Mother-In-Law’s First Trip to India: Visiting the Agra Fort, Taj Mahal & Akbar’s Tomb

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Mother-In-Law’s First Trip to India:  Visiting the Agra Fort, Taj Mahal & Akbar’s Tomb

Million Mile SecretsMother-In-Law’s First Trip to India:  Visiting the Agra Fort, Taj Mahal & Akbar’s TombMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Emily:  On our first day in Agra we had breakfast at the hotel and went to the Agra Fort.  It was still foggy, so we planned on visiting the Taj Mahal in the afternoon.  The Agra Fort is one of my favorite sights to see in Agra because it’s like stepping back in time.  I also enjoyed meeting the monkeys who now live in the fort.

A Day in Agra
At The Taj

Trip Report Index:

A Day in Agra
Connie Outside the Agra Fort

The Agra Fort is huge, and I love the Moghul architecture.

A Day in Agra
The Agra Fort

It was foggy that morning, which gave the fort a mysterious feel of old times’ past.

A Day in Agra
A Foggy Morning

I love the scalloped archways.  I wish more buildings had this decorative architecture.

A Day in Agra
Judi Inside the Agra Fort

After visiting the fort, we joked with Aunt Judi & my mom that we were going to see the Taj Mahal.  They were really excited to see it!

So we took them to the tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah and asked them what they thought of it!  My mom said it looked smaller in the pictures.  Then, we told them that we were at the baby Taj, and not the actual Taj Mahal.  It was funny to see the look on her face when we told her it was not the real thing!

A Day in Agra
The Taj or Not?

Afterwards, we went to see the garden behind the real Taj.  It was still foggy, so we couldn’t see much.  There is a river which separates the Taj from the garden.  But it was nice to get away from the crowds and walk behind the Taj.

A Day in Agra
Behind The Taj Mahal

The gardens were nicely manicured.

A Day in Agra
A View to a Taj

On the way back, we passed a family of monkeys!

A Day in Agra
A Family of Monkeys

After a busy morning of sightseeing, we went to McDonald’s for lunch.  We love seeing what different food the McDonalds in different countries have.

A Day in Agra
McDonald’s Menu

Notice the Spicy Range and McSpicy!

A Day in Agra
Spicy McDonald’s

We ordered McAloo Tikki burgers which are very good potato patty hamburgers.  We also ordered fries, a snack wrap, a liter of Mango juice (Maaza) and desserts.

A Day in Agra
Mazza and a McAloo Tikki Burger

Daraius and I always think it’s fun trying the McDonald’s everywhere we go.  I like European McDonald’s because of the croque monsieur and the Toblerone McFlurries.  Yum!

After lunch, we went to the Taj.

We had to first buy tickets at the tourism office which is about a 10 minute walk from the Taj entrance.

A Day in Agra
Buy Your Tickets Here!

There is a booking office where you buy the tickets.  The fee is higher for foreigners, but you get access to a shorter line (well worth it once you see the line for the cheaper tickets), bottled water & shoe covers which are required to wear on the white marble floors of the Taj.  You can also take off your shoes, but the white marble would be very cold to walk on!

A Day in Agra
Ticket Booking Office

Foreigners pay 750 rupees (about $14) for the Taj tickets and Indian nationals pay 20 rupees (about 40 cents).

A Day in Agra
Which Ticket For You?

Daraius’ family bought the cheaper tickets, then went back to buy the more expensive ones to get the “fast track” lane benefits.  The line for regular ticket holders snaked around and we thought they might have to wait for hours!

Daraius:  I was walking back to get the more expensive tickets when a young man who worked at one of the handicraft shops asked me if I wanted a ride on his motorbike to the ticket office.  It was a 10 minute walk each way, so I accepted after negotiating 100 Rupees (~$2) for the trip.  It was an exhilarating ride, with the cold wind in my face, as we weaved in and around people and barricades to get to the ticket office.

A Day in Agra
This is The Front of the Line!

Emily:  There are separate security screening for men and women.  We “foreign” ladies got through the line and security in about 5 minutes. We went at one of the busiest parts of the day, at 3:00 pm, when the fog had lifted and you could actually see the Taj.

A Day in Agra
Where Are You?

We wanted to go in the morning, but there was so much fog that it would have been difficult to see anything.  Once we got in, a group of schoolgirls wanted their picture taken.  They enjoyed practicing their English with me and were surprised when I said, “Tumara nam kya he?” which means “what is your name?”

A Day in Agra
Emily & The School Girls!

As we continued walking, we came upon the second entryway.  The building was made of beautiful sandstone, and was very well kept.  I loved the detail of the inscriptions written into the building and the colorful flowers inlaid in the marble.

