The Government of India Tourist Office is at 191 The Mall (tel. 0562/222-6368; firstname.lastname@example.org; Mon-Fri 9am-5:30pm, Sat 9am-2pm). A 24-hour Tourism Reception Centre is at Cantonment Railway Station (tel. 0562/242-1204). Not as much on the ball, the U.P. Tourism Bureau is at 64 Taj Rd. (tel. 0562/222-6431; Mon-Sat 10am-5pm; closed second Sat of the month).
Getting There & Away
By Road -- Agra lies less than 4 hours away, on a good two-lane highway from Delhi. Many Delhi operators offer bus tours to Agra. If you don't mind being part of a bus tour, a good option is to take a day trip from Delhi with TCI; alternatively, hire a car and driver. Should you need to stop for refreshments, the Country Inn at Kosi, 99km (61 miles) from Delhi, is a good bet.
By Air -- At press time, the only flights into Agra are charters; it is unknown whether commercials flights (suspended several years back) will ever resume.
By Train -- The Bhopal Shatabdi leaves New Delhi at 6am daily, arriving at Agra Cantonment Railway Station (tel. 131 or 133 information, or 0562/242-0998 reservations) at 8am; it returns to Delhi at 11:05pm. Alternatively, you can catch the Taj Express, which leaves Delhi's Nizamuddin Station at 7:15am, returning to Delhi at 10:05pm (book the A/C Chair Car, which should run you just under Rs 300). The station has a prepaid taxi/auto-rickshaw service (Rs 50-Rs 150) to take you the 2km (1 1/4 miles) to downtown; you can also book a city sightseeing tour here. Note: Trains arriving from Rajasthan pull in at the Agra Fort Station. (If arriving from elsewhere, avoid inconveniently located Agra City Station.)
By Taxi & Auto-Rickshaw -- As is the case everywhere in India, make sure you negotiate your taxi or auto-rickshaw rate upfront (or use the prepaid facility). Hiring an air-conditioned car for 4 hours should run you around Rs 1,200, while a full day will cost upwards of Rs 2,000, depending on how far you want to go. Unless you're traveling to Sikandra or Fatehpur Sikri, an auto-rickshaw should suffice (avoid the shared auto-rickshaws, which although a fraction of the price are horribly claustrophobic with six others packed in like sardines). In an attempt to cut down on the air pollution that threatens the Taj, motorized transport is not allowed in the Taj Sanctuary area (2km/1 1/4-mile radius); walk or hire a cycle-rickshaw.
Uttar Pradesh Tourism operates city tours that cover all the major sights, departing from Agra Cantonment Station (it is timed to coincide with the arrival of the Taj Express); alternatively, you could ask them to pick you from your hotel provided it falls in the route taken for the tour. The tour usually starts at 10:15am, costs Rs 1,700, and covers the Taj, Agra Fort, and Fatehpur Sikri and includes all entrance fees, a guide, and transport by air-conditioned bus; book with the manager of Hotel Taj Khema (tel. 0562/233-0140; email@example.com). A recommended private tour operator from Delhi is TCI (504-505, New Delhi House, Barakhama Rd.; tel. 011/2331-5834 through -5838; www.tcindia.com). The TCI bus departs Delhi at 6am and returns at 10am, covering Agra Fort and the Taj, and costs Rs 2,000 including breakfast and lunch (at Taj View Hotel) and excluding entry fees. Traveling around with a tour group is far from the ideal way to experience the mystery and magical allure of the Taj however, and you shouldn't miss out on the full spectrum of great Agra sights, ie visit more than just the Taj and Agra Fort. Tallis & Company (tel. 0124/400-4458; www.tallisandco.com) specialize in customized tours to Agra (and Jaipur); prices vary depending on number of persons, type of vehicle and number of stops but their rates are very reasonable. If you're already in Agra on own steam, and just want a local guide, the intelligent and knowledgeable Rajiv Rajawat (tel. 98-3702-3601; firstname.lastname@example.org) is one of the best; book him before you even get to India, to ensure he is available on the days you'd like to use his services (Rs 2,000). Pitching himself more affordably is Sudhir Agarwal (tel. 94-1000-5896; email@example.com), who charges Rs 1,200 for the day, from 8am through 5pm.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.