Guide to a One-day Agra Darshan
I have always thought of the Taj Mahal as a place where I will end up going one day. I mean the Taj Mahal falls into the quintessential bucket list of sites that everyone must visit. I, initially, found it too mainstream for my hipster tastes to bother making a trip. However, mainstream, as it is, I did end up visiting Agra a few weeks ago. I had to visit Delhi for my M.A. entrance examinations, and I had one idle day in between. I was too tired of studying, and so I decided to take a short detour to Agra the moment I landed at the Delhi airport.
Agra is where the Taj Mahal resides, and even though the thought was always there at the back of my mind, I knew that Agra is not as contained as we would like to think. Plus, I had to wrap this one-day detour within a limited frame of time. So, I made myself an itinerary right after I could successfully book a direct Delhi airport to Agra taxi. Here’s what I had included in my itinerary:
- Taj Mahal
- Breakfast at The Oberoi
- Agra Fort
- Itmad-ud-Daulah Tomb
- Akbar’s tomb
1. Taj Mahal, we finally meet.
I had to face the fear of the mainstream. So, I decided to keep the Taj Mahal on the top of my list. Right after I had booked a direct Delhi airport to Agra taxi, I asked the driver to take me to the Taj Mahal. The driver too agreed as the Taj Mahal’s majestic splendor shines the brightest during the morning, I wish I had made it a bit earlier since the Taj Mahal looks ethereal during sunrise. You’d have to buy tickets; it takes 20 INR for Indians but 750 INR for foreigners. After going through the inspection checkpoint, I finally found myself inside the Taj Mahal.
The white marble mausoleum contains carvings that have settled itself comfortably with its history. The artificial pool and the garden that accompanies the Taj Mahal’s beauty compelled me to take pictures. I could have easily avoided clicking the same frames that I have grown up seeing, but doing it on my own felt more engaging. Ideally, the entirety of the Taj Mahal can be wrapped up within two hours.
2. Breakfast at The Oberoi
I am the kind of person who always ends up skipping meals. I had skipped my breakfast, but then I realized that I could get myself a luxurious treat at The Oberoi. But to be honest, I decided to go there since it was just two minutes away from the Taj Mahal. Even though the breakfast was expensive, I had to try it once. The continental breakfast cost is around $12, which did affect me later on, but I would rather not think about it.
3. The next stop at the Red Fort
Time for a quick history lesson: the Agra Fort used to be the primary residence for the Mughal emperors until 1638 after which the capital of India shifted to Delhi. I always had deep-seated regard for the Agra Fort since I can be quite geeky about historical places and Mughal architecture. And, there is an entry fee here as well.
4. Tomb of Itimad Ud Daulah A.K.A the Baby Taj Mahal
There is a reason why it’s often referred to as the Baby Taj Mahal. I could see the uncanny similarities too. Its symmetry, long pools, and towers bear resemblance with the grown-up Taj Mahal. It is also said that this mausoleum was used as a draft complex for the Taj Mahal.
5. Taking a tuk-tuk to Akbar’s Tomb
The next stop on my list was Akbar’s tomb. So, I asked around and was advised to take a tuk-tuk to Sikandra. This might be controversial, but I liked this structure more. With its impressive carving and its exuding history, I was swept off my feet. To think of it, Akbar is one of the most famous rulers of India and so is his tomb, even before Jodha-Akbar made it to the big screen.
6. Trying “Petha” for the very first time.
Ideally, I would avoid anything that is made from pumpkin. But I was quite surprised to taste this gelatin-like sweet called Petha. They also come in varied flavorers, and I packed two boxes for my ride back to Delhi.
I would say my buffer day was spent fruitfully, but it was time for me to Book an Agra to Delhi airport taxi one way. Heading back wasn’t pleasant, but I had to. This was an eye-opening experience for me, and honestly, I would travel back here solely for the “Pethas”.