Agra - other than Taj & Fort

#1 Nov 12th, 2007, 01:37
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#1
I have been lowering any expectations about Agra and realize that I probably have no regrets about not getting there during my previous 6 months of travel in India. Will see Taj and Fort but want opinions on other sites. I do alot of photography and love architecture.

Previous day I will have been to Fatehpur Sikri and probably seen Taj from east looking back across river.

I am considering a counter-clockwise loop starting at Taj, going east of river, then to Sikanra, and back to Fort.

1) Fog - Plan on getting to Taj well before sunrise (which will be about 07:15, and moon will have already set so I know will be dark). How likely is that there will be fog in mid-January and if so any guess as to when it starts to burn off? Is the fog pattern from the previous day a good predictor of what fog might be like the following day?

2)Expect that by 10:30 I will head to east side of Yamuna river to Itimad-ud-Daulah’s Tomb and then a little further north to Chini-Ka-Rauza. These are rarely mentioned on this forum. Are they worth it? I understand that getting across river on two-lane bridge can be really slow, but someone mentioned without much specifics that one can catch a boat across the river for 50Rs - any more detailed info. please?

Since I am considering heading north on east side of river is the bridge crossing on highway 2 faster - this would put me close to Dayal Bagh Temple?

3) What is sometimes mentioned is "There is an amazing Radha Soami temple presently being built, they are working on the dome at present. The white marble carving is quite amazing as it depicts fruits and vegetables, it is a shrine for the tomb of Seth Shiv Dayal Singh, known as Param Sant Huzur Soami ji Maharaj 1818 - 1878. It is not a tourist place but if you take it quietly they will let you view the building. Its called the Dayal Bagh Temple on Dayal Bagh Road."



4) Sikandra to visit Akbar’s mausoleum. Then back to Fort by late afternoon. Is the Fort less crowded about 16:00 until sunset (as opposed to earlier in the day)?

Is there something you would add or delete from the above?

Thanks for any advice.

=====
Indiamike.com has been great. I am not surprised that Agra has its own sub-forum because of Taj, but it seems that most people just want to race through Agra and it seems that 70% of the ?s are about Taj and Fort only. Since I will be going there to catch a night train to Varanasi I will "see Agra" but it is not the place I am most excited about, so maybe I will not be disappointed!
#2 Nov 12th, 2007, 02:15
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#2
other stuff:
"Baby Taj" or Itimad-ud-Daulah is on the way to the view of the TaJ itself from toe other side of the river.

Akbar's tomb in
Sikandra is well worth a look as well
#3 Nov 12th, 2007, 13:49
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#3
Baby taj (Itimad-ud-Daulah’s) is well worth a visit it is often better to go before the Taj Mahal. The way there is really hard work at the moment. They say it is better to go by Auto as the get through the traffic better. It is near here that you can see the taj from across the river.

Sikandra for me is outstanding I love it. It is peaceful there are deer and monkeys really worth a visit. Though Akbar is my favourite emperor so visiting his tomb would be special. It is on the Delhi-Agra road so a little far if you are not driving.

There was always a boat but I haven't been in a couple of years down there so not sure. Standing facing the Taj Eastern gate turn right follow the road down the side of the Taj you will reach river side if the boat man is not there someone will find him. Not sure you will get it for 50 INR anymore but could try.

I have heard of the Temple you are talking about but I have never seen it.

Fort is much quieter in the afternoon but it starts to close so depending on the time of year go early enough to allow 1 1/2 hours.

I think your philosophy works well, people are never more disappoint than when they expect too much. In fact it is expectation which causes disappointment!
Hope this helps,

Candyji

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#4 Nov 12th, 2007, 14:01
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Dayal Bagh is a must see attraction of the area..it is being developed as a tourist attraction..

