Delhi to Agra in a Day: India by Train

Delhi to Agra Day Trip: The Taj Mahal
Clearly, the Taj Mahal is a 'must do' on a visit to India. We opted to do a day trip from Delhi to Agra to avoid the logistical challenges of dealing with luggage on the train for a second time (the first was our trip from Gurgaon to Jaipur). How long does it take to get to the Taj Mahal from Delhi? It's about a 2 hour train ride from Delhi to Agra. A train departs early at about 6 am with a return at about 8:30 pm making Agra in a day definitely doable. 

Getting Around Agra

We negotiated for a cab driver for the day for about 700 rupees (about $10 USD at the time of writing). It was helpful not to have to worry about sourcing a ride at each attraction. 

The Taj Mahal

We arrived at the Taj Mahal, went through security and were confronted with a lovely red-brown brick structure. We approached and admired the arch and floral decoration. Looking through, we got our first glimpse of the Taj Mahal. We emerged and were simply amazed to be standing in front of a structure that is famous the world over. It is really quite impressive in person. There were tons of tourists about although since we arrived early, the crowds weren't too bad.
Delhi to Agra in a Day: The Taj Mahal

We noticed from across the river later in the day that the place was simply thronging with people. I definitely recommend getting to the Taj Mahal early in the day. I had to laugh. One guy wanted us to take his picture with his bald head substituting for the grand dome of the Taj. We drew closer and closer. To walk upon the marble, we had to don shoe covers provided just outside the ticket booth. Others opted to remove their shoes entirely. The white marble gleamed in the sun. Small red-brown buildings flanked two sides of the Taj Mahal. Arabic script ran up the side of the entrance with floral accents embedded in the marble. We went inside the Taj Mahal and peeked out through the lattice windows. We ambled over to one of the small red side buildings for a look around. Once again, we could see the white glory of the Taj Mahal through the entrance. We completed our circuit of the Taj Mahal to admire the building from all sides. We completed our tour and exited the way we had come in. 
The Taj Mahal viewed from across the Yamuna River on a Day Trip from Delhi to Agra
It's amazing the lengths that Mughal emperor Shah Jahan went to to commemorate the death of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. Later in the day, our driver took us across the river to a park where we could get an alternative view of the Taj Mahal. Tourists and locals alike came out to watch the sunset. Some kind of excavation (rumored to be the base of the Taj Mahal's twin) sat in the center of the park. We caught a couple last minute glances across the grass at the Taj Mahal before heading back to the train station for our return to Delhi.

Agra Fort

After visiting the Taj Mahal, our next stop was Agra Fort. We ran the gauntlet of touts and rickshaws to buy our tickets and made our way through an impressive gate.
Day Trip to Agra: the entrance gate to Agra Fort

I spotted a little bird making a hole in the wall its home. On a creepier note, we found an ailing bat near the entrance to one of the sections of the fort. The interior of the fort boasted impressive facades. There were some ground level water features that were empty when we visited. We looked out across the wall of the fort to the Taj Mahal in the hazy distance.
Delhi to Agra by train: Views from Agra fort

In the other direction, we looked onto a gleaming white section of Agra Fort that was off-limits to tourists. The interior passageways were ornately decorated. Agra Fort featured many shady spots to protect visitors from the sun. We got an even better view of the Taj Mahal from the other side of the courtyard. The usual scalloped doorways made an appearance, part of a small mosque on the property. The mosque was capped with large white domes. We walked along the wall and admired the detailed accents. We concluded our tour of the fort and made our way back to our driver. 
Delhi to Agra by train: Views from Agra fort

Watch Out for Aggressive Touts in Agra

We encountered the most aggressive touts on our visit to India at Agra Fort. We were walking along toward the parking lot at Agra Fort when at least two men approached my husband and tried to sell him a marble box. He wasn't assertive enough in telling them NO, he wasn't interested and before we knew it, he was holding the box. He eventually managed to hand it back but the touts were encouraged enough to follow us all the way to the car. They wedged themselves in the car door and continued to try and bargain for the sale. I eventually got so fed up that I actually shouted at the touts saying that NO! we didn't want the item and to GET OUT OF THE CAR! I didn't like that India brought out this side of me but it was the only thing that made them understand we weren't interested. We left the fort without purchasing anything. In most places, we found the touts to be a minor annoyance at most but in Agra they take it to a new level. Be very firm with them or you might end up in the same situation we were in or with some trinket that you don't really want for ten times what it's worth. 

