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Fast Trip to the Taj - best choice for tours

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Fast Trip to the Taj - best choice for tours

Hi we are making a quick stopover to see the Taj as it is something we have not yet seen. We will stay one night in Delhi and then train in the early morning to Agra to see the Taj in the afternoon after touring most of the day. Then sunset and back on the train that night. We had thought we would stay one night in Agra but I don't think that is necessary or helpful as the "best" train to return on is at 10:30 pm I think.

Are there good tour companies in Delhi that will arrange everything? Train, guide, transport, etc.?

We are going the first week in November.

India
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1. Re: Fast Trip to the Taj - best choice for tours

I recommend www.makemytrip.com they are competent enough for your requirement.

I have had their sevice in many occasions, found them reliable.

agra india
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2. Re: Fast Trip to the Taj - best choice for tours

You may find reading this thread very interesting-

tripadvisor.in/ShowTopic-g304551-i3482-k3894…

deepak

New Delhi, India
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3. Re: Fast Trip to the Taj - best choice for tours

Travel Bureau is a good travel agency. I have used their services and they are excellent.

Sydney
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4. Re: Fast Trip to the Taj - best choice for tours

Well, JudyJudyJudy, with a wonderful choice of name like that, I just can't resist replying, even though I really don't have much to offer... just an alternative plan which you may find worthwhile.

The plan is predicated on the fact that, at popular times of year, anyway, everybody in India wants to see the Taj, and most of those people seem to do what you are doing: leaving Delhi about 6:30, training (or bussing) to Agra so as to arrive between 10 and 11, and then swarming all over the Taj. The queues at the ticket office are enormous, the car park overflowing, the coach parking areas absolutely choked. Now, this may be perfectly okay for Disneyland, but the main beauty of the Taj is, surely, its serenity and other-worldliness.... and it's hard to appreciate this aspect of it when you're sharing the grounds with the population of a medium-sized European country.

If you want to save yourself some money and see the Taj without crowds, you should actually travel to Delhi, not in the morning, but the night before. There are trains (we took one from Nizamuddin Station) which leave around 8 p.m. and arrive in Agra around 11:30 to 12:00 at night (everything is still wide awake and buzzing, so this is not a creepy time to arrive). At the station is a pre-paid taxi service, and, bypassing the touts who assure you that they have the perfect place for you to stay because all the other places have just burned down, you go straight to the Hotel Sheela.

The thing about the Sheela (apart from the fact that it's a really pleasant place set in gardens you can stroll around in) is that the entrance gate is no more than fifty metres from the ticket office to the Taj. This opens at 6 a.m., so we rose at 5:15, showered but didn't breakfast, and started peeking out of the gate at around 5:45. By 5:50 the first ticket-buyers rolled up at the booth, so we slipped out of the gate and were third in line, after about a two-minute walk. The booth opened at 6 a.m., and by 6:03 we were in the grounds, along with no more than a dozen other early-birds. It was pretty much like that for the first hour, and we took some amazing photos of a deserted Taj with the colours changing as the sun came up over the monument. At that time of the morning, the only things swarming over the grounds were the monkeys, which were everywhere... but they soon disappeared between 7 and 8, when the place started to fill.

Round about 8 the school tour buses started to arrive, and we found there were no more photo opportunities and all the ambience had gone, so we returned to the Sheela and had breakfast. The Sheela is a budget option (or, at least, it was a few years ago -- a double room in 2004 cost 450 rupees --... I don't know what's happened to their prices lately), the trains are cheap, and, really the only expense was the rather expebitant 750-rupee entry ticket to the Taj. But at that time of the morning, you are at least getting your money's worth; I'm not sure you will feel that if you were to arrive at 10, even if your tour company was able to bypass the ticket queues.

Before you commit to ANY of the tours, do check the prices and the time of arrival at the Taj..... doing it yourself, as we did, means that from about 8:30 onwards you are all finished with the Taj and can spend the rest of the day seeing the other sights of Agra, such as the Red Fort. We walked across the railway bridge to the quiet side of the river, and found that a pleasant way to spend the afternoon.Travelling back to Delhi can, of course, be done just as you originally planned.

