Journey to the Fabled Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, Splendors of the Mughal Imperial Age
Day 1: Bharatpur / Agra
This morning, transfer to the railway station and board the train to Bharatpur. Following your three-hour rail journey, you are met by your local guide who accompanies you on the drive to Agra, which you'll reach in time for dinner this evening. On arrival, check in to your accommodation, the Courtyard Agra.
The city of Agra attained fame as the capital of the Mughal empire during the 16th and 17th centuries. Agra flourished under a series of emperors who attracted artisans from Persia and central Asia, and the city is still famous for its handicrafts such as inlay work on marble, woven carpets, jewelry, zari and embroidery. Yet it is Agra's architectural monuments that draw the greatest renown. Supreme among them is the Taj Mahal, Emperor Shah Jahan's tribute to his immortal love for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in childbirth. Considered one of the seven wonders of the modern world, the Taj Mahal is India's most exquisite example of Islamic architecture, revered by many as the most elegant building in the world.
Day 2: Agra—Taj Mahal & Agra Fort
Rise early this morning to experience the Taj Mahal by the ethereal light of dawn, followed by a guided sightseeing tour. To see the sunrise at the Taj Mahal is magical, when the smooth white marble gleams rosy-pink in the gentle morning rays (weather permitting) and photography conditions are superb. Standing regally on the banks of the River Yamuna, the Taj Mahal manifests the apex of Mughal art in its exquisite architectural details, interior painting and calligraphy, and elaborate gardens, embodying the wealth and luxury synonymous with the imperial age. Construction took 22 years, requiring the labor of 20,000 men and a thousand elephants. An icon to romance, the Taj Mahal has captivated the imaginations of travelers and writers since it was completed in 1653. The English poet Sir Edwin Arnold called it "the proud passions of an emperor’s love wrought in living stones."
Later this afternoon, tour magnificent Agra Fort, the locus of Mughal power until the imperial capital was moved to Delhi in 1637, and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its maze of courtyards, mosques and luxurious private chambers captures the wealth and prestige of the empire during its heyday. Following your tour of the fort, return once again to the Taj Mahal to view the monument bathed in the golden glow of sunset.
Day 3: Delhi / Depart
This morning is at leisure, followed by a half-day drive to Delhi. On arrival check in to the Trident Gurgaon, where private day rooms have been reserved through the evening. Later tonight you are escorted to Delhi’s international airport for flights home.
Please Note: The Taj Mahal is closed to visitors on Fridays. Should your extension fall on a Friday, you will still have a morning and afternoon visit to the monument, but they may be scheduled on a different days. We do our very best to work around this restriction, but it cannot be completely avoided over the course of our entire India safari season. Please also note that as of April 2016, the Indian government has begun comprehensive conservation work, including cleaning and repairs, on the Taj Mahal. This work requires that there will be scaffolding covering various components of the monument as the work progresses, as well as mud on portions of the dome, and it is expected to take a minimum of two years to complete. However, all four sides of the Taj Mahal are identical, so it is likely that visitors will still get excellent views and photos of the iconic facade.
Physical Rating: Easy