Transportation - Get In
Agra is 200 km southeast from Delhi and is one of the points of the tourist's Golden Triangle of Agra-Delhi-Jaipur. Agra is also very well connected via rail and road with other nearby cities and tourist destinations and thus suitable for a day trip from Delhi or as a stop among a larger itinerary.
Service to Agra's Kheria Airport is seasonal. Currently, the city is served by Air India Regional, which flies on the Delhi-Agra-Jaipur tourist triangle route. Agra is one of the very famous cities in India and well connected through air route to all other major cities in India. The flight time to either is less than an hour. Hiring a car may be a cheaper alternative.
Agra is on the main train line between the Delhi-Mumbai (Bombay) and Delhi-Chennai routes, and many trains connect Agra with these cities every day. Some east-bound trains from Delhi also travel via Agra, so direct connections to points in Eastern India (including Kolkata) are also available. There are close to 20 trains to Delhi every day, and at least three or four to both Mumbai and Chennai. Agra and Delhi are notorious for their thick winter fog which reduces visibility to almost zero. If travelling in late December or early January (the fog season), travellers should be aware that, because of the reduced visibility, all trains slow down and travel time goes up. The Bhopal Shatabdi, for example, may arrive in Agra well after 10:00, and might return to Delhi well after midnight. From a safety point of view, it is always preferable to travel by train during the winter. Please note that driving in foggy conditions is very risky.
Train tickets can be booked online through the Indian Railways website by either paying through debit or credit cards. At Agra station, you can hire "UP Tourism" conducted tours on air-conditioned luxury coaches. Also, organized tours are available from Delhi. If you travel during the high season, you must book your tickets a few days to a few weeks in advance if you wish to make it a day trip, i.e. traveling early in the morning and coming back at a reasonable time at night.
There are three stations in Agra:
- Agra Cantt (Station Code : AGC) is the main railway station and lies southwest of the Taj and Agra Fort, both of which are a short ride from the station by car, auto-rickshaw, or cycle rickshaw. There is a prepaid taxi stand right outside that charges a flat rate to any hotel in the city. You may catch an auto-rickshaw, if you walk a short way from the station, but they may not speak English. The station has a pretty good Comesum food court that also sells cheap, hygienic takeaway snacks such as sandwiches and samosas.
- Agra Fort station (Station Code : AF) near Agra Fort, is infrequently serviced by the interstate express trains. The station serves trains to the east (Kanpur, Gorakhpur,Kolkata) some of these trains also stop at Agra Cantt.
This is one of the historical railway stations of Agra because there was a spacious, octagonal Tripolia Chowk which existed between the Jama Masjid and the Delhi gate of the Agra Fort. This Tropolia was destroyed in order to create the Agra Fort Railway Station, which was also the first Railway Station of Agra and also one of the oldest in the country.
- Raja Ki Mandi (Station Code : RKM) is a small station. Some of the trains which stop at Agra Cantt also stop here. The station has a laid-back and lazy atmosphere, but springs into life at the arrival of Intercity trains and the Taj Expresses. It is situated in the middle of the city.
- Agra City is in the heart of Agra. A relic of the metre gauge era, this station is not particularly useful.
- Idgah Railway Station is the first station if you arrive in Agra from Jaipur.
- Delhi to Agra - Close to 20 trains connect Delhi and Agra each day with journey times varying from 2-5h. The best options are the Bhopal Shatabdi Express (departs New Delhi at 06:15 arriving Agra Cantt at 08:12; departs Agra Cantt at 20:30 arriving New Delhi at 22:30, daily except Friday; meal and water included in air-con carriage) and the Taj Express (departs Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin at 07:15 arriving Agra Cantt at 10:07; departs Agra Cantt at 18:55 arriving Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin at 22:00, daily).
- Agra to Jaipur - The journey to Jaipur (Station Code : JP) takes around 4h by train no. 2988 which leaves Agra Fort Railway Station at 18:25 and reaches Jaipur at around 22:20.
Also train number 2965 from Agra Cantonment to Jaipur at 17:40. The train arrives at 22:15. ₹300 air-con carriage.
- The Luxury train - Palace on Wheels stops at Agra on its eight day round trip of tourist destinations in Rajasthan and Agra.
There are several buses to Agra originating from Jaipur, Delhi, Ajmer, Lucknow etc.
