After visiting the monuments in New Delhi for one whole day, I traveled to Agra via Yamuna Expressway. Distance between the two city is around 200km.
How to reach Agra
I was pick up around 9am by Mr. Manoj of India Passion Tours. Travel time from Delhi to Agra takes about 4hours. (If you watch my vlog above, Manoj told it will only take 2.5hrs, but it’s not😂😅🤣. Yamuna expressway is privately owned tollway – its clean, smooth and wide road. We stop about half of the travel time to grab some snacks and withdraw cash, maybe that’s why it took us 4hrs. Lol. There are several stopover restaurants and cafe along the way if you need, and as per Mr. Manoj, about every 50km there will be available pit stops, so wouldn’t have to worry getting hungry or need to rush to the toilet.
You can also take a train from Delhi Railway Station to Agra. Travel time depends on the season, December and January usally gets more delays due to foggy weather.
You can easily find accommodation through Booking.com. I booked my room in Bedweiser Backpackers Hostel for only 900INR per night for a private single room with own toilet and bath. The room is actually pretty big for a hostel. If you plan to visit the Taj Mahal early in the morning, you can consider booking your accommodation with only a short walking distance to the nearest gate.
- Use the Map View in the booking site to have an idea of the actual location of the hotel.
- Sort the listing from the cheapest if you are budget conscious like me.
- Always verify the reviews. You can check recent reviews as well from Tripadvisor.
When we reached Agra around 1pm, I decided to just drop my luggage in my hostel and proceed to Agra Fort. A Spanish couple who is also guest of India Passion Tour joined us going to Agra Fort. I entered the fort past 2pm and agreed to return back by 4pm.
Agra was once the capital of India during the 15th century under Lodi Dynasty and up to the 16th century which is considered as the golden years of Agra. Mughal Empire leaders built lush and large Persian-inspired gardern and luxurious fort. One of which is the Agra Fort.
Emperor Akbar of Mughal Empire initially constructed the fort between 1565 and 1573. It is situated on the west bank of the Yamuna River, with overlooking view of the Taj Mahal. Emperor Akbar built the fort using red sandstone but when his grandson Shah Jahan took over, constructed palaces of white marble within the fort itself. The fort has several apartments that served as residence of the ruling empire.
Agra Fort is also UNESCO World Heritage site like the Qutb Minar and Taj Mahal. Entrance fee in Agra Fort is 650INR for foreigners and only 50INR for indian nationals. You can bring a bottle of water if you want especially during summer season.
If you dont have a guide like me, short description and information about the buildings inside the fort are available in English and Hindi. Some locals may also approach you and offer a guide service when you come inside the Fort, unfortunately, i did get information how to identify if they are really authorized tourguide of the govt.
Agra Fort SnapShots
I spend around 2 hours inside the fort filming for my vlog, reading informations about its history and what was purpose the building or room and appreaciating the decorations of the walls and ceilings from both red sandstone palace and marble palace. And then I realized its past 4pm already. Ahahahaha. Im late.
After visiting the Agra Fort, we head to the Mehtab Bagh Garden for sunset viewing with Taj Mahal across the Yamuna River.
Mehtab Bagh Garden
Located Just north of Taj Mahal, across of the Yamuna River, you’ll find the lush garden complex known as Mehtab Bagh or Moonlight Garden. The Mehtab Bagh garden was the last of eleven Mughal-built gardens along the Yamuna river.
It is known to be a good viewing point of the Taj Mahal but it draws more tourist at sunset.
You can easily spend an hour here just sitting and relaxing while waiting for the sun tonset amd paint the sky with golden hues. There are also plenty of birds and flowers in the gardens, for you to watch. Mehtab Bagh is like a peaceful that makes it a great escape from the busy streets of Agra and the Taj Mahal complex itself.
Entrance fee in Mehtab Bagh garden is 300INR. It is open from sunrise to sunset but they only allow entry until 30mins before the sun sets. Mehtab Bagh Also does not allow use of tripods, same with all other monuments in India. So if you are planning to have some long exposure or sunset timelapse, just look for some flat space to put your monopod or use your backpack as stand (just be resourceful if you really want to get that shot 😄). I used my Osmo Mobile 2 gimbal to get panorama and timelapse, placed in a flat surface above the concrete fence.
Caution: there are lots of mosquitoes, so put on some repellant before you come mehtab bagh garden
How to get around Agra
If you come to Agra without a private guide/transport or doing DIY travel by using public transport, you can still get around Agra easily. Tuktuk are widely used to visit at least the three most famous monuments in Agra. You can visit those places in one full day – Taj Mahal in early morning, Agra fort afterwards and Mehtab Bagh during sunset. These three locations are very near to each other.
Where to Eat
- Pinch of Spice – serves Indian Cuisine as well as European dishes. We ate our dinner here
- Mama Chicken – recommended by Mr. Manoj
Next trip report – Taj Mahal