Agra: home of the Taj Mahal

Why visit Agra?

Located in the North region of Uttar Pradesh, Agra is home of the sacred landmark; the Taj Mahal. Situated around 200km south of New Delhi, Agra attracts millions of tourists each year. Most of them flock in coaches on a one day trip, mainly to visit the Taj Mahal.


Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Going to Agra from New Delhi

If you are in New Delhi, going on a one day trip is fairly easy thanks to the Gatimaan Express, India’s fastest train. Daily departures (excluding Fridays) leave from Hazrat Nizamuddin train station to Agra Cantonment train station at 08.10am. It is a direct train and it takes less than 2 hours. To go back to Delhi, the return train is at 05.50pm. This is the fastest option and the most suitable for those who want to visit Agra in a day. For 755INR one way, you will get a seat in an air-conditioned cabin with food included.

Apart from the above train, there are other frequent daily trains between New Delhi and Agra. These options are much cheaper but take a slightly longer time to arrive (around 2.40hrs). For those on a budget and with no time restrictions this might be a good option. We paid only 100INR one way for a second class (no ac) seat.

There are also daily buses leaving from Delhi to Agra and back.

Alternatively, one can book a package with an agency and the ticket normally includes: pickup from hotel and drop off at Hazrat Nizamuddin train station, return train tickets, entrance to the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort, lunch and shopping. Ticket prices varies according to season and agent. Always check latest reviews prior booking to avoid scams and disappointments.

What to visit?

Taj Mahal

The main reason people from all over the world come to Agra is to see the majestic, historic and sacred landmark of the Taj Mahal. Taj Mahal, which means ‘Crown of the Palace’, was built between 1632 and 1653 by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife Mumtaz Mahal. Both are now buried inside the mausoleum.

In 1983, the Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. In 2014 alone, around 14 million people visited.

Opening hours are from dusk till dawn (06.00hrs – 19.00hrs), and it is closed on Fridays. Foreign tourist ticket cost 1,000INR. It is not allowed to carry any sort of tripods, food, cigarettes, lighters, and video is permitted only at certain areas. Visit as early as possible if you want to avoid the huge crowds and for better photo opportunities. We were there at 6 am and by the time we were leaving at 8 am, bus loads of visitors were arriving.


Agra Fort view from Taj Mahal

Agra Fort

The second most visited landmark is Agra Fort. It was the Emperor’s residency during the reign of the Mughal dynasty. Situated 2.5km away from the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort is also a World Heritage site. The Fort is still in use today by the Indian Military. In fact, only 30% of it is open for tourists.

Agra Fort is open from 06.00hrs to 18.00hrs and ticket costs 550INR. If you visited the Taj Mahal on the same day and kept your ticket, you get 50INR discount.

Tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah

The third most visited landmark is the Tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah, also known as ‘Baby Taj Mahal’ or ‘Jewel Box’ and is often regarded as a draft of the Tāj Mahal. The tomb was built between 1622 and 1628.

Tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah opens from 07.00hrs till 18.00hrs. Entrance fee is 210INR.

Please bear in mind that these are religious and sacred landmarks so dress appropriate and treat the sites with respect.

When to visit?

The ideal period to visit Agra is from October to March. Temperatures will not be hot and it will be pleasant to walk around the bazaars and the historic landmarks. However, this is the main touristic season, so except large crowds. If you are visiting between December and January, take warm clothes as temperature can get as low as 5 degrees.

The monsoon period is from August to October. If you do not mind rain and puddles, then this might be the perfect timing.

Between April and June, temperatures tend to rise with May and June being the hottest months of the year. Crowds may not be as large but temperature can shoot up to 45 degrees Celsius. From experience, we suggest that you avoid visiting during these scorching hot months.


Taj Mahal Main Entrance

Where to stay?

Most people visit as a day trip but if you do decide to stay longer, accommodation to suit all budgets is available. We stayed at Moustache Hostel and can highly recommend it. Dorms start from 200INR. It is a clean hostel, friendly staff, rooftop restaurant with Taj Mahal view, warm showers and comfortable beds.

There are couple more backpackers hostels around the area including; CrashPadBedweiser Hostel and 3 Musketeers Hostel.

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17 thoughts on “Agra: home of the Taj Mahal

  1. Raj

    It’s a beauiful place to visit. Taj Mahal is the symbol of Love and i would suggest couples to visit there.

  2. Laura

    Every time I see a photo or read about the Taj Mahal I just want to jump on a plane. I didn’t know about all the other buildings around it though! They look beautiful in their own right too. Thanks for a great guide.

    1. Daniel Post author

      Hi Laura, the Taj Mahal is truly a majestic mausoleum and it is 100% worth the visit. We also had the same feeling whenever we saw a picture of the Taj Mahal but finally we made it to Agra. There are more interesting places for sightseeing around Agra but these three are the top sights and like you said, each and everyone of them have their own splendor!

  3. Tony

    India hasn’t been on our list, but would love to see the Taj Mahal up close. You gave some tips and ideas to want to travel there. I really love the photos, as they give an insight to the great landscape. Thanks for the read.

    1. Daniel Post author

      Hi Tony, every state and every part of India has something amazing to offer. Be it the desert in Rajasthan, the incredible Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh or the beaches at Goa. The Taj Mahal though is something you will never see anywhere else in the world. Apart from the Taj Mahal, there are more incredible temples be it in Delhi or in Rajasthan or anywhere else! Thanks for your comment, glad you enjoyed the article!

    1. Daniel Post author

      Hi Anne, there are various hotels with rooftops overlooking the Taj Mahal, where you can enjoy a nice meal or simply a coffee and I’m sure you’ll find something. Visiting Taj Mahal at 6am is a perfect plan as you will beat the crowds and the heat!

  4. Hang Around The World

    We have a friend who comes from India and wrote a post for us about Agra, so we know the beauty of this place! We haven’t been there yet, hope to visit it next year 🙂
    Saved your post!

  5. gokulr27

    Love your views about Agra. There is a lot more to see in Agra than just Taj Mahal. Loved the hostel options in the area.

    1. Daniel Post author

      There is definitely more to see in Agra other than the Taj Mahal. Just make sure you do not visit when it’s around 45 degrees and more else you won’t enjoy the sites as much.

  6. Iza (@IzaAbao)

    I have not visited India yet. I am sure that I will be adding Taj Mahal in my itinerary if ever I’d decide to go there. I would like to see it and just admire its beauty. You took some really nice photos of the Agra Fort. It is good that you have provided suggestions about when to travel. I would not mind the rain probably as long as there will be less tourists. I can always bring an umbrella.

    1. Daniel Post author

      India is such an amazing country. There is a lot to see and the country has a lot to offer as well. There are not much countries in the world which offer the diversity that India has. You drive 50km and everything changes; be it the landscape, people, food, culture and also the language! India should really be a continent of its own 🙂 Many thanks for your comment and enjoy India whenever you go there!

  7. James

    I would visit Agra just for the Taj Mahal. I didn’t know about Agra Fort, or the Tiny Taj Mahal, if the Taj Mahal wasn’t there I’m sure these would be a lot more famous!

    1. Daniel Post author

      Hi James, once you get to Agra you will realize how rich Agra is in history and when you start reading about the place you will figure out other places which are worth a visit. Baby Taj Mahal and the Red Fort are two of them.

  8. Sam Sparrow

    What an incredible picture of the Taj Mahal. I’ve never visited India before, but it is on my ultimate bucket list. It fees like such an amazing evocative country to go and see!

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