Mughal Gardens and Rashtrapati Bhawan

#1 Jan 15th, 2013, 13:55
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  • zanyguy is offline
#1
Hi,

Need some advice. I am travelling to Delhi & Agra this February and have one day in between. My plan is to visit the Mughal Gardens and the Rashtrapati Bhawan. However, I will arrive at Delhi Airport only by 11 and hence wanted some clarification:

1. How much time does it take on a typical Saturday to cover the distance between the Airport and the Mughal Gardens?

2. How much time would be required at the least to cover the Mughal Gardens?

3. I have an option of booking online a visit to the Rashtrapati Bhawan (which includes the Museum and Garden Routes). Will I be able to cover both if I reach there by 12? It seems the visit times there are between 9 and 4 pm. Will 4 hours be enough for both?

4. I am travelling with my one year old son - are there facilities inside where we can sit to feed him, change his diapers, etc.?

5. Do I need to take a permission if I visit only the Mughal Gardens? Or can I buy a ticket and enter?

6. There are some other gardens within the bhawan - the long garden, cactus garden, etc. Are these accessible if I take the ticket?

7. Can someone recommend a good driver who will take us to these places and then onward to Agra and back? We are spending 3 days in Agra. What are the rates for an Innova or equivalent?

Many questions, but I did not want to spend insufficient time in the Garden, and did not know of anyone who has been there. Also, I could not find the answer in other threads.

Thanks in advance,

Zany.
#2 Jan 15th, 2013, 14:03
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  • vaibhav_arora is offline
#2
Some of your questions are answered here: Query about visiting Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Specific comments on:

1. That's tough - I'd say an hour. Depends on the fog actually. It's been very bad since yesterday.
2. Couple hours of leisurely walking should do it.
4. No such facilities. It's actually a very strictly controlled walkway that you'd be walking along. All the gardens - rose, cactus, etc are along a single walking path only.

Regarding your three days in Agra, if you dont mind the hassle, taking a cab to and fro the train station in delhi and then a local cab in Agra will be cheaper certainly. Namaste India gets recommended here a fair bit. If you take a cab for all three days, then ask them to take you via the new expressway (it's tolled but a better road through and through).

-Vaibhav
#3 Jan 15th, 2013, 14:06
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  • aarosh is offline
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What are your plans for the 3 days in Agra?
Kedar Janani Devasthan, Mt Abu - Udaipur, Bharatpur, Agra, Gwalior, Orchha, Jhansi,
Satara

Of course I speak to myself. I need expert advice sometimes.
#4 Jan 15th, 2013, 14:08
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#4
Dear Vaibhav,

Thanks for the prompt reply!

I checked the other thread and your reply there too. But I already know the booking process. I wanted some idea on how much time it takes to cover both.

I always prefer taking a local cab. Not just its cheaper, but they know the local area very well. But, as I am travelling with parents and kid, would prefer to book a cab from Delhi. Do let me know if you have used any good ones.

Thanks,

Zany.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vaibhav_arora View Post Some of your questions are answered here: Query about visiting Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Specific comments on:

1. That's tough - I'd say an hour. Depends on the fog actually. It's been very bad since yesterday.
2. Couple hours of leisurely walking should do it.
4. No such facilities. It's actually a very strictly controlled walkway that you'd be walking along. All the gardens - rose, cactus, etc are along a single walking path only.

Regarding your three days in Agra, if you dont mind the hassle, taking a cab to and fro the train station in delhi and then a local cab in Agra will be cheaper certainly. Namaste India gets recommended here a fair bit. If you take a cab for all three days, then ask them to take you via the new expressway (it's tolled but a better road through and through).

-Vaibhav
#5 Jan 15th, 2013, 14:24
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#5
Hi Aarosh,

My plan is simply to follow you Went through your informative travelogue and am planning to cover most of the places mentioned by you. In fact, that's the reason I am spending 3 days there!

My present draft itinerary is:

First day- Will reach in the evening and rest. If I get to leave Delhi early will cover Sikandra on the way to Agra. Go to Taj Khema for Dinner and see the Taj in in the night from there. Skipping the midnight visit as its not full moon when I go, and heard no to so good reviews of the experience.

Second day- See Taj Mahal in the morning. Post lunch go to Agra Fort and from there late afternoon visit Mehtab Bagh till evening.

Third day - Early morning boat ride on the river to see Taj and then after breakfast see Itmad-ud-Daula. Later leave for Fatehpur Sikri. In the evening rest.

Fourth day - leave after breakfast and cover Sikandara on the way back (if not done on the first day).

I know this is not the right thread, but pls do let me know your views!

Thanks,
Zany.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aarosh View Post What are your plans for the 3 days in Agra?
#6 Jan 15th, 2013, 14:40
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  • aarosh is offline
#6
Zany, would you be going back to Delhi after Agra?

I think you can include Itmad-ud-Daula on the 2nd day itself since you are going to Mehtab Bagh. It is on the same route.