A Day in Agra

As we went inside the entryway, we were suddenly greeted with a beautiful view of the Taj.

A Day in Agra
Our First Glance at The Taj

It was like we had stepped into a beautiful dream!

A Day in Agra
The Taj Mahal

Daraius found a photographer as we walked into the Taj.  He came around with us to take pictures.  It cost $1.30 per picture and we got the digital images as well.  There are lots of people who do this, so it will be easy to find someone.

Daraius:  There are lots of photographers who will come up to you.  This was my 3rd visit to the Taj, and I was curious to have some good photos of us taken.  The photographers know the good spots to take pictures (you can also find them by seeing where people congregrate for pictures), but work (read: hustle to get you next in line) to get you seated in those coveted positions as well.

I could have bargained more and got the price down a bit more, but I felt that 70 rupees for the print and digital image was worth it and I wanted to reward our entrepreneurial photographer who got some good pictures for us.

A Day in Agra
Business is Good

Emily:  The sight of the Taj was awe inspiring and I can see why it is one of the seven wonders of the world.

A Day in Agra

We went around with our photographer and took lots of pictures.  After a group shot, he asked Daraius to pose behind me. 

A Day in Agra
Daraius & Emily

We then got a picture with me, my mom, and Aunt Judi. 

A Day in Agra
At the Taj

Daraius and I got one more shot together. 

A Day in Agra
Daraius & Emily at the Taj

My mom even posed for the fun shots, where you look like you’re holding the Taj by the top, ready to pull it off. 

Daraius:  I think these shots are silly, but…

A Day in Agra
A Day in Agra

Emily:  After several pictures, we continued on our tour.  The sun was starting to go down and we still had a lot to see! 

A Day in Agra
Sunset by the Taj

When you walk on the white marble you’re required to remove your shoes or wear booties.  I was lucky that I didn’t have to take off my shoes—the marble was so cold!  And the booties were quite the fashion statement. 

A Day in Agra
Emily’s Booties!

The line to see the tombs inside was very long, but the higher priced tickets get you access to the much shorter line. 

A Day in Agra
Line to Get Inside

But it was dark inside and there isn’t much to see, so you can skip this part if you’re running out of time.

A Day in Agra
Behind the Taj

After roaming the Taj, we got some decorative umbrellas on the side of the road along with mini Taj Mahals. 

A Day in Agra
Judi Shopping

We browsed some more souvenirs. 

A Day in Agra
Emily Shopping

After shopping, we went to dinner at KFC – these quick meals were just what we were in the mood for since it was cold and we wanted to get back to the hotel and go to bed.

A Day in Agra
KFC in Agra

The menu included the regular staples, and also some spicy “curry” chicken.

A Day in Agra
KFC Menu
A Day in Agra

Daraius ordered the curry chicken, which was fried!  He then put more spices on top.

A Day in Agra
Curry Chicken

They also had good, but messy brownies! KFC was nice and warm inside the restaurant and we weren’t looking forward to our unheated hotel.

The next morning, we drove back to Delhi.  On the way, we stopped at Sikundra to see Akbar’s tomb.  Akbar was the third Moghul and regarded as the one of the best Moguls.

We went early in the morning and it was very ethereal to see the looming mausoleum against the thick fog.  We approached the first entryway. 

A Day in Agra
Akbar’s Tomb

We then walked to the tomb. 

A Day in Agra
Akbar’s Tomb

It was very beautiful, and I admired the intricate carvings on the structures. 

A Day in Agra
A Tomb

After visiting Akbar’s tomb, we continued on our way and  the driver stopped at a tourist shop for tea and snacks.  The food and handicrafts were outrageously expensive, so we didn’t buy anything.  The drivers likely received a commission for sales at the shop, so we left in 5 minutes and asked the drivers to stop at a little shop on the side of the road which had chips, biscuits, and chocolates for much less.

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It looks like an exciting place to visit! I loved the photos as well. Check also Kerala Family Tour Packages

Great article with good insights. It will help people who are planning to go to Agra.

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Very well written and informative blog with amazing pictures. As you know that Taj Mahal is symbol of Love and one of the Seven Wonderful things in the World. Agra Day Tour packages gives an opportunity to explore Agra on Same Day Agra Tour by Car, Same Day Agra Tour by Train from Delhi.

Nice post. Agra is a beautiful place to travel in India. Taj Mahal is famous attractions to visit in Agra. It is also famous as a Seven wonders of the world.

great post, may i ask where/what hotel you stayed in in Agra? or what part of town you recommend? cheers

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