There is a newly built highway between Delhi and Agra, however since this highway has a toll, most buses do not take it. Rather, they take the local roads, which makes the trip significantly longer than the express trains (4-5 hr). It is possible to make it by bus and minibus to Agra by the smaller roads, however you must ask around where the buses to Agra depart from, preferably from a trusted local or the staff at your hotel/hostel. Be aware that Indian "bus stations" are most of the time either large pavement areas situated under flyovers, very crowded and without no further indications of which bus goes where or stands of private bus companies, which will offer a more comfortable trip at a higher price. This option is for the ones who feel adventurous, as your journey can be halted by a sudden breakdown of the bus or a road closure due to a local protest or other form of gathering. Note that this is by far the cheapest way to get to Agra, as it should not cost more than ₹60 the normal "bus" and ₹200 for a more coach-type bus.
There are three interstate bus stands:
- Idgah Bus Stand is the primary bus stand for travelling towards Rajasthan/Madhya Pradesh, in the heart of the city, 8 km from the Taj.
- ISBT at Transport Nagar, 12 km from the Taj, is an inter state bus terminal. Most of the buses pass through here, except for buses originating from Idgah Bus Stand and going towards Rajasthan.
If you wish to travel with these buses which are government run, you must insist to your rickshaw driver that he gets you there. If you only ask for the buses to Delhi, he will probably take you to a private bus company, from which he gets a cut. It will be slightly more expensive for you and these buses tend to stop at random places and drop you at random places as well, as these buses are not direct.
You can either book a taxi from hotel or directly book one outside the railway station. There is usually a government authorised taxi stand, however it may be hard to find and the locals present at the station (looking for gullible tourists) will not help you find it. ₹950/day for 8 hours. It maybe more costly to book through hotel as hotels do have their in the fares. It is better to negotiate with the driver directly or book trough some online car rental portal.
Cars are not allowed near the Taj Complex, but the rest of Agra is easily discovered by car.
- From Delhi: Yamuna Expressway, the longest expressway in India, connects the 200 km distance from Delhi to Agra. The drive is typically 2 hours. The expressway runs from the city of Greater Noida to Agra. This highway has a toll.
NH2 Highway: The primary access to the highway is along Mathura Road in Delhi but, if coming from South Delhi or Delhi Airport, it is easier to take Aurobindo Marg (Mehrauli Road) and then work up to NH2 via Tughlakabad. While the highway is divided, it is important to keep an eye out for trucks, cars, and bullock carts heading the wrong way. It is possible to hire a car with a driver (a big car for five persons from/to the Delhi airport costs ₹3,500). But beware, if you need to get from Agra to the airport in order to catch a flight, ensure you have plenty of time for the trip, as traffic conditions may increase the drive time significantly. Also, it is wise to know your driver. There are situations when he may take over five hours to cover the distance, and you cannot force him to drive any faster than an autorickshaw (tuk-tuk).
- From Jaipur: National Highway 11, a four lane divided highway, connects Agra withJaipur via the bird sanctuary town of Bharatpur. The distance of around 255 km can be covered in around 4 hours.
- From Gwalior: A distance of around 120 km, takes around 1.5 hours on the National highway 3 (Agra- Mumbai Highway).
- From Lucknow / Kanpur: NH2, the divided modern highway, continues on to Kanpur (285 km, 5 hours) and from there to points East ending in Kolkata. From Kanpur, NH25 heads for the city of Lucknow (90 km, 2 hours).
- From Greater Noida : Perhaps the best route as it connects to Agra directly by the Yamuna Expressway, 165 km, which can be completed in 1.5 – 2 hours because it has less traffic.The road is very smooth.
Transportation - Get Around
Tongas, electric buses and electric tempos are readily available, and the best way to get to the Taj where no cars are allowed. Auto-rickshaws and cycle-rickshaws are available every where, remember to agree on fares clearly in advance. In case you are a foreigner, please ensure that you bargain everywhere and bargain hard! Generally things are available at 40% of the initially quoted fares. In recent time, Tempos are replaced by Auto-rickshaws, which mainly run on CNG (Compressed Natural Gas).
UP State Road Transport Corporation runs some non-air conditioned and air conditioned buses but those run only on specific routes. The best way to experience the city is to take a walk on the Mall Road (Sadar). The street is full of handicraft and leather goods shops. You will also find plenty of food items quite unique to the city. Indian palate is generally very spicy. Have some antacid tablets in case you are not used to spicy foods.
As polluting vehicles are strictly banned around Taj Mahal, one need to rely on Tanga (Tonga) or electric autos while travelling in the range of Taj Mahal. Camels are also available. As a guide, an auto rickshaw from Agra Cantonement station to the Taj Mahal is about ₹80 (at least in off season); and a cycle rickshaw from the Taj Mahal to Agra Fort is ₹40. You can also walk between the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, in about 30 minutes.
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