I was a bit surprised that you wanted to spend 3 days in Agra. I have no issues with that. However I feel that you could spend one day in Bharatpur. It is around 40 kms from Fatehpur Sikri .

I know that you are traveling with an infant so you would be best person to decide.
#7 Jan 15th, 2013, 14:41
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  • vaibhav_arora is offline
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While Aarosh helps sort out your logistics Zany, I'd suggest that you consider including 'Dayal Bagh' in your trip as well. Amidst all the mughal iconography you'd see, it's a lovely and welcome change. You may either cover it after Sikandara, see this map link: http://goo.gl/maps/ETSwA or before you get onto the expressway (it's close to the Ring road / Yamnua expressway entrance from Agra).

We've not used a taxi from here to Agra so cant be of help there.
#8 Jan 15th, 2013, 15:45
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#8
Dear Aarosh,

Thanks for the inputs. My replies:

Quote:
Originally Posted by aarosh View Post Zany, would you be going back to Delhi after Agra?
Yes, I will be leaving to Delhi on the fourth day. Have to reach Delhi by evening that day. I have time uptil lunch on the Fourth day at Agra too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aarosh View Post I think you can include Itmad-ud-Daula on the 2nd day itself since you are going to Mehtab Bagh. It is on the same route.
Yes, I realised. But did not want to keep too much for one day. How much time does it take to cover Agra Fort, Itmad-ud-Daula and Mehtab Bagh together?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aarosh View Post I was a bit surprised that you wanted to spend 3 days in Agra. I have no issues with that. However I feel that you could spend one day in Bharatpur. It is around 40 kms from Fatehpur Sikri .

I know that you are traveling with an infant so you would be best person to decide.
Yes, I know. Everyone is telling me the same. But wanted to keep one day more just so that we can keep it relaxed. Same reason I'm skipping Bharatpur. It will take at least one half day for Bharatpur? I might go there seeing how much I'm able to cover in Day 1.

I will try covering Dayal Bagh as per Vaibhav's suggestions. Any other place I'm missing out which is a must see?

Also, wanted suggestions on local restaurants which might be good.

Zany.

Thanks Vaibhav,

I will try covering Dayal bagh. Any idea how much time does Fatehpur Sikri take?

Also, any good suggestions for drivers from Delhi. Even though you may not have taken one to Agra, I am sure any driver you recommend must have been there.

Also, any other source from where I can get info on visit to Mughal Gardens and Rashtrapati Bhavan?

Thanks,
Zany.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vaibhav_arora View Post While Aarosh helps sort out your logistics Zany, I'd suggest that you consider including 'Dayal Bagh' in your trip as well. Amidst all the mughal iconography you'd see, it's a lovely and welcome change. You may either cover it after Sikandara, see this map link: http://goo.gl/maps/ETSwA or before you get onto the expressway (it's close to the Ring road / Yamnua expressway entrance from Agra).

We've not used a taxi from here to Agra so cant be of help there.
#9 Jan 15th, 2013, 15:57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zanyguy View Post Yes, I realised. But did not want to keep too much for one day. How much time does it take to cover Agra Fort, Itmad-ud-Daula and Mehtab Bagh together?
2 hours for Agra Fort. Major portion of the fort is under the control of the Indian Army.

Around 30 minutes for Itmad-ud-Daula. Mehtab Bagh would depend since one is not allowed to be there after sun set. I would suggest wait till sun set there. So if I were you I would have seen Agra Fort in the first part of the day. Then I would have left for Itmad-ud-Daula at around 3:00 - 3:30 and from there move to Mehtab Bagh and leave from there after sun set.
#10 Jan 16th, 2013, 14:42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aarosh View Post 2 hours for Agra Fort. Major portion of the fort is under the control of the Indian Army.

Around 30 minutes for Itmad-ud-Daula. Mehtab Bagh would depend since one is not allowed to be there after sun set. I would suggest wait till sun set there. So if I were you I would have seen Agra Fort in the first part of the day. Then I would have left for Itmad-ud-Daula at around 3:00 - 3:30 and from there move to Mehtab Bagh and leave from there after sun set.
Thanks Aarosh! Only 2 hours! Hmm...then thinking of the following plan:

Morning 8 to 11 Taj. (late morning because of my son who won't get ready till then).

12 to 2 pm Agra Fort

4 pm to 5 pm Itmad-ud-Daula

5 pm onwards till sunset - Mehtab Bagh.

Seems doable... but lets see whether my son agrees or not

Thanks for everything. I have a few more questions on Agra, but will post them in the Agra Forum.

If anyone else has inputs on the Mughal garden visit, please help as some of my questions are still unanswered.

Zany.
#11 Jan 16th, 2013, 19:03
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#12 Jan 16th, 2013, 19:45
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#12
Dear Aarosh,

Many thanks for the link! Helped a lot, especially as the blogger also traveled with his baby! Yes, I've gone through the president's website. I've registered for the museum visit keeping 2 hours for the Mughal garden. Let's see if we can make it.

Thanks.
#13 Mar 4th, 2014, 12:29
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  • Vivek Pandey is offline
#13

Thumbs up The New Mughal Gardens!

