Agra City – DIY Day Tour

Agra City is the most visited place in India. This city is located in Uttar Pradesh state which is 2-3 hours from New Delhi. Agra is also considered as one of the under privileged city in India despite of it’s tourism.

From news articles,  Agra is classified as filthy and unsafe city. But these adjectives were changed when I saw Taj Mahal. It was incredible and remarkable experience. The people I met are true images of how a city is lived, of how India touched me.

After visiting Taj Mahal, I returned to my hostel for breakfast and to rest. The temperature in Agra rises every hour, this what exhausted me the most. ^^’

How did I get around the city? Aside from walking to Taj Mahal, I rented an auto to see the city. There are autos outside my hostel. The receptionist called the “Manager of Autos” and we agreed to visit some places and price. It was actually funny since all of his drivers wanted to drive me around. I guessed they were eager to earn money on that day. To be fair, we wrote the names of driver on pieces of paper. Parang may pa-raffle! 😀

To continue, here was my DIY day tour itinerary in Agra,

Agra Fort

The only fort in India where all Mughal Emperors lived. Akbar built this world heritage monument on 1565 in red sand stones as a military citadel. The fort is built in semi-circular plan with its chord lying along the banks of Yamuna River.

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It was recorded that about 500 beautiful buildings were constructed inside the fort. Some of them were demolished by Shah Jahan to make room for his new white marble palaces. Most of the buildings were destroyed by British rulers from 1803 to 1862. Now, there are only 30 buildings survive primarily on the riverside.

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Agra Fort is inscribed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. Agra Fort is smaller than Red Fort in New Delhi and Amer Fort in Jaipur.

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Same as the other forts, Agra Fort have different palaces and courtyards. The courtyards in Agra Fort were my favorite from the three forts I have been.

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From a far, you will see Taj Mahal. It is said that Shah Jahan died here while overlooking his wife’s memorial.

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I spent less than an hour in Agra Fort. The heat was scorching!

Itimad-Ud-Daulah

Also known as the “Baby Taj” as it replicates a smaller Taj Mahal. Emperor Jahangir’s Queen, Nurjahan, built this memorial for his father Mirza Ghias Beg on 1622 to 1628 AD. Same as Taj Mahal it is built with white marble and semi-precious stones. This mausoleum also stands at the bank of Yamuna River.

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Baby Taj is nearer to the slum areas of Agra. I was bit cautious while inside the auto. My taxi driver from Jaipur warned me about pick-pockets. Luckily, I was safe everywhere in Agra.

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You can visit Baby Taj in less than 30 minutes.

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I actually enjoyed the sight of seeing the real part of Agra. Yes, it is dirty and dangerous yet true and incredible.

Mehtab Bagh

It is located opposite of the Taj Mahal at the left bank of Yamuna River. The garden complex is a huge square measuring 300 meters x 300 meters and in straight alignment of Taj Mahal.

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I once watched a documentary in Discovery Channel that there was an excavation discovered in this garden. It is said that Shah Jahan wanted to build another Taj Mahal in black marble. Will it be amazing to have two Taj Mahal monuments? 😎

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But for now, the most amazing part is to have a garden overlooking Taj Mahal.

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When I arrived in Mehtab Bagh, we were less than 5 tourists at the garden complex. It was very relaxing to see Taj Mahal in tranquility. Aside from the Taj Mahal complex, this is my second favorite place in Agra. It was like in fairytales – a garden and a palace.

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Mehtab Bagh is called as the Moon Garden as this is best spot to see Taj Mahal on full moon. But for me, it is the best place to see Taj Mahal in a more relaxing way. You can spend unlimited time inside the garden complex.

After seeing the Moon Garden, I returned to my hostel. My auto driver insisted to pay him 500 rupees instead of 400 rupees we agreed. He said he needs to pay for his parking fees. When we arrived at my hostel, the “Manager of Autos” asked me how my tour went. I said I enjoyed it and told him that my driver asked for a higher fare. The “Manager” talked to my driver in Hindi. It seemed they argued about the higher rate I paid. My driver returned 100 rupees then! Thank you, Mr. Manager! 😉

Here was my expenses in Agra City,

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I pray to see Agra and Taj Mahal again in its full glory. Nevertheless, my travel experiences in Agra fulfilled one of my childhood dreams! Now, Agra and Taj Mahal is one the most unforgettable chapter of my life. ❤ ❤ ❤

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