Shah Jahan | Mumtaz Mahal | Water Gadgets | Taj Mahotsav | Garden | Mosque | Story | Facts | Complex | Calligraphy | Legends and Myths | Day at Taj
The Taj Mahal, a symbol of eternal love and affection of a King for his queen, is a rare sight and experience for almost all visitors. Situated in the city of Agra, it stands formidably around 210 km toward south of Delhi. An acclaimed UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj pulls in both locals and global tourists from all walks of life and across the globe all year round.
Such is the magnetism and uniqueness of the Taj that onlookers can never have enough of it – The Taj draws everyone who has visited it to come visit it over and over again…and this is a never-ending process. If you are all set to be enchanted by the sheer charisma and stature of this medieval marvel, and planning a visit to its complex, then the main question that would arise is how to reach the Taj Mahal. Here is how.
The quickest way to reach any destination and the Taj in Agra alike is by flight or air. Agra is well connected and has its own airport terminal – the Kheria Airport (AGR) - that is around 7 km east from heart of the city.
Air India Flights connects the Agra's Kheria Airport (AGR) to Khajuraho (and flies onward to Varanasi City in Uttar Pradesh) thrice a week, and operates four weekly flights to Jaipur. Plans to upgrade the airport are underway. Moreover, the most-awaited ‘Taj International Airport’ will most likely now be constructed closer to Delhi than Agra, and hence, will have limited use. The cost of a taxi from the Airport to the main city will be around Rs. 300 approx.
There is a decent connectivity of trains with Agra with the rest of India. Besides the main railway station of Agra - Agra Cantonment - there are two other operational railway stations in Agra - the Agra Fort and Raja-ki-Mandi railway stations. The main trains that connects Agra with Delhi are The Rajdhani Express (12433), one of the fastest trains that will take you from New Delhi to Agra, U Abhatoofan Express (13007),The Habibganj Shatabdi Express (12002), The Taj Express (12280) and the famous Palace on Wheels soaked in royalty and luxury.
The Agra Cantonment Railway Station (AGC)
The Agra Cantt. (AGC) is one of the main railway stations in Agra, located towards the south-western end of the Agra Fort and the Taj. These tourist sites are easily accessible via cab rental service, by hiring an auto-rickshaw or a cycle rickshaw from this station. One can book a prepaid taxi from the taxi stand located right outside the station – charges are reasonable fare will be calculated as per the distance between the station andyour Hotel or destination. You may also hire an auto-rickshaw if your hotel is neat the station (Do note that auto-rickshaw drivers may not be able to communicate well in English. Have a guide, if possible). The station features theComesum food court that serves a variety of food options and takeaway snacks.
The Agra Fort Railway Station (AF)
The Agra Fort (AF) Railway Station is sited close to the Agra Fort, but is rarely operational and is sporadically used by the interstate trains as well. The station serves trains traveling towards the east - Kanpur, Kolkata, Gorakhpur. A few of these trains do stop for a couple of minutes only at the Agra Cantonment Railway Station as well.
The Raja Ki Mandi Railway Station (RKM)
The Raja-Ki-Mandi Railway Station (RKM) is an in frequently used small station, though a few of the trains that stop at the Agra Cantt. Railway station do stop at this station for a couple of minutes only. The station is a bit easy-going and inactive in its appeal but springs into life at the arrival of the Taj Express and Intercity express trains. This station is situated within the Agra city.
The Agra City Railway Station
The Agra City Railway Station is located at the heart of Agra city and is a relic of the metre-gauge or narrow-gauge bygone railways. It’s not operational.
The Idgah Railway Station
The moment you arrive from Jaipur, the Idgah Railway Station is the main station of Agra to arrive at.
On Arrival at the Agra Cantt. Railway Station
When you arrive at the Agra Cantonment station, before you exit the station, head to platform 1 where the UP Tourism Data Counter is located. You can book a ticket on an Agra Tour bus to Fatehpur Sikri from here, which is about40 km from the main town. The same tour bus will then take you to the Agra Fort and then the Taj Mahal Complex.
There are frequent buses that operate to Agra from various urban cities and prime locations. Idgah bus stand is the main bus stand and has buses that operate to Delhi, Jaipur, Mathura, and many other neighbouring areas and cities.
Traveling by Road to Agra from Delhi
NH2 highway connects Delhi to Agra (210 km). It takes around 4 to5 hours, and a bit more depending on the traffic you may have to navigate through to get to the Highway. The interstate is connected along the Mathura Road in Delhi; however, if you are travelling from South Delhi or New Delhi Airport, it would be less demanding to take the Aurobindo Marg along Mehrauli Road and then work your way to NH2 via Tughlaqabad. While the road is well-divided, do look out for trucks, bullock carts, autos and cycles heading in the wrong direction towards you.
