I have to confess, I was not planning to go to Agra on this trip because I didn’t want to spend time in a place that I heard that was not really interesting just to see the Taj Mahal.
After my amazing week in Varanasi I went back to New Delhi because I had a flight from there to Hanoi, Vietnam in 2 days. I ended up staying at the same place that I stayed when I was in New Delhi for the first time, the MadPackers Hostel, although this time I didn’t engage in any activities like I did before with their tour.
We didn’t have any plans besides doing some planning on Hanoi, but as soon as we got to the hostel we saw that there were already 2 guys interested in going on a day tour with a private car to Agra for the Taj Mahal on the next day (not really a tour, just the transportation to there). I think it was something like 15€ per person for a driver for the whole day to go and come back from New Delhi to Agra, so we decided to take it.
When we met we decided to go really early on the next day, at around 4am to get there before the huge crowds, but that turned out the be a big mistake. The guy was there in time, but our trip was the scariest one that we had in our entire 3 month journey. We learned that these drivers work a lot of hours per day to get the highest amount of money possible, so what happens? Sometimes they will do long trips with just 1/2 hours of sleep or sometimes no sleep at all.
During this 3 hour trip I got really scared. The guy started to scratch his face a lot and eventually closed his eyes for about 3 seconds. That was when we tapped his back for him to wake up. He got off the car, spilled some water on his face, walk around for a little bit… It was hell, and at that point I would rather just stay there on the highway and sleep for 1/2 hours to rest a little bit, but we kept on going and eventually got there.
Once we got to the entrance the driver left us and went to get some sleep, I suppose. When you’re there it’s really easy and obvious about where to buy the tickets and get to the Taj from there. About the Taj itself?
The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum commissioned by Shah Jahan in 1631, to be built in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, a Persian princess who died giving birth to their 14th child, Gauhara Begum. It attracts 7–8 million visitors per year and in 2007, it was declared a winner of the New7Wonders of the World (2000–2007) initiative.
I am so glad that we took the decision to go there on a day trip because knowing what I know now, after seeing it with my own eyes, I could never forgive myself for not going there.
I think we spent about 2 hours in there and you can easily stay more to fully appreciate it. When we were done we also went to the Agra Fort but since we had visited already the Amber Fort in Jaipur we skipped it. However a strange thing happened to us in Fort entrance. When our drive came to pick us up, there was a random guy that asked him to stop by some reason… So what was our driver’s reaction? He just stepped on the gas and almost run over the guy. We might just had some bad luck with the driver, but this was crazy.
The journey back to New Delhi was a lot more relaxed. The last day we had there was all about doing nothing while planning some things for our arrival in Hanoi the day after.
How to get there and away
- We used a private car splited with another 2 guys to go and come back.
What to do/see
- Taj Mahal.
- Agra Fort.