After hotel pickup in Delhi, travel by private, air-conditioned vehicle to Agra, home to the Taj Mahal, one of the world’s most beautiful monuments.
Following your 3-hour journey, arrive at the UNESCO-listed Taj and join up with your private guide. Then, head inside (own expense) and marvel at the white marble masterpiece, built as a royal mausoleum in 1652. Admire the dream-like marble domes, archways, and towers, and cross the gardens to see the inlaid arcades, inner hall and terraces close-up.
As you explore, hear the moving love story behind the building. Learn how the Mughal emperor Shah Jahn commissioned it as a tomb for his beloved queen, Mumtaz Mahal, and how it took 20,000 workers 22 years to build.
Afterward, continue with your guide to the Red Fort, another UNESCO-listed must-see. Built by the Emperor Akbar, this vast, 16th-century walled fort displays a blend of Hindu and central Asian architectural styles. Go inside (own expense) to wander through the courtyards, mosques, and chambers, and see the tower where Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son within view of the Taj.
After a break for lunch (own expense), visit (own expense) the Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah, nicknamed the ‘Baby Taj,’ on the banks of the River Yamuna. A precursor to the Taj dating from 1628, this exquisite mausoleum was built by the Empress Nur Jahan for her father, and is filled with artistic detail. Explore the beautiful rooms, adorned with trellises and precious stones, and hear how their design reflects Persian influences.
Finally, as the sun sets, head inside (own expense) the Mahtab Bagh or ‘Moonlight Gardens,’ located across the Yamuna from the Taj Mahal. Drink in the stunning views of the monument from here just as dusk falls.
Finally, return to Delhi and finish with a hotel drop-off.