Agra in One Day: The Perfect Itinerary

View over the rooftops of Agra Fort. Agra Fort is a recommended stop on a one day visit to Agra.
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Your India trip includes a short one day visit to Agra for the iconic Taj Mahal. Agra has more to offer than just the Taj Mahal. Don’t miss out. Read on to learn what sites you should visit and how in our perfect one day Agra itinerary.

Agra in One Day

1. Taj Mahal Sunrise Visit

Start your one day visit to Agra with the crown jewel – the Taj Mahal. Mughal emperor Shah Jahan had the Taj Mahal built as a tomb of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Now an iconic image of India, the Taj Mahal should not be missed.

Read our complete guide to visiting the Taj Mahal to ensure a successful visit.

2. Breakfast & Reenergize

Next up, breakfast! You will be hungry after your Taj Mahal visit. You have several choices depending on your mood. If breakfast is included at your hotel, you can return there. For a light bite, the ubiquitous Cafe Coffee Day is just outside the East Gate. For a huge breakfast buffet that will see you through to dinner, go to the Oberoi just a short walk from East Gate. Alternatively, to continue your enjoyment of the Taj Mahal many hotels and restaurants in the area offer rooftop breakfast with a view of the Taj Mahal. We recommend checking reviews first. Many trade on their view, rather than the tastiness of the food.

3. Hire a Tuk Tuk

For the afternoon activities, hire a tuk-tuk. The going rate in March 2019 was 500 rupees for a half day. You may need to bargain for this rate. Agra is known for scamming tourists.

4. Agra Fort

Jahangiri Mahal at Agra Fort. Agra Fort is a recommended stop on a one day visit to Agra.

Agra Fort is an imposing red sandstone walled fortress that was the main residence of Mughal emperors until 1638. The red sandstone fortifications and structures were primarily built under Akbar the Great. When Shah Jahan was emperor, he left his mark with his signature white marble buildings. Shah Jahan spent the last eight years of his life imprisoned in Agra Fort by his own son, Aurangzeb. Legend has it that he spent each day looking mournfully at the Taj Mahal, which is visible from Agra Fort.

Entrance fees: Foreigner 650 rupees / Indian 50 rupees. Kids under 15 FREE.

Early stopping point: Taj Mahal and Agra Fort are the top two sites in Agra. If your time is short, you can end your one day visit to Agra after these two sites and still leave satisfied. It’s really up to your travel style and energy level. If you are still feeling fresh, let’s keep going!

5. Tomb of Akbar in Sikandra

Akbar was the third Mughal emperor and greatly expanded the Mughal empire. As you travel through Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan you will hear his name again and again. Should you fancy a visit to his tomb, you can travel 4km outside of town to the neighborhood of Sukindra.

Akbar loved his red sandstone and his tomb is no different. The tomb is made from red sandstone and white marble with inlay work and geometric patterns.

Entrance fees: Foreigner 310 rupees / Indian 30 rupees. Kids under 15 FREE.

Optional extension: The Tomb of Akbar is an optional extension. With younger kids, I would skip it. The 4km trip in a tuk-tuk is about 30 minutes each way. If you do decide to go, it will increase your tuk-tuk fee by about 250 rupees.

5. Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah (“Baby Taj”)

Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah or "Baby Taj" in Agra, India. The tomb is a recommended stop on a one day visit to Agra.

Itamad-ud-Daulah, born Mizra Ghiyas Beg, was Mumtaz Mahal’s grandfather and Emperor Jehangir’s wazir (chief minister) and father-in-law. His tomb is often called the “Jewel Box” or “Baby Taj.” His daughter commissioned the tomb, which was built between 1622 and 1628.

The Baby Taj is tiny compared to the Taj Mahal, but you can still see how its design influenced the Taj Mahal. First, this tomb was the first one to be built along the banks of the Yamuna River. Second, it was the first Mughal building built completely from marble (and white marble at that!). Third, it has loads of pietra dura (inlay work) and intricately carved marble jali screens.

My favorite part of the Tomb of Itamad-ud-Daulah is the garden. At the time the tomb was built, forty-four Mughal gardens lined the Yamuna riverfront. Using Mughal-era miniature painting, the garden has been lovingly restored to reflect “Paradise on Earth.” My favorite part is how the tomb is set at the center of the four garden water channels. At the Taj Mahal, you’ll notice that the whole garden is in front of the mausoleum.

Entrance fees: Foreigner 310 rupees / Indian 30 rupees. Kids under 15 FREE.

6. Mehtab Bagh for Sunset Views of the Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal photographed at sunset from Mehtab Bagh with orange and yellow flowers in the foreground. Mehtab Bagh is a recommended stop on a one day visit to Agra.

The final stop on your one day visit in Agra is Mehtab Bagh. Mehtab Bagh is the second remaining Mughal garden of the forty-four that lined the banks of the Yamuna River (the other being Itimad-ud-Daulah). Legend says that Shah Jahan used to view the Taj Mahal from these gardens, especially on moonlit nights when the reflecting pool perfectly reflected the Taj Mahal. More importantly for tourists, it lies directly across the Yamuna River from the Taj Mahal.

Mehtab Bagh offers excellent, unobstructed, crowd-free views of the Taj Mahal any time of day. Our favorite time is about one hour before sunset when the light is beautiful for photographs. The traffic is also the worst at this time of day when tourist buses empty their travellers.

Entrance fees: Foreigner 300 rupees / Indian 25 rupees. Kids under 15 FREE.

It is also possible to skip the entrance fee and head down the road to the river. This will give you free views of the Taj Mahal, but the angle will not be as good for photos.

Mosquitoes: Bring some insect repellent if you visit Mehtab Bagh in the evening. Mosquitoes like the damp riverbanks.

Where to Stay in Agra

If your budget allows it, the most luxurious hotel in Agra is The Oberoi Amarvilas Agra. Each of its rooms has Taj Mahal views and electric golf carts whisk you to the East Gate.

We stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott Agra and highly recommend it. The staff was excellent, the outdoor pool was refreshing, and kids under 8 eat free in the restaurant.

No matter your budget, Agra has accommodation to match. Use the search below to find Agra accommodation for your Taj Mahal visit.

Booking.com

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