From the Airport, it is advisable to hire an auto with a driver who is aware of the roads and the directions to your desired destination. However, be careful! If you need to get from Agra to the Airport terminal, make sure that you add a good share of time to your travel, as traffic conditions may add hours to your travel-time. Likewise, it is savvy to know who your driver is and if he is reliable or not. You may face a situation when the driver may take five hours to cover the distance that would have taken 2 hours otherwise, but you can't force him to drive any quicker, if the traffic is bad.
The most recent boon for tourists and locals driving from Delhi city to Agra is the accessibility of the new Yamuna Expressway that connects the Capital city to Agra via Noida. This is an extremely advanced six-lane expressway, also known as the Taj Expressway, which has become a boon to travelers. The usual 5-6 hour drive to Agra is cut down to just 2-3 hours if one uses this expressway to travel to Agra from Delhi.
If you are 3-5 individuals traveling by train and spending on tickets, it is advisable to book a cab with yellow permit plates or choose YepCab, Uber or Ola, as per your travel convenience.
From Delhi, if you are traveling to Agra via the Yamuna Expressway, then it is advisable to leave a bit early in the morning, may be around 5.00 AM. With fewer traffic and jams, you will reach Agra by 9:00AM or so (considering the stop-overs and breakfast/brunch time).
All heritage sites and monuments in Agra open from dawn to dusk. You can also rent a bike or opt for a self-drive car rental depending on availability. Check with your hotel travel advisor and choose to travel as per your comfort. You can cover sightseeing to nearby monuments in one day, and visit sites that a farther the next day. The next morning, you can check out and be on your way to your next destination. This blocks the need to carry excess baggage since it’d be a two-day trip. If you are hiring a tourist cab, do check if the driver is experienced enough, proficient and from a reliable cab rental agency. He should also have a good sense of direction and be aware of the tourist sites in and around Agra. You may need to pay for his lunch, breakfast or dinner. This would cost less than traveling by train or air.
If you plan to take the old road to Agra from Delhi, then do consider adding 1-2 hours to your travel time. And if not, bear in mind that the old highway will take you to Agra in around 4 to 6 hours, and hence, INSIST on traveling via the new Yamuna Expressway, or let them know you WON'T pay extra if they take the old road. You will need to pay the toll charges in transit, which is about Rs. 320 - Rs. 350one-way. (The amount quoted in this website may vary from the actual charges if the toll fee structure has changed, and hence, please carry some extra cash on you when traveling by road through the Yamuna Expressway.) If you are hiring a tourist taxi from Delhi to Agra, do check if the driver is proficient and experience and who feels comfortable around the place.
Traveling by Road from Jaipur to Agra
National Highway 11, a four-lane wide highway, interfaces Agra with Jaipur through the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. The distance of 255 Km can be covered in about 4-5 hours.
If you plan to start the journey from Jaipur to Agra or Agra to Jaipur, you will have a great deal of options for snacking and lunch, enroute, at the highway restaurants.
Traveling by Road from Gwalior to Agra:
From Gwalior, the NH3 (Agra-Mumbai Highway) covers a distance of around 120 km that takes around 1-2 hours to reach Agra.
Traveling by Road from Kanpur/Lucknow to Agra:
From Lucknow/Kanpur, the NH2 highway covers a distance of 285 km and will take you to Agra in 5-6 hours. From Kanpur, the NH25 covers a distance of 90 km and connects the city of Lucknow in 2-3 hours.
Traveling by Bus from Kanpur/Lucknow to Agra:
There are a number of bus services that connects Agra with Delhi. It may take around 4-5 hours to arrive at Agra by bus. These are the two interstate bus stands that you should know about.
Idgah Bus Stand Terminal
Idgah Bus Terminal or Bus stand is in the heart of the Agra city, and is the main bus stand for traveling to Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh. It is an 8-km drive from the Taj. The Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (RSRTC) runs busses to Jaipur that departs from Sakura hotel close to the Idgah bus terminal with a frequency of one bus per hour. There's a ticket booking center outside Hotel Sakura.
Please note: You may come across a man who will advise everyone that you have reached the last stop – this is when you reach at a stop just outside Jaipur city. Do not listen to him since the bus will travel further into the city. This man’s attempt to get you to stay at a commission-paying hotel outside Jaipur. So, be aware and alert! Better still, instead of depending on the bus driver to drop you at a place that is closest to your hotel, once you reach inside the city, ensure you have a pre-booked taxi who can pick you up from the bus stand where you will be dropped at.
ISBT at Transport Nagar
ISBT at Transport Nagar is 12 km from the Taj and is an interstate bus terminal. Most buses travel through this terminal, with the exception of buses that start from the Idgah Bus Stand and are going towards Rajasthan.
Please Note: Do not depend on Private Luxury Buses and Travel Agencies as they are extremely costly and may drop you to your destination late. It is advisable to include Airport transfers and cab services, including sightseeing tour services in your travel itinerary to ensure a stress-free and memorable trip to and in and around Agra.