mornings with a smog of pollution that endangers all the cultural heritage of this city. India is incredibly well connected by train, from where you can get to almost anywhere.
In addition, you can reach Agra by road from nearby cities such as Delhi, Jaipur or Gwailor, and even have an airport, but with very few weekly aircraft, normally used to fly from Khajuraho or Varanasi. Delhi, the capital of India, is quite close, which makes it a hyper tourist spot that attracts hundreds of tourists from around the world, including many Indians. If you are looking for Delhi to Udaipur train, there are many options are available.
How to go from Delhi to Agra
Between Delhi and Agra there are about 215 kilometers, so the distance is short from the capital. It takes about 4 hours to make the road from India Gate from Delhi to Agra by car . This is how people who rent a car with a driver usually travel to India or who only visit the golden triangle formed by Delhi, Jaipur and Agra.
The most common way on a route through northern India is to go from Delhi to Agra by train . There are numerous trains that pass through one of Delhi’s train stations and arrive at Agra Cantt station . There are also trains that stop at the Tundla station, from where you can get to Agra by tuktuk or taxi as they are less than 30 km away.
Depending on the type and the stops of the train take more or less, being normally the route of the fastest trains of about 2 hours and those that make more stops up to 4 hours. For little money and in about 3 hours you can get to Agra from Delhi in the interesting Indian train, all an adventure. Here we tell you how to buy a train ticket in India without the need of intermediaries and without having an Indian cell phone.
How to get from Varanasi to Agra
In order to arrive to Agra from Varanasi the most normal thing is to use a night train because it is quite far to make the journey by car, about 600 km which makes a direct route of more than 10 hours. The Marudhar Express train departs on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays at 6:15 p.m. from the Varanasi station arriving at 6:45 p.m. to Agra, leaving the rest of the days at 5:25 p.m. (arriving at the same time). On Saturdays there is a fast train that leaves at 21:55 and arrives at 7:25. There are other trains that either leave from Mughal Sarai or arrive in Tundla, stations that are about 25km from the cities of Varanasi and Agra. Depending on the day you are traveling, one or another train will be searched. Of course, count on the typical train delays in India.
You can also get to Agra from Benares by plane , but there is no flight every day, so you have to check if the day you intend to fly there are planes. Normally Air India has a flight from 12.10 to 13.20 flying Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
How to move in Agra. Transportation, tuktuk in Agra
To go to visit the places to see in Agra you must take some means of transport, as there are some km between them and dusty roads to be able to walk. A tuktuk, a rickshaw, a taxi … for which you have to negotiate and bargain a lot. In Agra there are a lot of people who want to take advantage of tourists, so do not trust anything, haggle and make everything clear before riding in any vehicle or buying something.
Above all, if you arrive by night train like Palace on Wheels, you usually group a group of hustlers who rush over the train trying to find some sleeping prey or who think they can make easy money. Once you haggle the transport to see Agra in a day, make it clear when you get to each visit where you want to go, They can take you to the area farthest from the Taj Mahal where there are khalesas with camels and rickshaws so you can pay to be brought to the entrance. With a day in Agra you can calmly see the Taj Mahal, the Fort of Agra and the Itimad-Ud-Daulah Mausoleum or baby Taj, without missing the incredible sunrises and sunsets. If you are visiting Agra from dawn and do not want to spend the night, that same day gives you time to visit the 3 most famous places in Agra and take a train or car to Delhi.
Places to Visit in Agra
In this section we will talk about tourism in Agra, what to see, what to do, what not to miss and what to visit in Agra and its surroundings, as well as the famous Taj Mahal there are other interesting places to discover.
It was built in memory of Mumtaz Mahal, the third wife of Emperor Shah Yahan, who died giving birth to his 14th child in 1631. The death of Mumtaz Mahal left the emperor so dismayed that he decided to build a mausoleum in his memory. Emperor Shah Yahan said when it was built that it “shed tears to the sun and moon” and we can tell you that the Taj Mahal does not disappoint the traveler. The most famous monument built by love of the world ended its construction in 1653, having passed 22 years since the death of Mumtaz Mahal.
Shah Yahan’s son dethroned his father and banished him to live in Agra Fort. Precisely from there he can contemplate his masterpiece in the distance and was locked there until he died in 1666. When he died he was buried in the mausoleum with his beloved wife Mumtaz.
The Taj Mahal was considered World Heritage in 1983 and every year it receives the visit of millions of tourists around the world. The entrance of the Taj Mahal currently costs 1000 INR (although we pay 750 rupees, but everything goes up) and can be accessed from the entrances west, south and east . If you visit the Taj in a group, the most common is to be taken to the west gate. In the south door there is usually less tail and is the closest to the Taj, so it is usually the most chosen by travelers and tourists without groups. The east gate is very quiet and allows you to walk quietly, but it is because the ticket office is quite far, you have to walk a kilometer to get from the entrance.
To get to the doors or lockers you will see large cars pulled by camels or transports that bring you to the entrance for a few rupees. We arrived in tuktuk and from the ticket office to the door we chose to walk of course, because everything is relatively close. Oh! A very important detail, you should know that it closes on Fridays . And on full moon nights the entrance to the Taj Mahal is allowed, but you have to book the entrance well in advance in the Archeological Survey of India.
