Getting to Agra
Geographical Location of Agra
In terms of Geography, Agra is located at roughly 27.18 degree North and 78.02 degree east. Its location is such that it experiences extreme temperatures where in the summers it can rise much above 40 degree centigrade while in the winters, it can go down to as low as 2 degrees centigrade. Although Agra has visitors coming all round the year, it would be best to avoid it during the summers between April and June when the high temperatures can cause heat stroke and dehydration.
Agra City : Distance from Delhi and Jaipur
The City of Agra is a part of India's famous Golden Triangle Tourist circuit, the other two comprising of Delhi and Jaipur. The geographical location of Agra is towards the north western corner of the Northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is south-east of Delhi and east-ward from Jaipur. The one huge plus for Agra as a tourist destination is its close proximity to Delhi. It is roughly 200 kilometres south east of the Indian capital, meaning that even if one drives from Delhi city, it would take a little more than 3hours. Agra's distance from Delhi, the state capital; Jaipur of Rajasthan is approximately 230 odd kilometers. This close proximity of the city of Taj to the two other very popular Tourist metropolises in Northern India is a boon for this historic city to showcase its past legacy that lives on till today.
Agra Airport Information
Agra has an airport which is also known as Kheria Airport, approximately 8 kilometers away from the central part of the Agra city. Apart from serving public airports for the city of Agra, the Kheria airport is one of the largest airbases for the Indian air force. In terms of public service, Agra airport is not a large airbase and it is a domestic airport where one can fly the scheduled flights from Delhi and Jaipur to Agra and back and the time taken is hardly 50mintues. However, in case you wish to fly directly to the city from any other metropolis in India, you have to book a chartered flight which is provided by just about any domestic airline in India. But one needs to keep in mind that a chartered flight would mean huge cost for the transport, for getting to the city. If you wish to fly to the Taj in terms of scheduled departures from other cities in India like Mumbai, Varanasi, Calcutta, Bangalore or Chennai, it is almost certain that you would have to go via Delhi, with a halt at New Delhi airport. If you wish to fly to Agra, there various domestic airlines to choose from-Indian Airlines, Kingfisher Airlines, Indigo and Jet Airways are just a few to name from the many.
The Kheria Airport at Agra has a Tourist Information Centre along with car-hiring agencies and auto rickshaws. You can use them as transport to get to the heart of the city or hire them for a day for sight seeing. The basic facilities in the form of refreshments and snacks bar, currency exchange booths and car parking areas are present.
Getting Agra by Railways Network
Agra is well connected to every corner in India by Train/rail. There are three major Railway Stations in the city, namely; Agra Cantonment Railway Station, Agra Fort Station and Idgah Railway Station. Raja ki Mandi is another station which is located just on the outskirts of the city, and if travelling from Delhi one would reach there 12minutes before arriving at Agra Cantonment Station. It is much closer to Sikandra, roughly 14 kilometers from Agra. Agra City Station is a fifth Rail Station which has very few trains passing by. The two most important are the Agra Cantonment, which is in close proximity to the Army Cantonment area and Agra Fort Station, which is very close to Agra Fort. The station near the fort was the first railway station that came up in Agra and is also one of the oldest in India. There are a lot of intercity state trains that connect the city to the rest of Uttar Pradesh. It also acts as link between the west such as Jaipur and Jodhpur and the east of the country, such as Lucknow and Calcutta. Agra Cantonment Station falls in-between the railway network connecting Delhi to the Central and South of India, as well as Delhi to Mumbai. Practically every train from Delhi to the South, such as Bangalore, Chennai, Mysore or Vizag passes through Agra Cantonment Station. Therefore, Trains between Delhi and Agra Cant are there very frequently, almost one in every 45 minutes.
But if you are looking for a day's trip to Agra from the capital, the best way is to board the Bhopal Shatabdi Express. It starts at 06:15 AM IST from New Delhi Railway Station and reaches Agra Cant within a couple of hours. Breakfast is served on train and you can expect a decent continental meal before arriving at your destination. An alternative to Shatabdi would be the Taj express which leaves around 1 hour after the Shatabdi departing from Hazrat Nizamuddin and takes a hour extra to reach Agra, which means by the time you arrive it is around 10 AM IST. The other reason other than the time , as to why one should travel by the Shatabdi rather than the Taj is that while the former provides you with meals, if travelling by Taj you would have to arrange on your own in that case. If you choose to return by Shatabdi, you can hop on to the train back to Delhi scheduled to depart from Agra Cantt Station at 20:30 PM IST and expect to reach Delhi by 22:30 PM IST. While returning, you can enjoy a hearty meal while on board before reaching Delhi. The Taj Express departs from Agra Cant at round 18:55 PM IST and scheduled to reach Delhi by 22:00 PM IST. However, this train usually delays unlike the Shatabdi which runs on time in most cases at least other than the Luxurious service that is provided on board.
Reaching Agra by Road Transport
Road Connectivity to Agra from Major Cities close by such as Delhi or Jaipur are good and worth experiencing a nice drive. The other destination that is close by is Gwalior, just two hours south of Agra at a distance of roughly 120 kilometers. If you drive from Delhi, one would need to drive up to the Mathura Road before coming up on National Highwway-2 that connects Delhi to Kolkatta, and help you reach Agra after a 200 kilometer drive. For those in South Delhi near Vasant Kunj or Qutub Minar, need not go up to the Mathura Road. Rather drive to NH-2 via Tughlaqabad and Okhla. The drive will take you approximately 4 hours. In case you are coming in from Jaipur to Agra, you would have to drive on National Highway-11 and drive for around 5 hours before reaching Agra via Bharatpur. If you are driving from Gwalior, you have to head north towards Agra on NH-3 that connects Agra to Mumbai and would usually take three hours. The stretch between Gwalior and Agra is known as the North-South Corridor by the National Highways Authority of India. Not having your own vehicle is not a problem even if you want to experience the ride on the highways. One can find regular Buses to Agra form Delhi, Jaipur as well as Gwalior.
