Most visitors make the journey to the Taj from Delhi, the closest major city to Agra. Agra is well connected to Delhi by several trains. The Gatimaan Express is the fastest and most reliable, getting you from Delhi to Agra in just under two hours. Alternatively, various tour operators offer bus trips to the Taj from Delhi, or you can hire a private driver if you’re prepared to shell out some extra cash for the convenience.
In the dead of night, we arrived in Agra after a four-hour journey from Delhi. The roads, devoid of the daytime bustle of heavy trucks, made way for the creaks of rickshaws, the scratching of broom bristles cleaning night dust from driveways, and the shuffle of merchants setting up food stands. As Agra slowly awoke, we watched city life gradually coalesce around the scramble of tourists that the morning light brings.
A deep blue sky cradled the impressive outline of the Taj Mahal in the distance. Standing in line at the Taj with almost exclusively locals and nationals, we felt the dewy air wrap around us as the doors to the complex opened.
Auto rickshaws are the cheapest and most adventurous way to get around, or taxis are also readily available. Prepaid auto rickshaw and taxi booths are found outside the Agra rail station. Remember to negotiate a rate before your ride when flagging down rickshaws and taxis on the street. If you’re planning to do a lot of exploring in the area, it may be worth it to hire a car and a driver for either a half or a full day.
Suddenly, there it was, illuminated in glorious morning sunlight, surrounded by an incredible complex of mosques and Mughal architecture. As we stood there in genuine awe, it was impossible to take a photo for many moments because, really, no photo can do it justice.