Day trip to Agra: The Taj Mahal from Delhi

April 03, 2020


taj mahal view agra unesco heritage site india

Planning a day trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal from Delhi is a very easy trip to make. Besides the Taj Mahal and Agra fort, there aren’t that many attractions in Agra itself that would warrant a one or two-day stay in the city. Instead, plan a day trip via road or rail while you are in Delhi and the attractions are easily covered in a few hours.

There are a few options to look at if you are heading to Agra from Delhi. The first option is by road. This will take you roughly three hours from Delhi to Agra provided you leave early in the morning before rush hour in Delhi. Likewise, you’ll need to leave Agra by around 1 pm to head back to Delhi in order to beat the evening traffic on weekdays. If you’re looking at booking taxis in India, the best option is to book a cab on makemytrip. Alternatively, ask your local hotel for a 2-way taxi to Agra and back.

The other more economical option is to travel by train. There are a couple of trains that ply the Delhi Agra route. The most popular ones are the chair cars that offer seating instead of sleeping berths. The two popular trains on this route are the Bhopal Shatabdi and the Gatimaan Express. The Bhopal Shatabdi starts at New Delhi Railway station at 6 am and arrives at Agra Cantt station at 8 am. Gatimaan Express starts at H Nizamuddin Railway Station at 8 am and arrives in Agra Cantt at 10 am.

The same trains can be booked for the reverse journey from Agra to Delhi. The New Delhi (NDLS) Shatabdi leaves Agra Cantt at 9 pm and arrives at New Delhi Railway Station at 11.30 pm. The Gatimaan Express leaves Agra Cantt at 5.50 pm and arrives at H Nizamuddin at 7.30 pm.

When we travel to Agra from New Delhi, our usually itinerary is to take the Bhopal Shatabdi in the morning and return via the Gatimaan Express. The entire day is utilized in Agra and we have more than enough time to visit all the places we need to get to.

If you’re travelling into India and want to make prior bookings with trains, the site 12go.asia allows you to book Indian railways trains. Alternatively, there are many tour agents in New Delhi city who will make bookings for your train travel if you are in the city and are planning an impromptu trip to Agra.

When at the train station, you could easily use Uber or Ola while connecting from the train station to the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort. You could alternatively opt for an auto from the train station and hold him for a few hours to run about Agra for your day trip. The auto drivers are famous for over charging so bargain hard. A general bargaining tip is to half the amount offered. This might require a bit of back and forth between you and the auto driver but settling at about three-quarters the amount offered is about right.


Taj Mahal


The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum that was commissioned in 1632 by Shah Jahan and it houses his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal as well as himself. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the best examples of Mughal architecture. The best way to see this monument is by hiring a guide who will relate its history. There are a few architectural wonders built into the structure which you may not notice unless pointed out by a guide.

I’ve made two trips here, one without a guide and one with. My honest opinion is, to get a guide. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough information provided at the site by the government to understand the historical aspect of this monument. If you are getting a guide, the same guide can be used at the Agra Fort as well. 

The entire trip including a guided tour will take you roughly an hour and a half to two hours. After which you could proceed to Agra fort. If you are keen to purchase souvenirs, there are shops located outside the Taj Mahal compound that will sell you replicas of the Taj Mahal in marble as well as other interesting items with inlay work similar to that on the Taj Mahal


Agra Fort

agra fort agra india unesco world heritage site

Agra fort was the main residences of the Mughal emperors before the capital was shifted to Delhi in 1638. Agra Fort is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located roughly 2.5 kilometers from the Taj Mahal, along the Yamuna river. The Taj Mahal can be viewed from the Fort in certain places. Getting a guide here to explain the architectural and historical aspects of the fort will be very helpful as there isn’t much information around the area itself. The fort can be covered in approximately two hours with a guided tour.


Things to do in Agra

Grabbing a Bite

Esphahan restaurant located in the Oberoi Amarvilas, Silk Route, Dasaprakash for south Indian vegetarian options and Pinch of Spice for Punjabi food are a few restaurants that are a safe and tasty option if you’re visiting Agra.

Shopping

Agra is famous for its marble replicas of the Taj Mahal as well as marble inlay works. Handicrafts are plenty here. Agra is also famously known for their leather goods like footwear, bags and jackets.

If you’re interested in shopping and picking up some quality souvenirs, heading over to a few handicraft emporiums to pick up souvenirs would be a great option.

Sadar Bazaar near the Agra Cantt railway station is a great place to head to if you’re into leather goods. You’ll also get handicraft in this market as well as clothing. If you want a simple meal in a café, you’ll find Café Coffee Day here for some food and coffee.

Subhash bazaar located near Jama Masjid and Agra Fort in Agra is another option for shopping in the city. You’ll also get silk items as well as handicrafts here.

Kinari Bazaar located near Jama Masjid in Agra is famous for wholesalers. You’ll get a range of handicrafts, leather and marble items here.

Shoe market in an area called Hing Ki Mandi is famous for shoes in Agra. The market is located in a congested area and its best to head out into it by foot after parking the vehicle on the main roads. This market is usually visited by wholesalers to buy footwear for their retail stores.

taj mahal view agra unesco heritage site india

Agra to Delhi is a perfect day trip option for anyone who wants to spend the day sightseeing and shopping. These two cities aren’t that far away from each other and they are very well connected. The beautiful part of being in Delhi is the connectivity to numerous day trip possibilities that can be easily planned.


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