Cameras are allowed inside the enclosure but inside the mausoleum there are very few areas where recording or photography is allowed. The entrance includes a bottle of water and some covers for patuco shoes that you will have to wear to enter the Taj Mahal’s premises. The ornamental gardens of the interior follow the classic Mogol design, a square divided by water channels with a decorative pedestal in the center and when the fountains are not lit you can photograph the reflection of the Taj Mahal in the water, how beautiful!
On each side stand 4 minarets of 40m high that culminate the perfect design of the Taj Mahal. The large sandstone gate of the southern area is a mosque and is an important place for Muslims and another very important place to see in the Taj Mahal. It is the prelude to the Taj that prepares you for the vision of one of the wonders of the world. Do not miss the entrance for this place. Inside, on the walls of the square structure of the Taj Mahal, you will find ornaments in the same marble in the form of floral designs and verses of the Koran. The tombs of Shah Yahan and Mumtaz Mahal are in an underground room that can not be visited. Of course, as it is wonderful from afar, up close is very beautiful but its interior has nothing interesting.
The best views of the Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is one of the most emblematic buildings in India and around the world, so we are going to give you some tips to get the best pictures of the Taj Mahal. The first, try to arrive early and watch the sunrise . There are usually fewer people and the orange color mixed with the pollution and with the haze coming from the river, gives incredible colors on the Taj. Also the sunsets are unique and as many people leave once seen Agra in a day directly to Delhi or another city by night train, there are usually not as many people, although in a place like the Taj Mahaj there will always be people.
And the places where you get the best views of the Taj Mahal and the best photos are:
– From inside the Taj Mahal enclosure, just in front of it and on one of its water channels , thus showing its reflection. The most typical photo and postcard.
– From the Mehtab Bagh , which is the opposite bank of the Yamuna River, where you can see the monument in the distance. Ideal especially to see the sunrise or sunset.
– From inside the Taj Mahal enclosure, but through one of its doors , which makes the mausoleum be surrounded as in a frame making really beautiful photos. There are several arches for the different entrances, do not forget to take a picture there!
– From the south bank of the river. A beautiful image by the river, especially at sunset. The best thing to do is to talk to some boatman and haggle around the river for a few rupees. Yes, the area is not very interesting to stay alone when night falls, because Agra itself is quite dirty and full of hustlers and scammers.
– In the cafes of Taj Ganj , the neighborhood where most hotels and restaurants are located. The roofs of the cafes are perfect for photographing the incredible Taj Mahal.
– From Agra Fort , the palace where his creator spent the last days of his life contemplating his masterpiece and the place where the bones of his beloved wife lie. The Taj Mahal is seen through its windows and through several areas of the fort. Of course, from here you can see much farther and not as beautiful as from the enclosure itself or from the banks of the Yamuna river, but if you visit the fort, remember to look for the Taj in the distance.
The Agra Fort is one of the best Mughal forts in all of India. It has more than 20 meters high and 2.5 km of perimeter. Within the fortress stands a complex of labyrinthine buildings like a city with many underground areas. This huge red sandstone fortress on the banks of the sacred river Yamuna was started in 1565 by Emperor Akbar, Sha Yahan’s grandfather, for military purposes. His grandson turned it into a palace and added his adored marble. When the son of Shah Jahan removed the throne, he locked him in the fort, where he spent his last 8 years imprisoned until his death.
We pay 250 rps to enter, although now it has risen to 550 INR . Must checkout the Palace on Wheels train route to reach the destination. There is much to see in Agra fort, with a beautiful and huge interior, where the Musamman Burj and the Khas Mahal stand out , tower and octagonal palace of white marble where Shah Jahan was imprisoned and from where you can contemplate the Taj Mahal. But there is much to see in Agra fort, such as the red sand Jehangir Palace for his son, the Shis Mahal or palace of mirrors , the Diwan-i-Khas or Private Audience Hall, the Nagina jewel mosque Masjid , the Anguri Baghla with its beautiful and well-kept gardens, the mosque of the pearlsNoti Masjid and the different doors with their gardens. A very interesting visit.
Mausoleum Itimad-Ud-Daulah or Baby Taj
The Itimad-Ud-Daulah, is a small mausoleum of the Mughal era, with a structure very similar to the Taj Mahal. It was built between 1622 and 1628 and is located on the right bank of the Yamuna River. It was built on behalf of the wife of Emperor Jahangir, Nur Jahan, to honor the memory of his father, Mirza Ghitas Beg, who had the title of Itimâd-ud-Daulâ, which means pillar of the state . Mirza Ghitas Beg is the grandfather of Mumtaz Mahal , the wife of Emperor Shah Jahan, for whom he built the Taj Mahal and where they are both buried.
Very nice mausoleum, with its well-kept gardens, the beautiful side doors and its interior. Of course, if you see it after the best mausoleum in the world, it will not seem so flashy, but if you have the opportunity to visit it before the Taj Mahal it will attract your attention, seeing the first wonder to see in Agra, before visiting the Taj Mahal. For this reason it is a must visit in Agra and it is also a very photogenic place, we loved seeing it in the first hour without anyone and with the colors of the sunrise and the mist of the Yamuna river. We pay 110 rps per person to enter.