Agra Journals

Agra - home of the Taj Mahal

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An August 1998 trip to Agra by Amanda

Taj Mahal Photo, Agra, India More Photos
Quote: Agra is most famous for the Taj Mahal - one of the most popularly known and beautiful buildings in the world. The town itself is pretty horrible, but don't let that stop you visiting this most perfect of buildings.

Agra - home of the Taj Mahal

Overview

Quote:
The Taj Mahal is the highlight of Agra, let there be no mistake. In fact, it’s one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, and changes its facets through the day, which makes it worth a visit more than once to appreciate the changing colours and aspects. It's wonderful, as good and better than all the pictures you'll have seen of it. Fatehphur Sikri, a nearby planned town, is a fascinating day trip from Agra. Built as a planned town, it was abandoned after only 15 years or so, and remains as it was built, still complete and absolutely fascinating. The Agra Fort is an impressive building, standing proud and red on the bank of the river. It’s a great contrast and compar...Read More

Shanti Lodge

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Hotel

Quote:
This hotel is a great place to stay. It's cheap - £1 for a double room with a bathroom - and comfortable. It doesn't have air-con, but it does have fans in the ceilings. The owner is helpful, friendly, and speaks English. The rooms vary in size and quality - ours was lovely but the one we saw next door wasn't as nice though the same price. Ask to see your room before you pay, and they'll show you a nice one!

The roof-top has a great view of the Taj Mahal, and you can get breakfast served to you on this roof terrace. I liked this hotel a lot.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 9, 2000

Shanti Lodge
Taj Ganj
Agra, India 282001

Clarks Shiraz

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Hotel

Clarks Shiraz Photo, Agra, India
Quote:
We booked two rooms at the Clarks Shiraz hotel from Clarks Varanasi, and they sent a car to pick us up from the airport. The hotel is one of the bigger Clarks, with some 300 rooms, and slightly cheaper than the Varanasi hotel at 2,100 Rs / room / night. My room had twin beds, a TV with BBC World, an armchair, desk and chair, wardrobe, bedside tables, and a bathroom with bath and shower. The airconditioner had 3 settings, and there was also a fan. The room had dark green curtains and bed covers, pale green carpets, and cream walls, and was a pleasant place to stay. The hotel had services available – same-day laundry, shops, travel centre, bank, air-line offices (Indian, Jet, and Lufthansa), ph...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on September 30, 2001

Clarks Shiraz
54 Taj Road
Agra, India 282001
(0564) 22 61 21

Clarks Shiraz Murghal Restaurant

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Restaurant

Quote:
The main restaurant in the Clarks Shiraz hotel is on the 5th (and top) floor of the building, with a great view of the Taj Mahal during the day (the building is not lit up at night, so you can’t see it then.) They serve 2 kinds of food – Murghal and "continental", which is vaguely European food. The restaurant is large, with room for perhaps 60 diners, and one long side of the room is all windows, with the great view. On the other long side is a platform, from where Indian Classical music is played during the evening. The room is decorated in different shades of red, mostly dark, which gives it a cosy feeling in the evening, and makes it feel a bit like being inside the human body during the day. ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 3, 2001

Clarks Shiraz Murghal Restaurant
54 Taj Road
Agra, India
(0562) 226-121

Taj Mahal

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Attraction

Taj Mahal Photo, Agra, India
Quote:
You've seen this building a million times in photos and drawings, but nothing can compare to the sight of it in real life. Agra is a nasty city. It's hot, polluted, and suffers from power shortages, sickness, aggressive touts, pollution, and noise. This throws the Taj into even greater relief, as an oasis of calm and beauty. The building is set in a large expanse of green lawns, and it is a beautiful, tranquil place to be even before you get to the Taj itself. We sat for a half-hour in the gardens before our first visit, just relaxing, enjoying the view, and preparing to get closer up. The building itself is beyond words. Inlaid all over its vast surface with precious stones, it glistens from a distan...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 9, 2000

Taj Mahal

Agra, India

Fatehpur Sikri

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Attraction | "Fatephur Sikri"

Fatehpur Sikri Photo, Agra, India
Quote:
This town was planned and built from scratch in the 16th century. Houses and facilities for 40,000 were built. Unfortunately, the architects didn't access the needed amount of water, and there wasn't enough available for the town to thrive, so it was abandoned after only a few decades. As a result, the town is now a perfectly preserved 16th century location, and well-worth a day trip. Most of the city is built of a red stone, that appears to be sandstone. Parts of the city are well-maintained with polished floors and inlaid walls, and other buildings are crumbling away. The contrast makes it a fascinating place. The first building you come to on arriving is the mosque. This was a mu...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 10, 2000

Fatehpur Sikri

Agra District, Uttar Pradesh

Getting yourself to the sights in Agra

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Story/Tip

My mother with a taxi Photo, Agra, India
Quote:
Travel in Agra is cheap, but the potential for being ripped off is huge. Taxis and rickshaws mostly have meters, but they are always "broken", and cycle-rickshaws never have them. What you therefore have to do is negotiate a price before you set out – should anyone say "as you like", this is your cue to determine what you like – if you accept it and give what you think is reasonable when you get there, a huge argument will ensue.There is a travel centre in the Clarks hotel, that will organise and book taxis for you, to and from the airport, Taj Mahal, the Fort, or Fatephur Sikri. The car we had was modern, and not an Ambassador, with a quiet engine and good suspension. The cent...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 30, 2001

Power in Agra

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Story/Tip

Quote:
The electricty here goes off at the drop of a hat. There seemed to be cuts of about 5 hours a day, at irregular intervals, for unknown duration, and frequently! A torch is very useful here, as you can find yourself half-way through a shower, or brushing your teeth, and need light to finish off. One annoying thing about this, but there's nothing you can do, is that the fans go off when the power does. This means rooms can get hot very fast! One consequence of this power shortage is that food can be very dangerous. Never eat anything in Agra that suffers if the fridge or freezer goes out.

Food in Agra

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Among travellers, this town is a byword for stomach trouble. I ate a totally veggie diet in India, but in Agra I caught Salmonella from a vegetable curry, as did the friend I was travelling with. Take it from me - Salmonella is a horrible bug, and the (considerable) weight loss isn't worth it! It wasn't just us - we met many other people who were careful about food, and didn't eat meat, and were fine all around India and then got ill in Agra. Be very careful about what you eat, and this is a town where it's worth paying more and going to more expensive places, in the hope that the hygiene is better. Another food thing to watch out for in Agra is the mineral water. While we were w...Read More