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Agra Tour
Agra hotels

Agra hosts some of the world famous landmarks that are epitome of love and beauty. In terms of ambience, it is still associated with its memorable Mughal period. As visitors walk down the narrow bustling streets, they can't help but wonder if the man contentedly smoking a hookah is a direct descendent of some bygone Mughal. Even the most modern areas of the town, such as the cantonment, date back over a hundred years. The Taj Mahal, which is essentially one man's monumental testimony to love, has become synonymous not only with this city but with India as a whole. Agra, with its laid-back lifestyle and wealth of architecture, handicrafts and jewellry, is amongst the most remarkable cities of the world. While approaching Agra from Delhi, one passes through the religious cities of Mathura and Vrindavan, celebrated in Indian lore and legends. The road from Agra to Jaipur includes Bharatpur and Deeg in its circuit, while the one heading east offers Gwalior and the exquisite temples of Khajuraho as places of tourist attraction.

HISTORY OF TAJ MAHAL

The history of Taj Mahal, a monument which has been described as 'poetry in marble' was constructed by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. He erected this mausoleum in the memory of his beloved wife, Arjumand Bano Begum, popularly known as Mumtaz Mahal, who died in A.D. 1630. According to the history of Taj Mahal it is believed that her dying wish to her husband was "to build a tomb in her memory such as the world had never seen before." Indeed, centuries later, no tomb has been able to even remotely equal the glory of the marvelous Taj. A study of the history of Taj Mahal reveals that it was started in A.D. 1631 and completed at the end of 1648 A.D. It is believed that the Taj is a result of twenty thousand workmen toiling day and night for twenty two whole years. A small town was built for the laborers called 'Mumtazabad' - named after the deceased empress. The town is now known as Taj Ganj. Amanat Khan Shirazi was the calligrapher of Taj Mahal, his name occurs at the end of an inscription on one of the gates of the Taj. Poet Ghyasuddin had designed the verses on the tombstone, while Ismail Khan Afridi of Turkey was the dome maker. Muhammad Hanif was the superintendent of Masons. The designer of Taj Mahal was Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. The material for the construction of the Taj was brought in from all over India and central Asia. It is believed that it took a fleet of 1000 elephants to transport it to the site! The history of Taj Mahal provides us with fascinating details about Mughal history and architecture. Red sandstone was brought from Fatehpur Sikri, Jasper from Punjab, Jade and Crystal from China, Turquoise from Tibet, Lapis Lazuli and Sapphire from Sri Lanka, Coal and Cornelian from Arabia and diamonds from Panna. In all 28 kind of rare, semi precious and precious stones were used for inlay work in the Taj Mahal. The chief building material, the white marble was brought from the quarries of Makrana, in Rajasthan. Thus the history of Taj Mahal shows us the organizing capacity of the Mughal Empire and the vision of Emperor Shah Jahan, who was able to bring together many skilled artisans to create this beautiful monument to eternal love.

Passport & Visa- Citizens of all the country need to have a valid passport and an entry, transit or tourist visa obtained from the Indian Mission in their country. Tourist Visa is normally valid for 120 days. Visa extensions can be got by applying to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Lok Nayak Bhavan, Khan Market, (Ph: 4693334, 4612543 and 4617649). The letter should be handed over at the Foreigners Regional Registration Office at Hans Bhavan, Tilak Bridge, near ITO. (Ph: 3319489/8179). It is open from 09:30 hrs to 1330 hrs and 1400 hrs to 1600 hrs. (It is closed on weekends and national Holidays) Those wishing to visit a neighboring country like Sri Lanka or Nepal, and then coming back to India, should obtain a double/multiple entry Visa.

Registration-
All foreigners are required to get themselves registered with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) which is situated in Hans Bhavan, Tilak Road, near the Income Tax Office (ITO). The building is very close to India Gate Custom Clearance Those without any dutiable goods or high value articles or foreign exchange more than US $2,500 or unaccompanied baggage which needs to be declared, can walk through Green Channel. All others need to pass through the Red Channel. Goods up to Rs. 750 (Rs. 12,000 for persons of Indian origin) for personal use or as gifts are exempt from duty. Beyond the free baggage limit, the duty rate is 52% plus 2% special duty.

Those not entitled-
Persons from Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and China do not get any free allowances, while in case of nationals of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; it is Rs. 6000 if they stay for more than three days and Rs. 3000 if the stay is less.

Tourist Baggage- Form On arrival, a TBRE (tourist baggage re-export form) is to be shown with the entered articles to Customs for verification at the time of departure.

Bringing in currency-
Any amount in the form of currency, traveler's cheques and the like can be brought in and the same amount can be taken back. In case the amount exceeds US $10,000 in the form of currency notes, traveler's cheques or bank notes / or currency notes alone of more than US $2,500, they have to be declared on arrival on the Currency Declaration Form (CDF), duly attested by the Custom Officer.

Money changing-
The unit of currency is the rupee and all money should be changed with authorized money changers available at various places. You should insist on a receipt which will help in reconverting the money whenever you desire so. It is better to avoid touts who may offer higher sums than the prevailing value.

Export curbs-All articles brought in can be taken back. from India one can take back souvenirs worth Rs. 1,00,000 in value and more than that after getting permission from the Reserve Bank of India. Jewelry or precious stones of high value need an advance RBI permit as also appraisal by the Customs Appraiser at the airport in advance

Foreign Travel Tax-Rs. 500 and only Rs. 150 for citizens of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Arrival, Leaving The Airport-Transport of various sorts is available at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. These include auto rickshaws, taxis, and even buses most of which are operated by private operators. There is also a prepaid taxi service and it is advisable that this facility is made use of as it proves to be the most economical.

Time Difference-
The standard time for India is calculated from Allahabad and is common to all cities. Indian Standard Time (IST) is 5 hours and 30 minutes ahead of London, 4 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Paris, about 10 hours 30 minutes behind New York, 3 hours and 30 minutes behind Tokyo and 4 hours and 30 minutes behind Sydney.

Credit Cards-American Express, Master Charge, Visa and Diners Club credit cards are generally accepted by large establishments including hotels, shops, and airlines.














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