Afternoon Rest at ITC Mughal Hotel

After this slightly harrowing experience with the touts at Agra Fort, we had the driver take us to the ITC Mughal hotel for a quiet rest. We had coffee and lunch and it was nice to get away from the chaos for a couple hours. After our break, we took a moment to admire the flowers by the pool before heading back to our taxi and more sightseeing in Agra.
Points of Interest in Agra India: Coffee and cookies at the ITC Mughal Hotel

Tomb of I'timād-ud-Daulah aka the Baby Taj Mahal

We finished our day trip to Agra from Delhi with a stop at the Tomb of I'timād-ud-Daulah, more affectionately known as the Baby Taj Mahal, just across the Yamuna River from the real deal. Just like the Taj Mahal, the  Baby Taj Mahal featured a stately red-brown entrance gate.
Entrance gate to Tomb of I'timād-ud-Daulah aka the Baby Taj Mahal

There was a detailed sign just inside the entrance:

1. Admission tickets of all monuments are available here.
2. Wheel chairs are available here.
3. Stretchers are available here. (What?!)
4. First aid facilities are available here.
5. Complaint/Suggestion book is available here.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF INDIA

I started to worry a little bit about my safety given #3 above. However, we carried on inside and enjoyed striking views of the Baby Taj Mahal.

We took off our shoes and were able to go inside I'timād-ud-Daulah Tomb. Colorful, floral decorations lined the walls of the Baby Taj Mahal. I liked the bright yellow floor decked out in geometric pattern. The ceiling featured a marble star burst. We peeked out at the flanking buildings through the door and latticework windows. We took one final loop around the inside of the Baby Taj Mahal before heading back outside. 
Agra Day Trip: Tomb of I'timād-ud-Daulah aka the Baby Taj Mahal

We spotted a few monkeys frolicking in the flowers. We ambled away from the main attractions and took a detour around the perimeter. As we did in many places in India, we ran into a group of people that found us strangely fascinating. They mimed for us to pose for a picture with their daughter while the entire family gathered round to watch. In this case, the guy used a video camera instead of taking a still photograph. We took one last look around the garden at the Baby Taj Mahal and then headed for the exit. 

Bonus Park on the Yamuna River in Agra

We hopped back into our cab and headed for the river. We arrived at a crumbling park and monument along the Yamuna River. We admired the deep blue artwork on the facade.
Things to do in Agra India: Visit a Park along the Yamuna River

We looked over the edge of the property onto the riverbank below. Workers were busy making fuel patties from dung. We made one final stop in Agra at Cafe Coffee Day (it seems like the Starbucks of India) for something to eat and to waste a little time before our train. We'd seen every attraction in Agra and still had two hours until our train was due to depart from Agra to Delhi. 
Fuel patties made from dung drying in the sun in Agra India

Return Train From Agra to Delhi

Eventually, we returned to the Agra Cantt train station to await our ride back to Delhi. We got well-acquainted with the train station since we were early and our train was delayed by a good hour and a half. After a long day trip from Delhi to Agra, we definitely slept well that night!
Train from Agra to Delhi

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Delhi to Agra in a Day: India by Train
Delhi to Agra in a Day: India by Train
Travel from Delhi to Agra by train. Find out about places to visit in Agra in one day. Explore Agra India on a day trip from Delhi.
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