Agra Life and Visitor Travel Tips
(Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India)
A city with landmarks of epic proportions and famous the world over, tourists travel to Agra from every part of the planet. However, to be sure that you really make the absolute most of your holiday in Agra, do be sure to always use your commonsense and try to act a little streetwise.
Some of the main things to remember when visiting Agra include bargaining hard, avoiding touts, not visiting shops recommended by taxi drivers, tip at your discretion, avoid unofficial travel agencies, and always try to visit the Taj Mahal as early as possible, before the crowds descend. Travellers visiting Agra will find that a great way to sightsee is to hire an auto rickshaw for the day. If possible, do try to end up at the back of the Taj Mahal, where the sunsets and views from the river bank are particularly outstanding.
Useful Contact Details
Tourist offices and travel agencies are a good place to further your knowledge of the area, although always stick to official outlets and use only those that belong to an accredited association, such as those listed below.
Foreigners' Regional Registration Office
Address: Fatehpur Sikri Road, Agra, India, IN
Tel: +91 0562 226 9563
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 10:00 to 16:00
India Tourism Office
Address: 191 The Mall, Agra, India, IN
Tel: +91 0562 222 6378
Featuring a range of brochures about attractions all over India. This is also a good place to find an official guide to Agra.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 09:00 to 17:30, Saturday - 09:00 to 14:00
UP Tourism Office
Address: Agra Cantonment Train Station, Agra, India, IN
Tel: +91 0562 242 1204
A further branch of the UP Tourism Office is located at 64 Taj Road (Monday to Saturday - 10:00 to 17:00), while the branch at the Agra Cantonment Train Station is a good place to contact the local tourist police and also offers a service outside of the main hours.
Open hours: daily - 24 hours
Main Post Office
Address: The Mall, Agra, India, IN
Tel: +91 0562 222 6437
The 'post restante' service at the post office is not recommended.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 10:00 to 18:00
Language and Dialect
The official spoken and written languages in Agra and throughout Uttar Pradesh are both Hindi and Urdu, although most people involved with the tourism trade will be able to speak English at some level. Bring a pocket-sized phrasebook if you intend to communicate with the locals in Agra in their own tongue. Basic Hindi phrases are shown here.
I do not understand
- mai nahii samajta hu
Where can I find...
- kahan milenge...
Please write it down
- zara likh dijiye
- shamma kare
Dos and Don'ts, Advice and Scams
- Animal Performances - roadside performances by various animals are aimed at tourists, often featuring dancing bears and monkeys. These animals are usually poorly treated and watching them only supports this practice
- Auto Rickshaws - if an auto rickshaw driver stops at a specific shop, make it clear that you are not interested and have no intention of leaving the vehicle. They are simply expecting to receive commission from the shopkeeper, when you pay their inflated prices
- Banks, Cashpoints and Currency Exchange - the main banks are located at Chhipi Tola Road, Fatehabad Road and around the Sadar Bazaar
- Children Peddlers - when children approach you in Agra and try to sell you their wares, make it clear that you are not interested. If something does take your eye, buy it when you are leaving, otherwise it is that likely they will follow you around whilst you sightsee
- Gem Import Scam - naive tourists in Agra may be persuaded to pay good money for worthless gems, expecting to be able to sell them on for a good profit to non-existent representatives in their home country
- Hotels - don't worry if your Agra hotel is not close to the Taj Mahal, since bus transport is good and travel here on a regular basis
- Internet Access - Internet cafes can be found on the Taj Road and also along Fatehabad Road, while the main hotels also feature computer access, which is usually charged per hour
- Left Luggage - secure lockers are available at the Agra Cantonment Train Station and also at the Yash Cafe at the Taj South Gate, close to the Taj Mahal itself
- Photographers - when visiting prominent landmarks in Agra, expect to be bombarded by photographers taking your photo and then trying to sell it to you. Do not feel pressured into buying something that you don't actually want. If you do agree, they will often take many more photos than you agreed an then try to sell you a complete album
- Tourist Guides - many unofficial guides and touts around Agra are only after their commission and many will offer to take your photograph outside landmarks, such as the Taj Mahal, and then offer to take you to a workshop, restaurant, marble emporium or gift store, where you often feel obliged to spend your money. Avoid these people at all costs
- Visiting the Taj Mahal - if possible, visit Agra's famous Taj Mahal complex as soon as possible after it opens, from 06:00 onwards. This is the time when it is at its least crowded and you will be able to take the best photographs, particularly when there is a good sunrise