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Places to Visit and Things to Do in Agra in One Day Only!

Updated: Jun 20

If I could hazard a guess, you are one of the 8 million people per year who are planning to visit the Taj Mahal. Am I right?


Well, if you're heading all the way to the city of Agra, you're probably looking for other things to do and places to visit there, too.


In this travel guide, we will go over how you can spend one day in Agra, which if you ask me, is more than enough time to spend in one of India's not-so-pleasant cities.


Agra is loud, polluted, hectic, and a little bit hostile. The stray dog situation is the saddest I have ever seen in India, the poverty levels are quite shocking, and petty crime is high compared to many other parts of the country.


So why bother?



CONTENTS




 


About The Taj Mahal


To tell the truth, I wasn't that fussed about seeing the Taj Mahal initially, architecture isn't really my thing, and I was well aware that it had been built off the backs of about 20,000 slaves and 1000 elephants.


However, I am so glad I went. I was blown away by its beauty, it really exceeded all of my expectations!


The details in the carvings, the symmetry, the Taj Mahal really is magnificent! It is the most beautiful tomb I've ever seen anyway! It was built at the behest of Shah Jahan in the 17th century, to pay tribute and house the body of his favourite wife Mumtaz. She died at the age of 39 whilst giving birth to her 14th child. Yikes!


So are you wondering if a trip all the way to Agra is worth it just to see the Taj Mahal?


Well yes, it is, and that is coming from someone who was not that excited about seeing it in the first place.



I Dream of Mangoes at the Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal


 

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How to Visit the Taj Mahal without a Guide


The ticket booth to the Taj Mahal, which is just outside the gate, opens 45 minutes before sunrise - so I recommend being the first one there. This means you will need to book accommodation nearby (more on that later) for the night before.


I would suggest getting to the ticket booth 1 hour before sunrise, and I wouldn't worry too much about safety as this area has a lot of security. You will probably be one of about 50 keen beans ready to beat the crowds to the Taj Mahal and believe me, it is a POPULAR place – so heed my advice and get there early!


It is at the ticket booth you will likely get accosted by people offering their guiding services, this is not necessary but entirely up to you.


Entry to the Taj Mahal is a whopping 1100rs for foreigners (For visiting the main mausoleum of the Taj Mahal - you have to pay an additional 200rs). For Indian nationals, it's MUCH less, but this is the norm. Otherwise, local people would be out-priced by their own country's attractions. I've never had a problem with paying more for things like this.


The Taj Mahal is open from 6am – 6:30pm every day excluding Fridays. You can expect to spend about 2 hours walking around, taking pictures, and enjoying the immaculate gardens.


That brings you until about 8am, so what about the rest of your day?



The symmetry of the Taj Mahal
The symmetry of the Taj Mahal

 

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Other Things to Do and Places to Visit to Fill Your One Day in Agra



8am - SHOPPING


Shopping at 8am? Sounds a bit silly right? But no, outside the Taj Mahal, you will find countless stores selling beautiful hand-carved marble, these are really stunning pieces, I bought a jewellery box and a candle holder as gifts for family back home. If you would like to shop here, be prepared to haggle hard.



 


9am – BREAKFAST + CHAI


In the smaller streets surrounding the Taj Mahal, there are lots of small local restaurants where you can get delicious breakfast and chai, probably for less than £1.



Chole Bhatura can be eaten any time of day!
Chole Bhatura can be eaten any time of day!

 


9:30 am – AGRA FORT


It is possible to walk 2.5km from the Taj Mahal to Agra Fort as I did - but getting a rickshaw or UBER is also a good option.


The only place I've ever seen a rickshaw driver use their meter is in Mumbai - so there's no point arguing with them to turn it on, no matter what you read online.


Just make sure you agree on a price before you jump in and that you have the correct change. This length of a journey should cost something in the region of 150rs. If you cannot be bothered to haggle, Uber will do!


It is best to visit Agra Fort before it gets too hot! Agra Fort is a 16th-century fortress made of red sandstone, and it is something special. I would highly recommend grabbing an audio guide (headphones) on your way in. It gives you a lot more context to understand and appreciate the beautiful architecture that you're looking at.


For foreigners entry is 650rs, and I would allow 2 hours to visit. Agra Fort is open from sunrise to sunset every day.



Agra Fort
Agra Fort

 


11:30am – AGRA FORT TRAIN STATION


Okay so this is not actually a tourist attraction, however, if you are planning to leave Agra by train the following day, you can nip in here to book your tickets, as it is right next to Agra Fort.


We came here after visiting the fort to book tickets to Jaipur – unfortunately, they only had general class left for the 4-hour journey, which turned out to be one of the most memorable experiences of my entire time in India! If you have not taken an Indian train in general class before, you must do it at least once... you will not believe your eyes!



Train carriage India
Our train carriage before chaos ensued

 


12:30 pm SHEROES CAFE


From the fort area, you can get a rickshaw to Sheroes Cafe, which isn't too far from the Taj Mahal, which is one of the best places to visit in Agra.


