More about Garden Villa Homestay
like a B&B
this place is like a B&B, where the family lives there and rents out rooms. the family is very accomodating and very friendly. the room rates are very very affordable! the location is in the suburbs of agra, but it is a short drive to the Taj Mahal. make sure you pay the bill with cash when you check out, because the credit card is only to reserve the room on Venere.com. make sure to bring earplugs for nighttime, since the dogs barking and birds chirping can keep you awake. breakfast in the morning was very nice, as well. make sure to bring your own washcloth/luffah, since only towels are provided.
Highly recommended and very affordable!
After 4 different BnBs in India (Delhi and Jaipur) this was the best one. Brand new accommodation, clean and comfortable. Hosts were welcoming too. Dinner was vegetarian, nice to eat some home made Indian. Mr Rajbansh was a tour guide for many years so has tips to give. I would stay here again and recommend it as one of the best homestays at a very reasonable price.
The best way to experience Agra.
We have just got back from our round the world trip with our two children (5 and 7). One of the first things we had to do, was to find the time to make sure we wrote to Trip Advisor about this place. We were so lucky to find it and we hope you’ll be just as impressed as we were. Mr Rajbansh the owner has had 30 years in the tourist business and had has put everything he has leant into making this retirement venture a resounding success.
We highly recommend Gardenvilla Homestay, check out their website www.gardenvillahomestay.com We think it the best way to experience Agra and here's why:
Agra is far from an easy place to find good accommodation, the Taj Ganj area is full of run down looking budget traveller lodges, where you get constantly hassled and the area has lost its traditional feel. Elsewhere accommodation is spread out and rather hit or miss.
The room was reserved by email and Mr Rajbansh quickly replied to all our enquires. He offered a double room with breakfast for the 4 of us at Rs 1200/-. per night (about 15 UK Pounds).
He arranged a driver to pick us up from the train station, who then accompanied us for the next 3 days. The total taxi charges were Rs 2250/- This included the parking fee at the monuments, but obviously not your individual entry fees. As with all such arrangements its best to ensure the fee includes all fuel, aircon and that the driver will pay for his own food etc. However Ariana, our driver was outstanding and a real gentleman. We had the honour to be invited to his home and meet his family. If you get good service, don’t forget your driver is most likely to be far poorer than he appears. Please tip him accordingly.
The Gardenvilla Homestay is set slightly south of Agra centre (10 minutes taxi). You travel down a dusty road and then turn into a gated area. The B&B is on the end of a row of homes. As you enter the garden you know you have made the right choice. Mrs Rajbansh has created a beautiful lush flower garden in this arid dust bowl.
The accommodation has been decorated lovingly with style. It is exceptionally clean and there are 5 rooms set aside for visitors. I would be happy to call this my home.
The entrance area is where you also take Breakfast (eggs, toast, tea and juice) and where in the evening the chef serves up some wonderful home cooking. This communal room also gets you to meet other travellers and share tips and stories. It also lets you spend time with your most affordable hosts. The Rajbanshs are wonderful people and go out of their way to assist you.
Bottom line is that Gardenvilla Homestay is a wonderful place to stay and an ideal location from which to visit the many local attractions.Note you can only pay with cash.
Thank Mr and Mrs Rajbansh for a memorable visit.
Regards The Crichards.
Travel light from Delhi and leave a bag or two at your B&B / hotel if returning.
Get the train from Nizamuddin Railway (not New Delhi) thus avoiding the chaos and hassle of the central railway station. Get off at Agra Cantt railway station.
Book your train on line at home at http://www.irctc.co.in and use http://www.seat61.com/India.htm for assistance. Whilst it was relatively easy, note the system web page closes down for daily evening maintenance (Indian time). You’ll only realise because it won’t accept your booking. Paying online by credit card can be hit or miss, but they accept that and will refund if you double book!
Travel AC2 Delhi to Agra. It was perfectly acceptable, but check your seats are together and not on opposite sides of the isle or carraiage.
