Agra: Cory Lee’s Golden Triangle Tour Destination #2
Always dreamed of visiting Taj Mahal, Cory Lee’s wish to witness the iconic structure finally comes true! Having visited 28 countries, one thing that kept Cory from visiting India was the inaccessibility he’d face being a wheelchair user. It was only after he learnt about Enable Travel and its accessible tours is when he chose to go on a Golden Triangle Tour in India.
It was Cory’s first time in India and he couldn’t contain his excitement to experience the sights and sounds of this culture-rich country.
His first stop on an accessible tour to India was Delhi and here’s where you can read all about his experience of touring the capital city!
While Taj Mahal topped his list of things to do in Agra, Cory discovered more historic structures and he completely enjoyed touring all of them on a wheelchair.
1. Taj Mahal
Cory started his day early reached the Taj Mahal complex at 5 am and it’s the ideal time to visit this beauty. After laying his eyes on Cory quotes” As soon as I saw it, I immediately became overwhelmed. It was surreal to be there staring at it, especially after years of thinking that I’d never be able to visit. It looked even more stunning than it did in National Geographic or on TV all those years ago, and I stopped for a few minutes to simply stare at it and take in the moment. During those few minutes, I thought about how great it is that accessibility is improving. Ten, or even five, years ago, it wouldn’t have been possible for me to visit, but more and more destinations around the world are now opening up to wheelchair users. For that, I am tremendously grateful.”
Overwhelmed looking at one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Cory felt grateful to have been able to visit the iconic structure. His long awaited wish finally came to life and it was only possible due to the improvement in accessibility and how it’s taken seriously in more destinations than ever.
2. Itimad ud Daulah Tomb (Baby Taj)
Built 5 years before the construction of Taj Mahal began, Itimad ud Daulah Tomb was the true inspiration for the iconic monument that gets people flocking to Agra from across the globe. This gorgeous Tomb was built for Mirza Ghiyas Beg by his daughter Nur Jahan; and it was his granddaughter Mumtaz Mahal for whom the Taj Mahal was built. The name of the Tomb takes after the title Mirza earned – Itmad-ud-Daulah (Pillar of the State) during the Mughal reign. Crafted from pure white marble and intricate mosaics, this Tomb made for the ideal precursor to the Taj Mahal and the very first Tomb that was built on the banks of river Yamuna. One can enjoy the riverside setting and its tranquil environ as opposed to that of Taj Mahal.
Getting around the complex of Baby Taj in a wheelchair was easy for Cory and he highly recommends staying around the Tomb of Itimad ud Daulah to catch the sunset here.
Planning a visit to Agra? Check out the itinerary for wheelchair users!
3. Agra Fort
Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the finest Mughal forts of India and it sure is overshadowed by Taj Mahal. Owned by many emperor and rulers, Agra Fort is known for its rich history and the fort’s structure has been altered to suit every ruler. Majorly made from red sandstone that was brought from Rajasthan, the structure saw many changes during the reign of Shah Jahan. He was smitten by white marble, unlike his grandfather, and most of the fort was rebuilt using it. Despite the changes the fort saw through these years, the structure beautifully showcases the workmanship of Mughal architecture.
For Cory, the entrance of the Agra Fort was challenging but that quarter of a mile of rough cobblestone path felt worth it after he explored the fort. Every section of the fort, the courtyards, palaces were paved and were completely smooth to roll on. After his delightful tour of the Agra Fort, Cory quotes ”The Agra Fort became one of my favourite sights during my time in India.”
4. Fatehpur Sikri
Founded in the 16th century by Mughal emperor Akbar, the city was predominantly made of red sandstone. This fortified city was built by the king and was the capital of his Empire for fifteen years then and now is a UNESCO world heritage site. A unique blend of architectural excellence and religious beliefs is what sums up Fatehpur Sikri.
Located 25 miles west of Agra, Fatehpur Sikri was Cory’s last stop in Agra. After spending a good few hours and taking pictures to his heart’s content, Cory quotes “With much less cobblestone than Agra Fort and ramps to nearly every part of it, I thought that Fatehpur Sikri was one of the most wheelchair accessible attractions that I visited on my tour with Enable Travel. It was amazing to see so many ramps in a place that was built nearly 500 years ago.”
Planning a trip to Agra? Browse through our itineraryDetailed Itinerary
Where To Stay In Agra?
Cory stayed at the Radisson Blu Agra Taj East for the two nights he spent in Agra. Located close to the Taj, it had its own perks; from saving time and reaching before the first crack of dawn to witness Taj during sunrise to spending away a quaint evening at the rooftop of this hotel, from where you can see the iconic Taj during sunset.
As for accessibility in this hotel, it was perfect for a wheelchair user. A hoyer lift easily rolled under the bed, the bathroom was completely accessible with pull-under sink, a raised toilet with grab bars, and a roll-in shower. After experiencing the accessibility within the room and the entire hotel, Cory quotes “All of the typical accessible features that you’d find in a hotel in the United States were available, which was wonderful!” The staff at this five star property was incredibly kind and courteous, adds Cory.
The heritage and history of Agra left Cory in awe of this place and Agra definitely has more to it than the iconic Taj Mahal. While tourists are drawn to this city to witness one of the Seven Wonders of the World, only to their surprise they discover more than they ever expect to on their trip to Agra.
Stay tuned to know all about Cory’s trip to the pink city of Jaipur, the third and the last destination of his Golden Trinagle Tour in India.
Know all about our trip to Agra
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