If you really want an arranged tour, I can recommend a local agent in delhi who will do a good job for you and not rip you off; but, as much as I love him and his services, I would have to say that for a trip from Delhi to Agra and back, you don't need anyone to help you... just do it yourself and do it EARLY.

Good luck, JudyJudyJudy!

Edited: 09 September 2010, 23:51
New Delhi, India
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5. Re: Fast Trip to the Taj - best choice for tours

AlanJ,

Sheela is still a budget place and a good one at that. Tey have another branch Sheela Inn which is opp. Jalma Hospital near Shilpgram entrance of Taj.

I love the way you describe things. That's straight from the heart.

Agra, India
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6. Re: Fast Trip to the Taj - best choice for tours

Hi,

The Shatabdi to Shatabdi tour (as we call it here) is one of the best plan to see Agra in a day, the super fast trains reduces the traveling time to just 2 hours from each side, giving you the best part of 12 hrs to explore the city.

you can follow my post on the tread below to get all the information about the train tour.

tripadvisor.in/ShowTopic-g304551-i3482-k3910…

Sunil

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7. Re: Fast Trip to the Taj - best choice for tours

Thanks for this so much information as I am also researching for this things for my India trip next year. I think I will follow the suggestions of AlanJ.

new delhi
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8. Re: Fast Trip to the Taj - best choice for tours

Rather book your tkts yourself as it is very easy to book train tkts on www.cleartrip.com. The most fastest way to go to Agra from New Delhi is to take a train i.e. Bhopal Shatabdi (Train no:2002) which departs from New Delhi 0615 hrs arrives in Agra Cant 0812 hrs.

Just take an auto rickshaw from train station which is 10 minutes ride from Taj Mahal.

Red fort is also few minutes drive from Taj Mahal.

Back train, Ndls Shatabdi( Train no :2001) for New Delhi leaves at 2030 hrs arrive in Delhi 2230 hrs.

have a wonderful trip, good luck.

New Jersey
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9. Re: Fast Trip to the Taj - best choice for tours

AlanJ,

Fantastic rendition of what a fast yet most productive and enjoyable trip to the Taj could be!Things could not have been said better.

I wonder what your POV on a moonlit night visit to the Taj would be.

To the DEs: The Taj used to be open for visitors at night a long time ago. Is it still the case?

Thanks

Agra, India
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10. Re: Fast Trip to the Taj - best choice for tours

I hope you won't mind me answering the question as you had directed it to the DE's....

Below is the information on Moonlight visit to the Taj Mahal

Night viewing of Taj Mahal has been allowed from 28th November, 2004 for five nights in a month including the Full Moon night and two days before and two days after except Fridays and month of Ramzan as per the order of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. The night viewing of Taj Mahal is opened from 8-30 p.m. to 12-30 in eight batches of 50 persons for half an hour duration. The visitors of the night viewing of Taj Mahal have to report at Shilpagram complex half an hour in advance of the viewing time. The entry is allowed from the Eastern Gate of the Taj Mahal only after security check near the Eastern gate. The visitors have to keep their luggage at the counter fee of cost. No video camera is allowed in side the monument during the night viewing.

The night viewing tickets of Taj Mahal can be purchased from the Booking Counter located in the office of Archaeological Survey of India, Agra Circle, 22 The Mall, Agra, Uttar Pradesh in between 10-00 am to 6-00 p.m. one day in advance of the date of night viewing. The night viewing ticket can be cancelled in the Booking counter of ASI at 22 The Mall, Agra on the same date of viewing upto 1.00 p.m.with cancellation charge of 25% of the ticket.

Rate of Night Viewing Ticket: Indian (Adult)- Rs 510/-; Foreigner (Adult)- Rs 750/- and Children ( 3Yrs to 15 Years age)- Rs. 500/-.

Source: asi.nic.in/asi_monu_whs_agratajmahal_night.a…

Happy Traveling....

Sunil