One day in Agra

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Aug 16th, 2011, 11:41 AM
  #1
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One day in Agra

We have a very tight pre-organized schedule which only allows us one day in Agra. Any suggestions about what to do. We will be arriving by train early from Delhi and leaving about 7:00 back to Delhi.
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Aug 16th, 2011, 12:10 PM
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If I had only one day in Agra, I would spend most of my time at the Taj Mahal, taking in the beautiful architecture and gardens and take a visit to Akbar’s Tomb and the Tomb of I’timad ad-Dawla. They will make an interesting comparison to the architecture of the Taj Mahal and to the Mughal architecture you will see in Delhi.
Enjoy your trip!
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Aug 16th, 2011, 01:20 PM
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I went to the Taj Mahal in the morning and Agra Fort in the afternoon. That was plenty for me.
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Aug 16th, 2011, 02:11 PM
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i would visit the taj as soon as i could for a few hours--maybe 2-3...

then i would go to the baby taj across the river... maybe 1 hour or less there...
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Aug 16th, 2011, 10:10 PM
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Thank you for all your advice. There is so much to see - sometimes too much.
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Aug 16th, 2011, 11:45 PM
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With one day, you can visit the Taj, Itmad-ud-Daula's Tomb (the baby Taj) and Agra Fort. If you have extra time, go the site of the black Taj in gardens directly across the river from the Taj Mahal. Or have lunch at the Amarvilas for a relaxing luxe break in the middle of your day.

If you go to the fort, see if you can find a decent guide at the entrance. It is one of those places that was much more interesting with a guide.
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Aug 17th, 2011, 11:58 AM
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Along with the obvious choice of the Taj Mahal, I'd recommend the Tomb of Akbar the Great which is also sometimes known to locals as Sikandra. To me it was like a hidden gem, often overlooked because of the Agra Fort and the Taj itself.

Honestly speaking in the time you have, its best to restrict yourself to a few (maximum of 2) places so that you can really enjoy those.
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Aug 19th, 2011, 05:49 AM
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Thank you for all the advice.

Two more questions. We are hoping to take the early morning train from Delhi to Agra - the Shatabdi Express. How do we get from the train station to the Taj Mahal without getting attacked by independent taxis an auto rickshaws? Once we're there, will we need other transportation or can we walk to the other sites? Also, Icuy mentioned the Amarvilas for lunch, any other recommendations?
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Aug 19th, 2011, 10:23 AM
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You'd most definitely need transportation for visiting other places. The Agra Fort is only a couple of kilometers from the Taj but its best to have motor transport if possible.

I've not tried the Amarvilas myself but I usually recommend the Navratna mughal restaurant at the Mughal Sheraton or the top floor restaurant at the Clark Shiraz. I forget its name, but I distinctly remember that it has (or atleast had) revolving table tops.
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Aug 19th, 2011, 10:50 AM
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If you don't pre-arrange a driver, hire one at the station for the full day. Ask others what the price should be before you get there, as you'll need to bargain hard.

Hiring them for the day is not that much more than paying a la carte. It also means they'll be waiting for you outside each site, and you won't have to be negotiating rides all day long.

Write down how many hours and the price. Don't let them take you shopping unless you want to pay extra for their cut.
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Aug 19th, 2011, 12:03 PM
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Easiest if you book a driver in advance, and have him drive you around all day. It shouldn't cost too much, maybe $50 to $60 USD a day. We stayed in Agra for 2 nights in the Sheraton -- reached there the night before and all sightseeings were done in one day. Stayed again for another night and then drove to Delhi in the morning since we didn't want to be on the road at night.

We got into the Taj early in the morning, around sunrise. Thoroughly went all over the places--the side buildings, the back, etc. Besides the driver, we also had a tour guide, but he was kinda useless. We dumped him half day through, as he kept on trying to make us shop here and there. Besides, I'd read a 400+ page book on the history of the Mughals before the trip and probably knew more than he did. You can just print out some stuff to read about these places and just enjoy the sights.

On that day after the Taj, we also went to the Red Fort, Akbar's tomb, Baby Taj, the Black Taj across the river. The most interesting part is seeing how people live--still like centuries past with bullcarts on the road.

The driver took us to some tourist-standard restaurant for lunch, and it was ok. Later on the trip, we told him to take us to a real dhaba, where truckers eat! Well, they cooked to our exact specifications--washing veggies with bottled water and everything was well-cooked. And it was the best meal on the trip.
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Aug 19th, 2011, 12:10 PM
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Actually, car rental within the same city should be cheaper-- probably $25 to $30 per day. When I said around $50 a day, that included long distance driving between cities and it was an 8-seater SUV too--Toyota Qualis. We had the car for like 5 days.

When we got to Delhi, we got a new Nissan compact car with driver for the whole day, and only paid $17 USD a day.

Well, this was back in 2006.
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