Agra is easily accessible from road, rail and air. Though the frequency of flights is very low, so think twice before taking this route. I chose the rail route, as I am more of a train person. It took me 2 hours 50 mins; a distance of 204.2 km via the Taj Express Highway to reach Agra from Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station, Delhi. Ours was only a day-long trip. Mentioning the Best Places to Visit in Agra.
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Once you get down at Agra Cantonment railway station. There is a proper, organised government system in place with fixed prices. That let’s you choose a taxi or a rickshaw, and it’s hassle-free. Choose one destination, or half day or full day services from the available options at a nominal rate. For a half-day trip, it’s just 500 for a rickshaw and 750 for a taxi. I opted for a rickshaw.
From there our journey started with what else, but the Taj Mahal! It was Independence week, so security was quite tight. Because of which, it took us almost 1.5-2 hours just to get into the Taj Mahal. Head to the ticket counter, then buy a ticket. There are different queues for men, women, foreigners and for the VIP. VIP queue means you can enter quickly by paying a higher amount.
Finally I entered the Taj Mahal, whose construction began in 1632 and finished in 1648. Taj Mahal, the eighth wonder of the world, lived up to its name and made for a worthwhile visit. Experience, though the heat and long wait had killed most of my excitement.
Right next to the Taj Mahal, is a mosque made up of red sandstone and a mirror image of the mosque. Together their symmetries perfectly balance the architecture of the Taj Mahal. Personally I loved the mosque, because I like colour. For me, the red sandstone was a better sight than the white marble. I know a lot of you would disagree here, but this is what I like!
Our second destination was Agra’s Red Fort, just 2.5 km northwest of the Taj Mahal. It’s huge but was much less crowded. As we reached, it started raining heavily. A phenomenon that Agra rarely witnesses (according to our rickshawala). So the roads are just not equipped to handle heavy showers. There’s water-logging within a few minutes of any downpour.
There are quite a few stand-alone shops. They sell items made of marble, banana-silk saree, cotton suit piece, etc you can check them; if you like shopping while travelling.
Coming to food. It’s better to carry munchies as much as possible. As there are only a handful of restaurants that don’t serve good quality or tasty food. There is no facility to eat outside the station. Further, according to some locals, the single good eatery was not operational because of renovation.
Agra a land for pethas, a special kind of sweet available in every sweet shop in the city. Agra Petha is all about ash gourd or white pumpkin. There are almost 50 varieties of Pethas available; Ranging from plain Petha and Angoori-flavored petha, to kesari petha and mango petha, to cube petha and many more.
If you’re not very much of a planner. Then there are a lot of tour packages for the day. However, it ranges anywhere between 800-1500 per person. This includes A/C Transport, Breakfast and Guide (I didn’t find the guide especially useful, so I wouldn’t recommend it).
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These are the best Places to Visit in Agra. Do also remember, that Agra is officially shut on Friday, so plan accordingly!
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