Train Varanasi to Agra, arrive in time to see Taj at 6:00am? - India Travel Forum | IndiaMike.com

Train Varanasi to Agra, arrive in time to see Taj at 6:00am?

#1 Aug 24th, 2014, 08:37
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#1
Hi,

I have heard that the overnight Marudhar Express is the best train to take from Varanasi to Agra. However, it arrives in Agra at 6:10 am (and I've heard it can be delayed from 1-3 hours). We really want to get to the Taj Mahal right at 6am when the gates open, and I fear we might be quite late if we take the Marudhar.

Is there another way to get from Var--Agra in time to see the Taj at 6am? I was hoping to avoid ariving in Agra the night before and having to get a hotel room. We want to get to Agra, spend a full day, then grab another overnight train out.

Worst case would be that we take the Marudhar and miss the Taj at sunrise. Would not be the end of the world but we'd really like to see that!

Also: Are there lockers at the Taj big enough for us to leave our 45-75kg backpacks there? Is this safe?

Thanks for any suggestions

Michelle
#2 Aug 24th, 2014, 10:56
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#2
Update: I found a train called the Poorva Express. It departs from Mughal Sarai (16km away from Varanasi) and arrives at Tundla Hunction (23km away from Agra). However, it arrives at 03:35am. If it's delayed by a few hours we'd still likely arrive close to 6am when the gates at the Taj open.

Would you recommend the Poorva Express (which involves more driving to/from the train stations) instead of the Marudhar Express (both train stations are directly in town and easy to get to)? Or is the Poorva Express not a good train due to it's farther stations?

Also, it seems like we'd have to buy RAC tickets for the Marudhar (AC-2 tier), whereas the Poorva still has AC-2 tickets available.

Which would you recommend? Or is there a third option that I'm missing?

Thank you so so much!

Michelle
#3 Aug 24th, 2014, 11:10
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#3
Sorry for the triple-post.

There is also the Patna-Kota Express, departing Varanasi Junction (in town) and arriving Agra Cantt (only 4km out of town). It arrives in Agra at 0545am. This seems like our best option with the highest chance of arriving closest to 6am (depending on delays). Would this be a better option than the Marudhar or the Poorva?

Thank you!

Michelle
#4 Aug 24th, 2014, 12:29
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#4
I'm afraid you have confused India with Switzerland. Indian trains don't generally run like clockwork. If your trip is built around precise scheduling, you will soon come into conflict with reality.

If you want to get to the Taj at a precise time, arrive a day before. Or even better, two or three days before. Chill.

PS You are unlikely to find transportation from Tundla at 3:30am.
#5 Aug 24th, 2014, 15:08
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#5
Thanks for the tip on Tundla, RPG.

Unfortunately we only have two weeks in India, otherwise I'd love to spend many many days at each place we're visiting! You're right, though. Whatever happens, will happen
#6 Aug 24th, 2014, 15:27
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#6
I agree with RPG on this one, although (ref. general rail travel in India) the Rajdhani (overnight) and Shatabdi (daytime) apparently get priority on the rails and therefore have a better chance of being anywhere near their scheduled arrival time. Which is why they cost more to travel on.
#7 Aug 25th, 2014, 01:11
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#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by michelleip View Post Unfortunately we only have two weeks in India, otherwise I'd love to spend many many days at each place we're visiting!
The fact that you have only two weeks doesn't change the reality about India. Not just trains, but everything, takes more time than you think. Since you believe a 5:45am arrival ets you to the Taj by 6:00am, you are clearly a newbie, and India can be very hard on newbies.

If you are planning a "If this is Tuesday, it must be Agra" kind of trip, you will find many, many posts in other threads here saying the same thing: don't do it. If you don't have more time, cut back on the number of places you're trying to check off your list.

One way or another, you'll have two weeks in India, and that will be what you'll remember, not the sheer quantity of sights you've seen.
#8 Aug 25th, 2014, 05:09
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#8
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Originally Posted by RPG View Post One way or another, you'll have two weeks in India, and that will be what you'll remember, not the sheer quantity of sights you've seen.
Thanks RPG (and others!) for the invaluable advice. Slowly I'm cutting things out of my itinerary to make the trip more reasonable and give us some breathing room. But it's amazing how hard that is to do! We will now have 2 days in Agra to see the Taj, Agra Fort, and Fatehpur Sikri. A day trip would be far too hectic.

Michelle
#9 Aug 25th, 2014, 08:12
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#9
You may wan't to see the tomb of Itmad-Ud_Daulah which is much less crowded! In my opinion, some of the less famous places are very beautiful and are more enjoyable since they are much less crowded. Having said that the Taj is magnificent, and I have seen it at sunrise, sunset, and moonlight (different visits).
#10 Aug 25th, 2014, 08:44
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#10
I also suggest that, as new visitors to India, you consider factoring in a hotel between successive overnight train trips. ie. train - hotel - train -hotel

If you try to do a series of overnight train trips without a break, you can end up feeling a bit like a refugee, with no place to call your own.

Tripadvisor and this forum provides loads of advice for inexpensive (by western standards) small, clean family run hotels and homestays. Read the reviews and avoid the very cheapest fleapits.
#11 Aug 25th, 2014, 10:34
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#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by pontesnm View Post You may wan't to see the tomb of Itmad-Ud_Daulah which is much less crowded! In my opinion, some of the less famous places are very beautiful and are more enjoyable since they are much less crowded.
Hi pontesnm. Thanks so much for the recommendation - that sounds like a great spot to check out and we'll be sure to do so!
#12 Aug 25th, 2014, 10:41
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Originally Posted by gp3 trainee View Post I also suggest that, as new visitors to India, you consider factoring in a hotel between successive overnight train trips. ie. train - hotel - train -hotel
Thanks for the tip, GP3. Hopefully one night in Agra will be enough between both trains. We're taking 3 trains in total for a two week trip and then we're hiring a private car for the rest. I thought that too many trains might lead to a bit of burn out since I imagine that Indian trains can feel a bit overwhelming if a person isn't used to them.
#13 Aug 25th, 2014, 10:47
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#13
Another quick question: The overnight trains between Varanasi--Agra (September 30) and Agra--Jodhpur (October 1) are all currently waitlisted. Right now the waitlists for class AC-2 are at about WL#6 and WL#10 (there are waitlists for class AC-3 as well). Do you think that if we book two tickets on these trains in the next few days, that we'll end up getting berths? I know we likely won't be beside each other but the important thing is that we get berths.

Thank you!
#14 Aug 25th, 2014, 16:15
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#14
You should ask about your trains in this thread - you'd get a quicker answer

http://www.indiamike.com/india/india...e-only-t56727/

When I bought my Varanasi - Agra ticket I was WL1 and then moved to RAC1 on the day of travel. It's a popular train.
#15 Aug 25th, 2014, 17:17
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#15
michelleip, I'm not sure if you already know this, but I do want to point out that the Taj is closed on Fridays.

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