NEW DELHI AND AGRA TRIP, Büşra Nur Tarhan | 26.02.2016

New Delhi, being one of the most crowded cities in India, is surprisingly more organized and cleaner compared to many of the lesser populated cities. If you decide to visit this evergreen and noisy metropolis, you should give it at least two or three days.

When you are planning your accommodation in New Delhi, keep in mind that you will probably want to make a visit to the Taj Mahal in the city of Agra. If you wish, you can stay in New Delhi for a couple of days and visit the structures that were the inspirations for the Taj Mahal, then visit this great monumental tomb at the end. Alternatively, you could see the Taj Mahal first like we did in a trip that seemed like an adventure and then see New Delhi afterwards. In short, seeing the Taj Mahal is a must once you have gone as far as New Delhi.

If you rent a car that has an air conditioning (you may ask for help from your hotel for this) and are able to get on your way very early in the morning, it's possible to make it to Agra and back in a day. This is probably the most comfortable way to visit the Taj Mahal. Agra isn’t really a place suited to stay in besides its two remarkable hotels. I think most people would agree that the only structure worth seeing in Agra is the Taj Mahal; this alone is definitely worth the boring 4.5 hour ride each way. If you set off after the sun has come up and get stuck in the heavy traffic, you may find yourself accosted by threatening beggars, monkeys that will not get off your car, and troubled by the sight of extreme poverty which will certainly make the trip memorable.

Taj Mahal, one of the most important symbols of India, is considered one of the seven wonders of the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built in the 17th century in memory of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s wife, who was lost during childbirth. For this reason it is seen as the largest and most beautiful monument built in the name of love. The Taj Mahal, which bears the hallmarks of the influence of Sinan the Architect’s apprentices on its design and is considered one of the most important examples of Turkish-Islamic architecture, can be seen from many points in Agra.

After seeing the Taj Mahal, spending enough time there to fully enjoy your visit, you will arrive back at your hotel in New Delhi late in the evening in your hire car. The fact that the hotel is beautiful, clean, and comfortable will make you really happy after each day you spend in New Delhi. Of course it depends on exactly how fussy you are, but staying at a reputable hotel may really help make your trip a happier one.

There are such beautiful sights to see that you will have heard of before coming to the city such as Jama Mosque, Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort, Qutb Minar, Akshardham, Guardwara Bangla Sahib, and the Lotus Temple. It is wise to check which of them are closed to visitors on which days before making your final plans... I should also remind you of a few extra details: Because you can’t enter some of these attractions wearing shoes, you should bring paper slippers or bootees, or at least make sure you're wearing socks. If you do not wish to carry extra items, they can be bought at the entrances. The prices in museums and other attractions are astonishingly different for tourists and local people, as is the case in many places in India. For example, a 10 INR entry ticket will set you back 250 INR simply because you are a tourist, and haggling in this situation is not an option.

Instead of walking between these historic sites you should use rickshaws. Experiencing the crazy New Delhi traffic on a rickshaw is essential, with the added bonuses that these vehicles transport you for very low prices and help you save energy in the hot weather. Before getting on the rickshaw of your choice you can tell them the place you wish to go to and haggle with them. You won’t be able to drive the price too much lower – they are so cheap to begin with – but you should still know how much you will pay before you set off. New Delhi is very crowded, incredibly noisy, but is still a place that is relatively easy to travel in. You can make a deal with one of the rickshaw drivers to take you around for the whole or just half a day. If you are brave enough you can choose to use the subway as well; the network reaches everywhere.

You may have heard the names of many markets and shopping malls in New Delhi; however, almost everything you can find in them is exported so you can probably find them in your own country. I preferred to just check out a few shops that caught my eye while going around town and pick up any extra items at the very nice airport stores. This way you may save quite a lot of time.

Have a great trip.

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