Sheroes Hangout is run by women who are victims of acid attacks, often at the hands of their own families. It was opened in 2014 and has been empowering female survivors ever since.


Your visit will start with a video explaining the personal stories of the staff- which will probably make you cry, and they are very used to that reaction. After you recover, you can order food, chill, read books, and spend your tourist pennies


The food is not the best, but the ambience is great and the support you're showing these strong and inspirational women is priceless.


Sheroes is open every day from 10am to 10pm



Sheroes Hangout Agra
Sheroes Hangout

 


2:30pm - Nap


It's hot. This would be the time I would sneak back to my hotel for a siesta!



 


5:30pm – MAMA CHICKEN MAMA FRANKY


This is called a 'typical Agran street food venue' – and if you're a foodie, this is one of the best places to visit in Agra. There is nothing typical about their chicken tikka wraps. You literally can't miss this place, and you will know what I mean as soon as you see the signage!


You can find it in Sadar Bazaar, open every day from midday to midnight. Just do it, you can thank me later!



Mama Chicken Mama Franky
That's one happy customer!

 


6:30pm - SADAR BAZAAR MARKET or DRINKS AT THE OBEROI


The great thing about going to Mama Chicken Mama Franky is you'll be right next to Sadar Bazaar, one of the best markets in Agra.


Sadar Bazaar is one of the most famous markets for shopping in these parts, and you can find pretty much everything. Handicrafts, sweets, spices, leather goods... and even if you do not want to buy anything, walking around is an experience in itself.


The early evening is the perfect time to explore Agra's markets. Before doing so we were warned quite sternly by our guesthouse owner to BE CAREFUL on the streets, as Agra has a bit of a reputation crime-wise, being especially bad for pick-pockets.


So long trousers, valuables tucked away, bags switched to the front side, on our merry way. Oh and ELBOWS OUT LADIES (want to know why? Read my article on Travel Tips for India)


At one point during our visit, when we were shuffling down the market's tangled alleyways, we got stuck in a bottleneck of mopeds and people, nobody could move it was so jammed.


I was starting to panic, feeling a little bit claustrophobic, and trying to hold on to the back of my friend's t-shirt so we didn't get separated. At that moment, when it seemed like a disastrous crowd crush was just beginning - a huge cow came striding through the middle of the sea of people, using its horns, it picked up a man by his trousers and flung him to the side of the road, and knocked over several mopeds. IT LITERALLY PLOUGED THROUGH without a care in the world, creating a vacuum that allowed me and my friends to quickly follow the cow out of the human whirlpool.


If this does not sound like your kind of fun, skip the mayhem and head to the bar of the Oberoi Hotel for a sundowner whilst watching the sunset over the Taj. The Oberoi is one of the fanciest hotels in Agra, but you do not need to be a guest to enjoy the bar area (drinks cost a pretty penny though).



The Oberoi Hotel Agra
The Oberoi Hotel, where you can nip in for a drink in the bar and admire the grounds.


 


8pm – GO HOME OR GO TO MOLECULE


Agra's streets are no place to be after 8pm, especially for us girls, so this is when I would advise your self-imposed curfew to take place. If you are a night owl and you're not quite done, head to Molecule Bar – Agra's only super-trendy high-end cocktail rooftop bar. This place is seriously cool, just be careful if you're going out late, please! Stay in a group of at least 3, do not get shit-faced, and have pre-arranged transport home.



 


Where to Stay in Agra


There are lots of affordable accommodation options in Agra which can be found on booking.com.


I have been to the city a couple of times, the first I went with 5 friends and we booked the cheapest room available. It was a room with 5 beds pushed together and nothing else – not even mattresses – the sink and the shower didn't work either. We paid £4 per night for that (between 5 of us) – I won't lie it was pretty vile but the owner was lovely and waited up for us each evening to make sure we were okay.


On the second visit I 'treated' myself to a private room near the Taj Mahal for £8 per night. It was comfortable enough!



Our super budget room in Agra
Our super budget room in Agra

 


Getting to and moving on from Agra


Agra is only 4 hours from New Delhi - which is likely to be your starting point. You can take a UBER for about 5000rs (£50) – or preferably you can grab a train. They run quite frequently so we did not need to book in advance – just check the times on RailYatri and rock up to New Delhi Railway Station (NDLS).


Agra has two main stations, Agra Cantt and Agra Fort – and both are very well connected by rail to other major cities in north India, including Jaipur and Varanasi, which is ideal for continuing your North India travel. Check out my 1-Month North India Itinerary here!



 


I hope this gives you some ideas for places to visit and things to do if you only have one day in Agra! If you think there is something super-cool that I have not included, please hit the comments.


I don't think I will go back to Agra, twice is enough for me, and as I said in the beginning, it does not represent the magic of India very well.


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If you're looking for more India travel tips, here are some other articles I have written:



Happy Travels

xx



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I Dream of Mangoes is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which means that if you purchase anything from Amazon.com through this site, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This is the only way I make any money through my travel blog, so I appreciate all of your support! That being said, I only link to products I use and love.

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