The main bus terminus in the city is Idgah Bus Stand, where one can find buses running to Delhi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh quite regularly. The other Bus stop is next to transport colony, which is ISBT or the Inter State Bus Terminus from where one can travel to the different parts of the state of Uttar Pradesh. There is a third bus stop which is just near the Agra Fort from where buses to Etawah, and Bhind depart, places which are dry and remote towns on the state borders of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in Central India.
Since Agra is a part of the famous Golden Triangle along with Delhi and Jaipur, and if money is no a worry, the most luxurious way to probably travel is by the Palace on Wheels. It is rated as one of the top ten luxury trains in the world. This train provides all the comfort you require and covers the main destinations in Rajasthan starting from Delhi to Jaipur, Jaiselmer, Jodhpur, Ranthambore, Udaipur, Bharatpur and finally finishing off with the splendor of the Taj in Agra on the final day. The itinerary is of a week and well recommended.
Suggestion Routes to Agra India
How to Reach Agra by Air
The best way to get to the city by air is by flying the scheduled flights from Delhi or Jaipur. Flying from any other city would mean a halt at Delhi airport is sure.
How to Getting Agra by Train/Rail
Common Routes to Reach Agra by rail
The most recommended and convenient way to travel by rail is by the Bhopal Shatabdi Express departing from New Delhi in the morning and back by the same at night. A little budgeted one is the Taj Express departing from Hazrat Nizamuddin in Delhi.
If time is a limit and you wish to cover both Agra, and Jaipur within a couple of days, you can start from Delhi by the Shatabdi to reach Agra by 08:30 AM IST. You can have the whole day for sight seeing and get on to the evening train .i.e., the Sealdah Ajmer Express coming form Calcutta to Ajmer in Rajasthan, would take you to Jaipur departing from Agra Fort station at 06:25 PM IST. It would take almost 4hours hours before reaching at Jaipur by 10:20 PM IST in case there is no delay. If this suits you just fine, it is recommended that you first visit the Taj in the morning and take time to explore its splendor. You can follow it up with an afternoon sight seeing to Itmad-ud-Daulah else, you can go shopping. Since the Ajmer express leaves from the Agra Fort Station, very near to Agra Fort, you can visit the fort in the evening before hoping on the train.
Coming from East or West to Reach Agra by Trains
If you wish to come directly from Calcutta in the East to Agra, then the same train going up to Ajmer can be boarded from Sealdah in Calcutta and you can get down at Agra by evening. The other train that can be recommended is the Howrah Jodhpur Express. Both these trains arrive and depart from Agra Fort Station near the massive red sandstone Fort of Agra. There are other trains, few of whom connect Kolkatta to Delhi via Agra but the experience on travelling in them may disappoint the traveler. In case you wish to come directly from Mumbai by Rail, there are a number of them but the two which run on all days and are decent to travel on are the Amritsar Express and Punjab Mail that also acts as a link between Agra and Punjab, which is further up North in India.
How to Reach Agra from Lucknow, the State Capital of Uttar Pradesh
Travelling from the state capital Lucknow which is further east, the most convenient and recommended is Rail. There are few buses which may take many hours and the ride may get tiresome. If you go by air, be sure to halt at Delhi. A number of trains run between Lucknow and Agra, but the most recommended is the Lucknow-Agra Intercity Superfast Express which departs Lucknow at 3:45 PM IST in the afternoon and takes almost 6 hours to arrive at Agra Cantonment by night.
Railway Routes to Agra for Coming from the South India
Travelling from South India, if you wish to reach Agra directly, there are a number of trains from Bangalore, Mysore and Vishakhapatnam/Vizag but the most recommended is the Chennai Rajdhani Express which saves time and at the same time provides decent meals on board and to add, the hygiene too is good. But travelling by train from far off places such as Bangalore in the South, Mumbai in the west or Calcutta in the east is time consuming simply because of the distance.
How to Reach Agra from Varanasi or Khajuraho
Two destinations which are relatively near to Agra and famous among Travelers, Tourists and Backpackers are Varanasi and Khajuraho. They are placed such that flight available is via Delhi and buses are few and hard to find. To rent a car would be expensive and extremely tiresome, since when driving between such destinations it is not always sure you would be on a National Highway and State Highways may not be that great an experience in terms of a drive on the road. There are a number of trains that run from Varanasi to Agra but the most convenient would be to hop on to the night train that departs from Varanasi at approximately 10:00PM in the night and arrives Agra at the fort station by 10:00 in the morning. It connects Central India to the western part of India continuing towards Gujarat, and is known by the Bsb Okha Express. If you wish to be at Agra earlier, then you can get on to Marudhar Express, which departs from Varanasi at round 5:45 in the evening, and arrives at Agra Fort Station by 06:00 in the morning. The connectivity from Khajuraho however, is not that great. The Khajuraho Nizamuddin express is the only train one can board from Khajuraho to get to Agra. It departs from Khajuraho at round 06:15 in the evening and arrives at Agra Cant at 2:20 in the morning which could be inconvenient for many to arrive at such odd time. It must also be noted that this train runs on specific days of the week only, such as Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Mahoba is the next railway station close to Khajuraho at a distance of roughly 70 kilometers. One may find few more trains departing from here to Agra.
Reaching Agra By Road Transportation
Agra is most convenient to travel from Jaipur or Delhi by road and the National Highways provide a wonderful opportunity to get a good feel of the countryside while driving through the rural parts of India. You can hire a rented car else you can also choose the State Transport bus services, which are