It was a simple rainy day in August 2022. I was in my office when my brother-in-law called me to book train tickets for Firozabad.
Actually, he was just starting out goods trading business and wanted to visit some manufacturers in Firozabad.
There were no direct trains to Firozabad from our home town Ranchi. So, we decided to go via Kanpur.
However, I didn’t have any plans to visit Tajmahal. Because I was really upset about losing my wife a few months ago. I was going with my brother-in-law just for his help and giving him company.
But, my brother-in-law told me if we get spare time then we can try to visit Agra.
Actually, we have only one and a half days in Firozabad and we both knew it was not possible to go to Agra on this hectic schedule.
How we reached Firozabad
I booked tickets for Kanpur in the last week of October. Arrival time of the train was 12 PM at Kanpur junction. We thought of getting a state bus from Kanpur to Firozabad which is around 235 kilometers.
But the real problem started when our train reached Kanpur four hours late. We reached there at 4 PM.
The state bus stand was half an hour away from the railway station. However, we rushed to the bus stand but we reached there at 5 PM due to the heavy traffic.
We got the bus and the NEVER ENDING BUS JOURNEY started.
The bus driver was driving the bus max 50-55 kmph of speed. You can imagine how much time it will take to cover the distance of 235 kms.
I knew this bus journey was going to be so boring and really it was one of the worst bus journeys for me after my Ranchi-Siliguri journey which was around 16 hours in a Knackered bus.
I was also worried about the hotel because we didn’t book any hotel online and Firozabad is a small town where finding a hotel at late night is not so easy.
I started searching for a hotel online and got numbers of some guest houses. I called them and one of them responded, he has a vacant room. I asked him to engage that for us.
Now, I felt a bit relaxed that I don’t have to roam at late night there in search of a hotel room.
We reached Firozabad at 10:40 PM.
Thanks to Google Maps which was showing the guest house was within walking distance from the bus stand.
Before sleeping in my bed I was thinking about the whole fatiguing journey and especially the never-ending bus journey.
Our Next Day in Firozabad
Next day, we first went outside for our breakfast. We didn’t find any good restaurant so decided to eat Chole Bhature in a street side small restaurant.
After having our breakfast we were ready to go to the manufacturers.
Again Google Baba helped us in finding the manufacturer that we had already planned to visit.
The location was 7 kms away from the city center so we got a shared auto.
Auto dropped us at the highway and our destination was around 1 kms away from there. So we got eleven number bus (walking) and finally reached the destination by 11 AM.
But, due to the festive season, the managers did not come till that time.
Finally, after one and a half hours they came and we locked the deal.
Now, it was 1:00 PM.
We were hungry. We decided to go back to the city center and have lunch.
Hopefully, we arrived there by 1:30 and had our lunch, Rajma Chawal at the same roadside restaurant.
How We Reached Agra
We have our train from Tundla junction (the nearest junction 15 kms away from Firozabad) to Ranchi at 10:15 AM tomorrow.
So, we have time to visit Tajmahal but the problem is we have to return to Tundla before 10:15 AM tomorrow which is around 27 kms away from Agra Cant station.
So, I searched for the next-day trains from Agra to Tundla and by god’s grace I got one Lucknow Jn. InterCity SF Express comes at 7:12 AM at Agra Cant and arrives at Tundla at 7:28 AM.
As it’s an intercity express we don’t need to pre-book the tickets however, I booked online through IRCTC app.
Now, we are ready to go to Tajmahal. We rushed to our hotel room checked out in a hurry and ran to the bus stop.
We got a bus within 15 mins.
We reached Agra at 3:00 PM.
Now we have to search for a hotel near Agra Cant station. I Googled and get one hotel that is showing Oyo hotel however after visiting we realized it was under construction.
We were very tired and couldn’t walk to another hotel so we asked them if any room is ready to stay.
They agreed and gave us a room for 1000 rupees. In Firozabad the same room we got is just 450 Rupees. That’s the influence of a touristic place.
