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Delhi to Agra car vs train Qs... and Delhi hotels too.

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Hello Fodorites! I have decided on doing an overnight in Agra from Delhi and am trying to plan details. I am trying to decide between booking a tour to handle everything (transport, guide, hotel) or going it on our own via train. Only a couple weeks left! :)

1) The latter route seems decidedly harder. Has anyone taken the train to Agra themselves and gone to Fatehpur Sikri too? Is the only way by car?

2) Also, I keep hearing about how dirty trains in India are. Does this apply to the Shatabdi Express too? Can anyone give a sense of the Shatabdi Express in this regard, and what class ticket you would recommend? The huge time save via train (vs road) is too great to ignore!

3) In the alternative, can anyone recommend any tour agency they booked for Agra? Our wedding hosts referred a tour proposal from friend of a friend who owns a tour agency, but the hotel included in the package seems rundown (the Pushp Villa Hotel). Maybe I can ask them to customize. I think ideally, we'd take the train down one way, the tour would meet us in Agra, but return by car transport (they offered this for the day trip option, but not for the overnight) the next day with Fatehpur Sikri en route.

4) Last, any opinions on the Imperial ($184 deco room w/ bfast) vs Radisson ($138 w/ bfast) vs Metropolitan ($148 w/ bfast) vs The Park ($134 w/ bfast)? These are all 4-5 star hotels nr Connaught, and similar recs are welcomed. I know MANY are partial to the Imperial -- is the extra $50 or so worth it for old world charm?

Thanks in adv!!!

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