Construction started around a 100 years back and would last another 100. Just imagine a building under construction for 200 years !!
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#5 Nov 12th, 2007, 14:04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Candyji View Post Baby taj (Itimad-ud-Daulah’s) is well worth a visit it is often better to go before the Taj Mahal. ...
Sikandra for me is outstanding I love it. It is peaceful there are deer and monkeys really worth a visit.
I'm the second for Sikandra and Baby-Taj. Love both places. If you're going to Fatehpur-Sikri - you can visit Sikandra on your way back to Agra, it gives you a rest after the hot dusty Fatehpur-Sikri and the road. As for Baby-Taj - the road is in really bad condition, but the place is charming and make a great contrast to Taj-Mahal.
Past the point of no return...
#6 Nov 12th, 2007, 22:15
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#6

Some itinerary ?s and other Agra ?s

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edor View Post I am considering a counter-clockwise loop starting at Taj, going east of river, then to Sikanra, and back to Fort.

1) Fog - Plan on getting to Taj well before sunrise (which will be about 07:15, and moon will have already set so I know will be dark). How likely is that there will be fog in mid-January and if so any guess as to when it starts to burn off? Is the fog pattern from the previous day a good predictor of what fog might be like the following day?
Thank you all for clear and excellent answers. While it is never good to "overplan" for India as she likes to create her own order for you, I still have a few remaining ?s.

1) Above - any idea about likelihood of fog in mid-January? I certainly hope that if there is fog that it would burn off significantly by 09:00. This would allow for the counter-clockwise loop I hope to do.

Doing Baby Taj (as one person suggested) prior to Taj would seem to involve me in a lot more travel and back tracking and given the traffic in Agra is probably not a good idea. So unless someone can suggest a different sequence for all the "experiences/sites" in my OP, I will probably exp. the Taj fog or no-fog as it is offered to me very early in the morning.

A) On prior day coming from Jaipur and after seeing Fatehpur Sikri will see if I can also get to Sikandra. When does it close? LP guide says dawn to dusk.
This great website shows key times for major cities - this is key information for a photograhper or anyone who loves the play of light:
http://www.gaisma.com/en/

Agra
Date Sunrise Sunset Length Change Dawn Dusk Length Change
Today 06:35 17:28 10:53 06:11 17:53 11:42
+2 months 07:09 17:42 10:33 00:20 shorter 06:44 18:07 11:23 00:19 shorter

So IF India uses "official" definitions of dawn & dusk; sunset 2 months from now will be at 17:42 and dusk is at 18:07.

B) Time in late afternoon on a Friday from Fatehpur Sikri by taxi
To Sikandra - I expect this is about 60 minutes?

To Baby Taj - I expect that this is at least 90 minutes?

C) In different thread I had asked about:
Is Sound and Light at Fort worthwhile?
Any suggested restaurants very close to Fort area for dinner?

D) Am I correct that travel time by bus from Jaipur to Fatehpur Sikri is about 4.5 hours? I'd hope to get there by 12:00 leaving Jaipur by 07:00.

Thanks for any additional advice - as usual the people on this forum are wonderful in cutting the learning curve for those new to an area in India.

Edward
#7 Nov 12th, 2007, 22:37
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#7
Hi Edward,

Good chance of thick fog in Agra still in mid Jan but if you pray to the earth maybe your day will be good. If it is foggy. I am afraid it often doesn't lift until 10am. But it allows for a mysterious picture.

Jaipur to FS is yes about 4 1/2 - 4 3/4 hours by silver line semi deluxe. Only problem is it will drop you at the highway junction. From here you either have to get a tonga (poor donkeys) or a jeep to the site it's not far just a big pain.

An express blue line bus may go into the town but not worth the discomfort to be honest.

Not sure where you will find a car in FS but if not there are always loads of jeeps. If you get a car from FS to Sikandra you should scream it in, in that day. It closes at Sunset which in Jan with fog will be anytime from about 3.30pm but the sight should be open till about 5pm.

