we are visiting Goa in November can any body tell me the best +cheapest way to visit the Taj Mahal and a good hotel please
The Goa Express is strictly for people who would rather look at trains than look at India. It doesn't take 12 hours to get from Vasco da Gama (Goa) to Agra, although it might well get you from Goa to Mumbai in that time. Its timetable (and that of 2617, the other regular train from Madgaon to Agra), which you can check for yourself on http://www.trainenquiry.com/TrainsBetw2St_Display.aspx?station1=MAO+&station2=AGC+&queryDisplay1=MADGAON%2c+MAO+&queryDisplay2=AGRA+CANTT%2c+AGC+, is:
2617 MANGALA LDWEEP ERANAKULAM JN Y Y Y Y Y Y Y MADGAON Day 2, 03:40 Day 2, 03:50 AGRA CANTT Day 3,
10:10 Day 3, 10:18
2779 GOA EXPRESS VASCO DA GAMA Y Y Y Y Y Y Y MADGAON Day 1, 15:44 Day 1, 15:49 AGRA CANTT Day 3, 03:00 Day 3, 03:05
which means that if you left Goa at, say half past three on Monday afternoon, you'd get to Agra at three in the morning on Wednesday... not my idea of a fun trip!
Although there are queries here every few days about quick dashes up from Goa to the Taj and then back again, this is actually quite a huge undertaking.... not unlike ducking across from Los Angeles to have a quick look at Niagara Falls. It will either take a lot of time (as above) or a lot of money and mucking around (such as plane to Mumbai, change, plane to Delhi, change, train to Agra). The Taj is a nice building, but, frankly, it's not worth destroying your holiday over!
Now, if you have a week and a half to spare, I'm sure we could work out a great itinerary that would allow you to see Mumbai, Bundi, Agra, Mathura, Jaipur, Delhi, and a couple of other choice places between Goa and the Taj. But for a mad two-day dash between airports, well, I would earnestly exhort you to think again and choose instead some of the more wonderful sights that are accessible from Goa -- the ruins of Hampi, for instance.
I would suggest you pre book your hotel in agra, minimum 3-4 months prior , or if possible even before that, as nov is the busiest month for agra. Lot of tourists travel during nov & feb.
You would hav got a fair idea that being the busiest month the hotel prices are also in the higher bracket. So keep an extra bit of breathing space while planning your finanance for agra trip.
Goa to delhi via flight & then via train / car to agra would be my choice.
The cheapest way is by train; but it's a long trip, between 30 an 35 hours depending on which train you take. The timings are also inconvenient. There are two trains:
2617 - MANGALA LDWEEP - departs Madgaon MAO at a horrible time of 03.50 in the early morning, and arrives Agra Cantonment AGC at 10.10 the next morning, the travel time is 30.20hrs.
2779 - GOA EXPRESS departs Vasco da Gama VSG at a sensible hour, 15.10 but arrives AGC in the middle of the night at 03.00 am, and this train is a 35.50 hr ride.
3-Tier AC seats on these trains are Rs 1400 per ticket. 2-Tier AC seats on these trains are Rs 1900 per ticket.
The simplest way to do Agra is:
Day 1 - Fly Goa Delhi, drive to Agra, visit Agra Fort if you get into Agra before 5 pm (the ticket counter closes at 5 pm).
Day 2 - See Taj at dawn, drive back to Delhi airport.
Delhi itself is an interesting and ancient city; much like Athens or Rome, it is full of monuments and ruins and interesting bazaar areas. So what I would recommend is this:
Day 1 - Fly Goa Delhi, Delhi sightseeing
Day 2 - Day trip to Agra by road or train
Day 3 - Fly back to Goa
There are direct flights from Goa to Delhi and back; and there are budget / no-frills airlines as well.Edited: 29 March 2010, 08:58
If you can specify what your hotel budget is per night, we can make recommendations. There's everything from backpacker hostels to sinful luxury.
Train is surely the cheapest mode of transport. But the distance is just too much. You should take a flight to Delhi and then a Train to Agra.
While returning, again take a train to Delhi & Fly back to Goa.
There are many hotels in Agra, In mid range t\you can have a look at Howard Park Plaza and in budget range Sheela and Sheela Inn are good.
If you choose to travel by air then there are flights from Goa to Jaipur and Goa to Delhi.Compare the air fare . Both Jaipur and Delhi are very well connected by road and rail to Agra. Train journey is certainly cheapest way to travel in India but Goa to Agra is a long journey.
There are many good hotels in each category you can do search on TA.
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