As a former capital city of the region, Agra is a must-visit Indian location, with the climate suiting winter visits best. It offers an urban landscape filled with fantastic sights and experiences. The majesty of Agra’s past still lingers and is evident in the culture and surrounding architecture, including the famous inlaid marble and red sandstone buildings. Modern luxuries are also available to all visitors, delivering a wonderful balance of the classic and contemporary amongst the city’s beautiful settings.
There is a wealth of delectable delights for all your senses. Agra is famous for its sweets, which are devilishly delicious and a real treat for your taste buds. The beautiful sights across the markets will capture your attention too, but be prepared to barter when buying from local craftsmen, who specialise in leather goods, rugs and gold embroidery.
This extensive Expedia travel guide will give you a fantastic insight into Agra. Browse the sections below to journey through everything the city has to offer and plan your very own once in a lifetime holiday.
- Any city with the astonishing history of Agra and with so many iconic places to see and experience will also have a ton of fun facts that you may not have heard of before. Here’s a small sampling of some of the many fascinating things to discover about Agra.
- There’s no other Indian cities with as many UNESCO Heritage sites. The Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort bring their total up to three, which is more than anywhere else in India
- The Indian Parliament House was built on 8th April 1929. That’s a pretty well known piece of the country’s history. However, less well known is the fact that the bomber Bhagat Singh lived in this city where the bomb used was created.
- Agra is a manufacturing giant in many areas of India’s trade, including footwear. It’s actually the main manufacturing hub for footwear in the entire country.
- It’s the birthplace of the much loved sweet candy Pertha. The snacks popularity increases every year and it all started right here.
- Watch out for sellers:
Local sellers that can be found bothering tourists around major attraction can be aggressive and very irritating. They will likely try to overcharge you. Avoid them as best you can.
- Keep an eye on your valuables:
Another major issue in Agra, once again especially around busy areas, are pickpockets. This is especially true between the parking area for the electric bus at the Taj Mahal and the security check point at the entrance. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for thieves trying to swarm busy tourists during peak hours
- Don’t feel pressured into buying:
There’s also touts that are employed by stores to bring you in and pressure you into buying items. Once again, these will likely by at very high prices for the actual value of the items, so don’t allow yourself to be pressured into stores
Getting Around in Agra
There are plenty of ways to get around Agra. If you’re wanting to visit the Taj Mahal or sites close to it, be aware that cars are not allowed around these sites. However, you can get to these tourist attractions via electric buses called Tongas. These are a great way to get around in general, as are electric tempos.
Image source: Justin Pickard
An alternative method of traversing the city is by rickshaws. There are two types of rickshaws: auto and cycle. It’s useful to remember that, as a tourist, you are expected to haggle on prices while travelling. As a good rule of thumb, expect to pay only 40% of the first price you’re given. Haggle hard for the best prices.
Another way of sightseeing around Agra is to hire an air conditioned taxi for the day. This tends to be on the basis of 8 hours or 80km. There are various ways of booking your taxi. You can do so online for reliability or directly at the train station for convenience. It is also possible to book from the hotel you’re staying at, although this does tend to work out more expensive.
You should bear in mind that taxi drivers are likely to make unscheduled stops at shops, as this is how they receive their commission. Make it clear when you book your taxi that you do not want to visit any shops. Although you may still get taken to them, it shouldn’t add to your fee, as you will pay by the day and not on the clock. You’ll also be unlikely to be pressured into buying anything.
One of the best ways to experience the city is to walk the Sadar or Mall road. This road is full of food vendors, handicrafts and leather goods shops to peruse at your leisure.
I was wary of traveling solo to Agra but I thoroughly enjoyed myself in this romantic town. The locals were so accommodating and sweet! Take the usual precautions but otherwise I think women can safely explore the city on their own
Priyanka Dalal, travel blogger: http://travel.priyankawriting.com/
Getting to Agra
Image source: Robin Abraham
Agra does have its own dedicated airport. The Agra Airport is a military airbase that serves as a public airport, with Air India running direct services from Delhi-Varanasia-Agra-Khajuraho. The Alliance Air airline is also set to start offering journeys from Agra Airport from 28th June 2017.
However, due to the very limited number of services flying in and out of Agra Airport, you may be best off opting for one of the many bus or train services that run into Agra. Various train services, including the Taj Express, run from New Delhi to Agra, with other services available from other Indian cities. There are also numerous public and private bus operators that stop in Agra. Whether you’re opting for train or bus, it is always advised that you purchase your tickets well in advance.
Alternatively, direct private taxis can offer return journeys from Delhi to Agra for around Rs3,500. The journey time by car takes around 4 hours and 20 minutes to complete.
Visit the Expedia India website to find the best prices for a flights to Agra .