A word of warning for anyone about sunset at the Taj there are loads of trees now in the sunset direction so the sun drops off the Taj long before the sun does in fact set. So make sure you allow an extra 45 mins at any time of year.

Sound and light can't help you with I'm not a big fan of them they are always too cheesey. No restaurant to speak of near the Fort but it isn't far to Fatebad road where there are plenty of restaurants.

I would perhaps suggest sunrise at the baby taj as the traffic will be much less and then fort and afternoon Taj. Or you can play it by ear on see how the weather is on the day.

It will still be possible the next morning to see taj if it is not Friday and you have time. Where are you going?

Candyji

PS Love the website I too love photography and light is so important.
#8 Nov 12th, 2007, 22:51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edor View Post Agra
Date Sunrise Sunset Length Change Dawn Dusk Length Change
Today 06:35 17:28 10:53 06:11 17:53 11:42
+2 months 07:09 17:42 10:33 00:20 shorter 06:44 18:07 11:23 00:19 shorter

So IF India uses "official" definitions of dawn & dusk; sunset 2 months from now will be at 17:42 and dusk is at 18:07.
[/SIZE]

Edward
Yup - looks spot on, use this link to cross-check any world location.

Agra is a magical place, especially to those who are extra-cognitive to the interplay of light & stone.
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. ~
T. S. Eliot

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#9 Nov 12th, 2007, 22:53
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Candyji ...
Thanks so much for information - love your favorite quote:
"It is better to live as long as you want rather than want as long as you live. Socrates"

Will just have to see what Gaia brings with regard to fog, and be flexible - always a good idea for India, actually for any place on earth or otherwise. If Agra is like other places, I expect that the fog pattern the prior day is somewhat predictive of what might happen the following day.

You had asked: "It will still be possible the next morning to see taj if it is not Friday and you have time. Where are you going?" Traveling west to east (Udaipur to Kolkata) Will arrive Agra on Friday afternoon or evening, and then night train to Varanasi on Saturday.

While I also love photography, I may just take memories from the Taj and let go of all the challenges of photography and video while actually on the grounds of the Taj; or perhaps photograph the people looking at the Taj.

Edward
#10 Nov 12th, 2007, 22:58
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#10

Getting sunrise & set moonrise & set timings for cities worldwide

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeakXV View Post Yup - looks spot on, use this link to cross-check any world location.

Agra is a magical place, especially to those who are extra-cognitive to the interplay of light & stone.
Thanks Peak - I use the website you reference along with the one that I mentioned in my earlier post
http://www.gaisma.com/en/
#11 Nov 13th, 2007, 05:56
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#11
I highly recommend the Baby Taj - we went there after the TAj and before the fort and it is exquisite in an intimate style (quite unlike the Taj in feeling), the highlight of our visit to Agra. We also visited Chini-Ka-Rauza and it was worth it. There is more than one bridge crossing the Yamuna - if you go farther north, a bit northof Chini-ka rauza, there is a modern bridge which was easily passable. There are some problems now with the crossings (repairs) so it was recommended we do this in the morning rather than afternoon and it worked out fine - we came back for the Fort afterwards across the amazing little older bridge that was closer to the TAJ viewpoint. Without looking at a map and reconstructing what we did thats as good as I can do.
#12 Nov 13th, 2007, 06:27
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#12

The fog

is a bonus . . . from a photographer's standpoint . . . my All-Time-Favorite photo of the Taj, taken on a November morning from the Red Fort in Agra (200mm lens) from the Prisoners Tower, was all about the fog . . . the sun rises (at that time of year)(and from that venue) almost right over the dome . . . sun glinting on the Yamuna . . . the Taj materializing from the fog . . . magical . . . during five trips to Indai I've watched over 20 sunrises over the Taj - from the other side of Yamuna, from the grounds of the Taj . . . from the Red Fort . . . the Red Fort photo takes it, hands down.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure - Marianne Williamson

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