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Monday, February 06, 2017

Pearl of Taj: Great Homestay real close to Taj Mahal, Agra

With the iconic Taj Mahal, 2 UNESCO world heritage sites in the Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri and many other stunning works of art and architecture, Agra is one of those cities in India that falls in the must-visit category. Personally, I love this city and have visited this city thrice (once each in the past three decades). My latest visit was during my recent winter holiday when I ended up staying for 3 nights at a homestay called the Pearl of Taj. The below review is based on this recent experience of mine. I am hoping that it will be helpful to all those of you planning an upcoming Agra holiday.

Hazy Taj Mahal view from Mehtab Bagh, Agra

1) The Pearl of Taj is located less than 10 minutes away from the East gate of the Taj Mahal and only about a 3 minutes walk to the ticket counter. The East gate is one of the quieter entrances to the Taj Mahal and hence sees relatively fewer people, fewer pestering street peddlers and shorter queues at the ticket booking counter. If the Taj Mahal is on your agenda, it doesn’t get any better from this. You can either walk from the hotel to the Taj Mahal or take a horse cart or battery operated car. Both the train stations of Agra are not too far away from this place.

2) The people running this homestay try to make you feel at home and are extremely helpful. They helped me fix date re-scheduling in spite of cleartrip not helping me on time, they helped with amazing local tips, guided me with proper directions and made sure that I was always welcome.

Akbar's Tomb as seen from the main durwaza entrance

3) Pearl of Taj is a cross between a homestay and a hotel. It is actually a home with about 6 or 8 rooms, but it has a full time front desk manager and room service personnel. So it kinda, provides the best of both worlds. The rooms do get a bit cold during the winter season and the ones with the balcony view are exposed to higher noise levels. So, it is recommended that you choose a room without a balcony view for a quieter stay. The rooms are quite big with modern amenities and a very comfortable hot shower.

4) A simple breakfast is included as part of your stay. For lunch, dinner and other meals, there is an adjoining restaurant that dishes out delicious food.

5) The Pearl of Taj homestay provides free wi-fi to all its guests and it is accessible all through the building.

Durwaza of Itmad-ud-Daulah's Tomb or Baby Taj, Agra

6) The homestay also has it own tour service for any of those interested. This includes exploring the popular and lesser known attractions of Agra in the company of a local knowledgeable guide. The best part is that the exploring is done in a military styled willys jeep.

If you are planning an upcoming holiday to Agra and looking for a comfortable place to stay that is located close to the Taj Mahal, I would recommend that you give Pearl of Taj a look in. It provides bang for the buck, larger size rooms and a cosy home environment.



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