If the Taj Mahal is on the top of your list of places to visit then you’ll definitely be booking a flight to Agra. Once the capital of the Mughal Empire, this medieval city is today one of the most visited destinations in India – if not the world. With a history dating back to the 16th century, Agra’s story is a fascinating one. The third Mughal emperor, Akbar, came to power when he was only 13. He made many great contributions during his reign including banning the slaughter of cows, making Agra the capital in 1566 and commissioning some of the most extraordinary buildings in India.
Agra’s climate is tropical. April to June is very hot with temperatures more than 43 degrees (Celsius) and high pollution levels. The monsoon season can start in late June, reaching its peak in mid-July and continuing through September. Winters are chilly with temperatures ranging from the low single digits to 30s.The city’s annual rainfall is approximately 66cm (26 inches), and most of it falls during July and September.
The best time to book a flight to Agra is in winter, between November and March.
The summer months – April to July – are very hot, with temperatures often exceeding 35 degrees and hitting as much as 40 degrees. The monsoon rains fall between June and August, although it’s usually just the afternoons that are affected.
Hire a car and driver for your day in Agra and travel worry free. There are also many private tours in the area. The U.P. State Tourism Development Corporation offers tours at all the major sites. If you’d rather venture out on your own, don’t rent your own car. Driving in any Indian city is not recommended. Instead, travel by taxi or rickshaw – auto or bicycle. Make sure your haggling skills are sharpened before you board though. With the high number of tourists in Agra, drivers often quote ridiculously high prices. Don’t be afraid to haggle. Also, watch out for unplanned stops along your route. Drivers sometimes get a commission for bringing their passengers to local shops.
Rent a bike and try pedalling your way around Agra. There are rental shops all over and powering your own way around the city can be helpful since motorised vehicles are not allowed in the Taj Sanctuary.