If you go to Agra, I recommend you to pre-book your hotel because you will get good quality rooms for less than what you pay on the spot booking.
Also, try to book your hotel near Tajmahal, why, let me tell you below.
Agra Cant was not a big station for passengers. It is mostly used for loading and unloading goods. So, you will not find a good restaurant there.
And, it is 3-4 kms away from Taj. If your stay is near to Taj you will get multiple benefits like good food and lodging due to touristic impression.
After getting fresh we take a nap and around 4:30 PM we are ready to visit Taj.
We hired a shared Tuktuk who charged us 30 rupees per person and it took almost 30 minutes (there was a high-traffic area near Taj) to reach Tajmahal gate.
At the front of the gate, we encountered hawkers selling use-and-throw shoe covers. Actually, you need it when you go to the Taj’s museum and inside the main building.
They just told me that it needed to go inside, not into the building so we bought 2 for 40 rupees. Later, we realized they scammed us because the same shoe cover was selling for just 5 rupees around the ticket counter.
By the way, we went through the path and I got a glimpse of Taj from behind the trees.
I was really excited to see one of the 7 wonders of the world.
At the ticket counter, there was a huge rush, and there was really no chance to get tickets. Somebody said the entrance will be closed at 6:30.
However, ASI (Archeological Survey of India) which takes care of Tajmahal, has an online ticket booking website, that you can open by scanning the QR code given near the entrance.
But, the problem is, they installed mobile signal jammers there.
I sent my brother-in-law to the ticket counter cue and tried to scan QR and pay for the tickets online. Either way, we want to try to get tickets because next day we had train at morning.
Here is the link to ASI’s ticket booking website where you can book your tickets in advance.
For gods grace, I got signal at one corner of the ticket counter and booked tickets.
There are two types of tickets for Tajmahal. One which is 50 rupees allows you to visit the premise except inside the building and mausoleum.
Another one is included building and mausoleum but you have to pay additional 200 rupees.
So, I decided only outside visit, and booked tickets for 50 rupees each.
Keep in mind, it needs your Adhaar number if you are Indian and your Passport number if you are a foreigner to book tickets online or offline.
For the foreigner’s ticket charge is around 1100 rupees.
Finally, we were waiting in line at the Tajmahal entrance.
How Was My Experience in Front of Taj
After security check, we entered the premises of Taj. First, we encountered the Great Gate (Darwaza-i rauza).
This was huge, as from the name.
We entered that gate and then the Tajmahal was visible in front of my eyes.
The sky was clear hence the sun’s rays were falling directly on Tajmahal. That’s why the colour was golden yellow hue.
As I was getting closer to Taj, I was thinking why its called one of the seven man-made wonders in the world.
The architecture of the premise and the building itself were telling us about its uniqueness and greatness.
I went right side of the Taj where I saw the river Yamuna which was tranquil in pair with the Taj.
I saw some foreign tourists there, talked to them about Taj, and got their thoughts on Taj.
I was amazed to hear, visiting Taj was their dream that comes true.
Their mindset shows us how foreigners are crazy about Tajmahal.
The sunset was going on and Taj was slowly changing its color from golden yellow to bluish-white.
Throughout our visit, I kept taking photos and videos of Taj and the people around.
Some people, especially foreigners and children were going inside the mausoleum.
Actually, I am not so interested in history but in culture so I didn’t buy the tickets for the mausoleum.
Now, it was 7:15 and the last exit time is maybe 7:30. So, we started walking out to the premise.
And, I was thinking about how we planned this all in only 10 minutes at Firozabad and finally visited Taj after so many hurdles.
It was really an amazing experience to visit Taj. But, we didn’t have time to visit “Agra Fort” which was also a great place to visit in Agra.
Maybe next time I will try to visit there along with Tajmahal and this time I will plan this trip in advance.
So, that’s the story of my unexpected and sudden visit to Tajmahal, Agra.
Let me know in the comments about your experiences with Taj.
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See you soon in the next blog post with a new trip story. Till then goodbye, and take care.