Delha - Agra: fly or train

Nov 8th, 2007, 06:15 PM
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Delha - Agra: fly or train

Just learned that Kingfisher is resuming flights between Delhi & Agra, and Agra- Japur. Had planned on taking the early a.m express from Delhi to Agra & then car/driver from Agra to Jaipur. But my time is very limited in each place, and of course flights are shorter. Also, the Shatabdi express from Delhi to Agra leaves at 6:00 a.m & the flight at about 8:00 a.m. Will I miss out on much (sights, experience of India roads & train) if I fly to both destinations? I will have a short road trip with car & driver between Agra & Fatehpur Sikr, and also between Jaipur & Samode village near there. Will that be enough to get a feel for driving & what I understand is quite an experience on roads in India (cows, goats, villages along the way)? If I'm going to do the flights I really want to book right away because I'm going in February -- peak season.
CFW is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 06:38 PM
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Well, since the flight and train will both arrive the same time, I'd take the train over a flight to Agra. Simpler, cheaper, a bit more "India". Plus you may still have fog delays for flights in Feb.

We did go by car from Delhi to Agra this time. took about 4 hours to Agra, more like 5 1/2 hours coming back. I'll have to say I loved the trip, but part of that was that we had a truly great driver. Careful, slow, nice van, and used his horn only when necessary. Interesting conversations and lots insights into Indian life.

The highway is divided, so not as hairraising as some roads, but anywhere there is an accident or roadwork, the cars simply switch to the wrong side of the highway and keep going.

From Agra to Jaipur though, the flight sounds very attractive. That road is a bear...undivided highway and 5 hours of potholes.

You'll get plenty of the local color on the road to Fatepur Sikri. thats about a 45 minute ride.
lcuy is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 06:42 PM
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How much time are you spending in Agra? are you planning to stay overnight? February is not as bad a season as January when all the NRIs travel, Im told, and it should be cool enough that it doesnt matter so much what time you hit the Taj. People fuss about light and camera angles, but when we were there the real issue was air quality - the polluted air in Agra made it hard to get a clear view of the Taj. I would also wonder whether there might be fog in February which could impede air flights - Delhi is notorious for this. In Agra, our favorite site was the exquisite, intimate "Baby Taj" its on the other side of the river, where you can also drive to a viewpoint on the Taj (Mehran Bagh - just follow the road next to the garden entrance down to the river - the garden - the entry fee to the garden is ridiculous),

Do you plan to see Fatepur Sikri on the same day? It take about an hour or so to get over there from Agra, and then the visit will take 2+ hours - take your time, use one of the official guides but dont let him rush you. FS is actually much more interesting and accessible than the Red fort, etc. Do take time to go into the Sufi shrine in the mosque precincts, its quite moving, and the Mosque itself and its main gate, especially is impressive.

As are as experiencing rural India, Id say you'd be best off experiencing it on side roads rather than on the Agra-Jaipur highway. The part we drove, from Agra to Bharatpur, is currently being widened in a major project, so with the road widening and the dust its not a particularly pretty drive. YOu'll see plenty of street livestock in Agra too, once you get out of the precincts right around the taj - put your camera in your bag when the monkeys are around, btw.
jjkbrook is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 06:50 PM
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definitely the train
glorialf is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 07:16 PM
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I'll have two days in Agra, so I will have time to go to Fathpur Sikri while in Agra. I definately plan on flying to Jaipur because of the long drive & so I'll have more time in Jaipur. I reallly was thinking about the flight from Delhi to Jaipur just because it leaves later, and the idea of getting up before dawn to make a 6:00 a.m train was not particularly appealing -- especially just two days after having made the long haul from NY to Delhi. But I suppose it won't really make that much difference because I'll have to get to the airport early anyway.
CFW is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 08:50 PM
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I would take the train from Agra to Delhi. The highway isn't too bad but we got stuck in a monster traffic jam earlier this year and the drive took about 7 hours... Taking the flight also doesnt save you any time.

For the Agra - Jaipur sector, definitely fly. The road is really bad. Also, I love Kingfisher.
sharon1306 is offline  
Nov 9th, 2007, 02:36 AM
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Oops, I meant I was thinking of flying from Delhi to Agra (not Jaipur -- I'm going to fly from Agra to Jaipur) because it leaves a little later. Ok, so none of you think I should fly that segment. What about taking a slightly later express train -- not as comfortable as the Shatabdi express, but I could sleep a little later. I'm staying at The Manor in South Delhi-- and the idea of having to get up at 4:30 or so to make a 6:00 a.m. is not very appealing....Has anyone taken a train other than the Shatabdi from Delhi to Agra?
CFW is offline  
Nov 11th, 2007, 05:54 PM
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Are you actually able to book a ticket for this flight? There is nothing on Kingfisher's website about flights to Agra currently operating or starting up. Much as I love Kingfisher, I doubt that even the charismatic Vijay Mallya can get the Indian air force to agree to re-open the airport at Agra to his airline. It was closed to commercial flights almost a decade ago for a number of political reasons. Also, IMO, if any airline is going to get a contract to fly commerically into Agra, it is going to be Indian Airlines. I personally would not want to chance the risk of cancelled flights at this point and then scrambling for alterntaive transport.

Also with a flight out of Delhi airport at 8 am with security and travel time to the airport, you will have to leave just before 6 am for the airport assuming you are staying at a downtown Delhi hotel. Also IMO you won't save any time and due to inevitable flight delays, may indeed lose time. While the chance of fog in Feb is less than late Dec or Jan, it is still there, but the chance of being delayed due to traffic is great, becuase in addition to an overloaded air transport system, there is a great deal of construction going on at the airport (they are building a new runway and there is construction at the terminals.) I don't know why anyone would fly this short distance in India when the train is a much better alternative.

There are other trains than the 6 am train, check the schedules. Some of these are slower trains, some may not have the executive class seats, and some of these depart from the Nizamuddin station which is in southeast Dehli near to the Oberoi hotel. For example, there is the Kongu Express which departs 8:40 am and arrives 11:40 am (departs Nizamuddin station). This is from an older scheudule so you should check a current one as departue times may shift slightly.
Cicerone is offline  
Nov 11th, 2007, 06:15 PM
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the potential of fog would sway me to train or driving.....the drive is interesting but long....we left delhi about 9 and got to agra about short stop for lunch..
rhkkmk is offline  
Nov 11th, 2007, 06:53 PM
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I'm convinced -- I'll take the train from Delhi to Agra.

But I do plan on flying from Agra to Jaipur, assuming the flight actually takes off. The Agra flights on Kingfisher are listed in the schedule on their website from Dec. 15 - end of March, for the high tourist season, I suppose. I called them to confirm and they are taking bookings through their toll free number or travel agents, though you can't book on-line. I booked through my agent in Delhi (Compass Tours) and the owner has assured me that if the flight is cancelled he will have a car and driver available for me to drive to Jaipur. So, I'll give it a try, and will call again just before I leave for India.
CFW is offline  
Nov 11th, 2007, 07:08 PM
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OK I just found the flight on Kingfisher, so I feel better, thought I was going crazy...personally I find the road to Jaipur to be quite nice (and that's hard to say for Indian roads, I would not say the same for the Delhi-Agra road which is why I prefer the train, and would never say the same for the Agra-Ranthambore road), and stopping at Fatephur Sikri is a logical way to see that ancient city on the way out to Jaipur, so I don't really think you are saving much by flying esp with security and always the chance of a delay. But to each his own. In Feb the mustard fields in the area will be in bloom and overall it's a nice trip actually between the two.
Cicerone is offline  
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