While Northern India is filled with incredible things to see, there is none more famous than the Taj Mahal. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the white marble exterior of Taj Mahal easily makes it one of the most iconic structures in the world, and it makes for a great day trip from New Delhi.
Unlike many countries, most foreign tourists don’t come to India for its major cities; they come for the tourist attractions in and around Agra, which is one of three destinations on India’s tourist Golden Triangle. From the main building itself to the baby Taj, there are loads of touristy things to see in Agra city.
Where is Taj Mahal in India?
Taj Mahal is located in the city of Agra, which is a bit more than 100 miles southwest of Delhi. It is in Northern Central India.
To get to Agra, you can take either a car, bus, or train. Depending on your circumstances, one option may be better than another, but there is a clear worst choice! Many international tourists opt to do a Taj Mahal Day trip from Delhi, which is very doable via most of these forms of transportation.
What Is Taj Mahal?
Without spoiling too much that you will learn on your Taj Mahal tour, the Taj Mahal is a tomb complex that was built to honor Mumtaz Mahal, the wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The complex is filled with beautiful gardens and reflecting pools, and everything leads up to the main building in the center of the complex. The stunning white marble and iconic dome are what most people recall when they think of the Taj Mahal, but the lush gardens are a true highlight as well.
The Taj Mahal is one of the seven Wonders of the World, and it is easily one of the best places to visit in all of India. While the main city of Agra itself doesn’t have much to do, the Taj Mahal complex more than makes up for what the city center lacks.
Train to Agra
In the majority of cases, the best way to get to Agra from Delhi is by train. The train is by far the fastest option connecting these two cities, and the tickets are very affordable. You can expect to pay about $10 USD per person for an economy ticket from Delhi to Agra, and the trip takes about two hours. The fastest train can make the trip in as little as an hour and 40 minutes, while others take closer to two and a half hours. In either case, the train is significantly quicker than either the bus or hiring a driver, and the price is pretty hard to beat.
Different Classes of Train Travel to Agra
If you want to travel luxuriously, a good option is the Gatimaan Express. This luxury train links the railway stations in Delhi and Atra and provides exceptional service while on board. Obviously, the price of the Gatimaan Express is much higher than the cost of economy train tickets, but it is supposed to be a great experience if it is within your budget. For a more affordable ride, you might opt for the New Delhi Habibganj Shatabdi Express or the Taj Express, still arrive in under two hours.
How to Get to the Train Station in New Delhi
New Delhi Railway Station is accessible by both the orange and yellow lines of New Delhi’s metro system, making it incredibly easy to catch your train. If you are coming straight from Indira Gandhi International Airport, you can take the Airport Express metro line to New Delhi station, which is where New Delhi’s main train station is located. From the New Delhi Airport, the trip is only three stops and about 15 minutes.
Arriving in Agra by Train
Once you arrive, Agra Cantt Train Station is located about 4 miles from Taj Mahal. The best way to get from the train station to your hotel is simply by calling an Uber or hailing a taxi, and the ride should only be about 15 minutes or less depending on where your hotel is located.
Which New Delhi Train Station Do You Use for Trains to Agra?
It is very important that you read your train ticket carefully to make sure you go to the correct station in New Delhi. There are two major train stations, and they are located over 5 miles apart. New Delhi Railway Station is the main train station in New Delhi, and this is likely where your train will depart from. This station is accessible by both the orange and yellow subway lines. However, Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station also services trains coming in and out of Delhi, and it is located in the southern part of the city. While the main trains by Indian Railways tend to depart from New Delhi Railway Station, it would be a good idea to check your ticket before heading to either one.
Drive to Agra
If you have a larger group or a lot of luggage, you may opt to hire a private car instead. Despite the relatively short distance between the two cities, the drive from Delhi to Agra takes anywhere from 3 to 5 hours. This is due mostly to traffic, as the highways are generally very good in this part of India.
To avoid the traffic, it is highly recommended that you leave Delhi in the early morning. Delhi has some of the worst traffic in the world, and this is on full display if you try to exit the city during daylight! We left at 7pm and it took almost two hours just to exit the city. Once we made it out of Delhi, the trip flew by.
While hiring a private driver might be costly in some countries, it is pretty affordable in India. By the time it was all said and done, we paid about $200 USD for a driver to take our group of 10 people to Agra and back, including an overnight stay.
Bus to Agra
If you don’t want to take a train and you can’t afford to hire a private driver, you may choose to take a bus from New Delhi to Agra. This is by far the worst option, as the travel time on a bus will likely be more than 5 hours, which is more than double the duration of the train ride. There are regular bus services that run each day, but there is simply no need to take the bus when the trains are so convenient and their ticket prices are so affordable.
Can You Fly to the Taj Mahal from Delhi?
Agra does have its own airport, but it is very small. Flying from Delhi to Agra is not worth the time, effort, or money. A direct flight will cost significantly more than the train and take longer. Even worse, many flight options even include layovers. If you are coming from further away, you may consider flying to Agra. However, if you are already in Delhi, the train is by far the fastest way to travel.
Which Taj Mahal Gate Is Better?
The Taj Mahal has two main gates for tourists: the East Gate and the West Gate. Some sources will say that one is better than the other, but in our experience, they are both pretty much the same. You will have to walk a fair distance from either one to get to the main area anyway, so I just recommend going to the entry gate that is closest to where you are staying.
We wanted to catch a sunrise at the Taj Mahal, and we read that the West Gate was the best gate for this. Unfortunately, even though we arrived at 6am, the sun was already up and there were already large crowds. If you want to catch a sunrise at the Taj Mahal, be sure to arrive at the gate as early as possible and pack according to the regulations on the official website.
Should You Get a Tour Guide at Taj Mahal?
One hotly debated topic is whether or not you should hire a tour guide when visiting the Taj Mahal. I would recommend hiring a guide if you are really interested in the history of the complex, as there is truly a lot to learn. However, if you are more interested in just seeing the complex and admiring its beauty, skip the tour guide.
There will be guides and shops lining the road the entire way to the entry gates. If you want a guide, just hire one off of the street there, as they will be much cheaper than most options that you will find online and still be very knowledgeable.
That’s all we have for you about traveling to Agra from New Dehli!
Are you headed to Agra soon? Comment your plan below! We would love to hear about your plan and answer any questions you may have about your trip.