Mughal Gardens is a must-see place but the season and day are very important. Feb-March when it is open to public is the best time. If you can avoid weekends it is better as the crowd is thinner. Prepare to walk about 2 kms and set aside couple hours
Most of us who have heard the name but not visited the place have a predictable set of expectations from the Mughal Gardens. Flowers, of course! Huge open green spaces. Maybe a spot to spread the sheets and laze off the afternoon. And opportunity to click our stupid faces with some awesomeness in the background.
Sipul drove us to the Mughal Gardens this Sunday. She is only 6 years so insofar as transport is concerned I drove them, but all the motivation came from her. Her teachers at Presidium School, PItampura were supposedly chanting the name of the place to them endlessly over a week, and God-knows what methods they use but they make the kids rant the same thing to the parents somehow. When we really (really) had it, we gave in.
Like a true internet dad, I spent some time researching and my research told me that it is a must see once kind of place with loads of transport and security related inconvenience. I prepared my wife for the worst and planned to park the car at India Gate and take an auto to the place as there is no public parking provisioned there. I had her switch of all mobiles and leave them behind along with our cameras. A post on another website woke me up to the hitherto unappreciated factoid that even electronic car keys can be a security no-no. So we took the car that had manual entry. Sipul gets tired easily so the plan was to do an in-and-out in two hours tops and then head to Connaught Place McDonalds for a sumptuous burger fest for lunch.
Rashtrapati Bhawan is a mini city; wikipedia tells me its the biggest house for a President in the world. It has numerous gates; Mughal Gardens is situated beyond Gate No. 35 of the Rashtrapati Bhawan. This gate is accessible via North Avenue and then Church Street. Easy to find through Google Maps. My intuitive wife had the idea to just have a look at the entrance area once before we proceed to India Gate. We did and were surprised!
North Avenue was completely transformed. It was choc-a-bloc with freely parked cars and ice-cream/balloon vendors. The road was overflowing with pedestrians. Sri Pranab Mukherjee, our President, had implemented a radical idea of making this part of his house completely open to the public. A no-parking zone was converted to one of free-parking and all kinds of vendors were given permission to do business in an erstwhile high-security area.
So we parked just 100 metres from the entrance. Of course, free also means free-for-all so finding a parking and manoeuvring the car was a headache, but still better than parking at India Gate and taking an auto.
The entrance queue was pretty long but fast-moving. There was a separate queue for people with luggage and we first got into that one mistakenly. A cop corrected us and I was sent to a "Gents" queue while my passengers were sent to the "Ladies" queue. Queue and frisking got quickly over in 5 minutes but the rush was completely unexpected. The sun was also pretty bright so it felt very hectic.
Then the walk began. It was no fun walking as the huge throng of people were moving at snail pace in a serpentine queue along a pre-defined very narrow path. The distance between us and the person in front was no more than 6 inches all the time! Still it was pretty well-behaved and disciplined crowd so despite the slow pace, there was no chaos.
The gardens are breathtaking. The first area we entered were the herbal gardens. It is more like an educational zone with lots of stuff written about the planted herbs. In such crowd and with Sipul by our side, we really didn't want to indulge our academic tongues. So we skimmed past that section.
We then came across the Bonsai plants. This was one was a beauty! We saw mini-Banyans, mini-Bougainvillaeas, mini-tamarinds and many more miniatures. Having Sipul read the names funny was a good time pass.
Following this came the vast fountain zone. The music was patriotic so not very entertaining. Plus in the daytime, without any lights, musical fountain was at 10% of its entertainment potential. However just watching the huge fountain with dahlias in the foreground was a pleasure.
Then came the Pièce de résistance, the central region of the park. Packed with dahlias, roses and Dutch tulips, the sight was once in a lifetime to treasure. I had never seen such a packed ensemble of colors in such a vast space. I can't describe it more in words, it is a must watch site. We couldn't relish it for long because of the crowds that the cops had to keep moving, but whatever we saw is enough to savour a lifetime.
Beyond the central region there is a very broad exit walkway lined with all possible varieties of roses on either side and some other colorful flora hanging from the sides and on the walls in places. As you exit the walkway, you come to another stunning piece of work. A large circular amphitheater kind of place, with a lake in the center and concentric circles upon circles of extremely pretty flowers. Crowds walk along the very narrow circumference of the amphi and finally exit on the diametrically opposite side.
Then we walked around for a bit and reached the same place from where we had entered. Just close to the exit there is a small playing area with few rides. Sipul would not leave the place without checking it out. So we obliged. She hopped around on the rides for a few minutes but finally the cops came and drove the crowds out as it was near closing time; we followed suit.
On our way back we stuck to our appointment with Mr. McDonald and finally made home by evening - our legs aching, our eyes soaked in colors and our minds full of respect for people who have left behind such beautiful legacies for generations to relish. Of course, Sipul gave her version of the story to her teachers the next day and we got a very satisfied call-back on our performance as parents.

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