Agra isn’t a town in India that is that well known, however there is one thing in Agra that almost everyone has heard of.
The Taj Mahal.
Many people opt to do a day trip to the Taj Mahal from Delhi, either just by organising a train there in the morning and one back at night. The other option is to pay for a tour. This will cut out the added pressure of having to get train tickets, find your train, wonder if it is going to be on time or not, etc.
However if you’re looking to get the full experience of Agra and travel in full Indian style, then keep reading to find out what we did.
Ed and I took the 2:50pm train from Delhi arriving in Agra Cantt at around 6:50pm.
From here we got a tuktuk to our hotel, Saniya Palace. I will do a separate post on our stay at Saniya Palace, so stay tuned!
We had a beautiful view of the Taj from our hotel roof restaurant, and if you are looking to spend a night in Agra, I would definitely recommend staying at Saniya Palace.
The main benefit to spending at least one night in Agra, is being able to make it into the Taj for sunrise. Our hotel was less than a 2 minute walk to the entrance of the Taj, making it far easier to get up and go at 5:15am.
We stayed for two nights in Agra due to a change in our India tour. However I would say that one night is definitely enough.
Tips for the Taj
Go for sunset. The Taj is absolutely beautiful at sunset and if you walk around to the Kau Ban Mosque side of the Taj, you will get a wonderful view of the sun coming up behind the trees and the Taj.
There are a few different entrance gates to the Taj. We entered through the Taj Mahal Eastern Gate, which I recommend. This side seemed less busy. There was however a lot of people offering to be your tour guide and photographer. We didn’t take up any offers, but that is completely up to you. Remember to bargain with them if you decide to get a guide.
Think about what is in your bag before you go. Security are very particular about what you can take inside with you. We were not aware of this until we had bought our ticket and were walking through the gate. We then had to turn back and leave our bag in a cloakroom.
You are not allowed to take in any food, tripods, selfie-sticks, laptops or any other electrical equipment except from cameras and phones.
When you get inside the actual building of the Taj, there is a walkway that surrounds the two tombs, between the walkway and the tombs there are people telling you facts about the interior of the Taj. It seems that they work there and it is a part of the visit, however they will ask for money after they share 3 facts with you.
To save you the hassle, I will share with you the three things they will tell you.
- The feet of the bodies are facing the direction of the door as you walk in and the heads are at the opposite end facing the ghat. Their heads are tilted West towards Mecca.
- When you shine a torch on the stars and coloured stones on the walls of the Taj they light up.
- The inside of the Taj echoes.
Thats it! Now you know.