2 nights is only just enough in Agra. Organise a driver with your Hotel / B&B. Our itinerary seemed cramped but worked well and is shown below for info:
18 Mar. 1220 hrs Arrive Agra Cantt railway station. Driver waiting.
18 Mar Freshen up at our B&B (Gardenvilla Homestay)
18 Mar Visit of Agra Fort + Baby Tajmahal (Tomb of Itmad-ud-daula)+ Tajmahal by sunset from the other side of river.
19 Mar Taj Mahal by sunrise, return home for breakfast.
19 Mar Visit Fatehpur Sikri (excellent) and then Tomb of Akbar at Sikandara.
20 Mar 1028 hrs depart Agra Cantt on the 2617 Mangala Express .
Great place, a real home from home
We stayed at the Garden Villa Homestay in April '08 for just one night but certainly would have been happy to stay longer. Mr Raj and his family are very gracious hosts. The accommodation is clean, spacious and everything worked as it should. The costs are reasonable and their were 'no hidden extras'. Our breakfast which was included in the room rate was good and more than adequate in terms of quantity and variety of foods. We also chose to 'eat in' for dinner and again were glad that we did as Mrs Raj's vegetarian options were fantastic and very filling.
The Garden Villa's location is not so central to Agra town (only a couple of miles out) but that turned out to be really nice as we could then enjoy sitting in a peaceful and unpolluted garden in a nice quiet housing development when we wanted to relax. Mr Raj organised a car for us for a day to go sight seeing at a very good rate and also sorted our return to the station for our onward journey again at a reasonable cost. On the day of our departure our train was not until late in the evening and Mr & Mrs Raj were happy for us to hang around our room and the house and garden until we needed to leave. He even helped me on the internet and made a couple of telephone calls for me, at no charge, confirming our onward plans. Nothing seemed to much trouble and his previous experience as a travel operator was invaluable. We hope to return again one day.
Gracious hosts make it easy
This place was a delightful refuge -- clean and well appointed, quiet and safe. Mr. Rajbansh speaks perfect English and was sensitive to our needs as three American females traveling on our own. He arranged a terrific driver who looked after us during our entire stay. We spent two nights and he lined up our whole itinerary for us. Meals by his wife were delicious and easy on our tummies. Overall an excellent experience.
Good Option in Agra
This haveli is a great choice in Agra. It's clean, quiet, and owned by a very nice family who look to your every need and cook great vegetarian meals. The rooms are very well equipped, including AC, a clean bathroom with a hot shower, and a TV. There is no internet available. There were frequent power outages sometimes lasting as long as several hours, but this is normal in Agra and the same for all hotels.
The location is in a gateted residential neighbourhood, a little far from everywhere. This in theory is not a big deal, although we do like to explore the immediate area around our hotel, and here there really wasn't much around to explore. Nevertheless, this is made up for by excellent service and relatively quiet and secure surroundings, which means you'll be able to sleep at night.
The value is great, and overall, considering the price, this place earns 5 stars from us, despite a couple minor drawbacks.
lovely, spacious rooms and tastefully decorated. the hosts were very welcoming and warm. unfortunately we were only here one night! there was a variety with the breakfasts, where one could choose from and indian or a continental style breakfast. this place was away from the centre of agra, but the advantage was that it was very peaceful, with a well kept garden. a great place!
Loved Garden Villa
This is a wonderful guest house located 10 minutes from the Taj Mahal. The rooms are comfortable, modern, well equipped and tastefully decorated. The whole place is very clean and well maintained. Mr. Rajbansh and his family are extremely kind and helpful. The breakfast was delightful and prepared at our convenience to fit in with our plans.
Mr. Rajbansh is enormously knowledgeable about the local area and all the sights around Agra. Mr. Rajbansh arranged an itinerary of things to do during our stay and told us the best times to go for the best views, he also arranged a rickshaw driver for our entire stay at very reasonable rate. We decided to travel on to Jaipur by car and Mr. Rajbansh was happy to organize this for us at a reasonable rate.
The only downside is that it is located a short drive away from the main tourist areas, we did not find this a problem and enjoyed being in a quieter area away from the hawkers. Garden Villa Homestay is excellent value for money with a real personal touch; we really enjoyed our stay here and highly recommend it!
A great little homestay away from the maddening crowd.Mr Rajbansh and family looked after us very well-being very helpul in suggesting sites to visit and itineries for our stay.The rooms are a good size with modern ensuite bathrooms and were clean and nicely decorated.The only negative or positive depending on how you look at it was that it is away from the main bustle of Agra being located at the edge of Agra in a small gated community.This meant transport to the sites required a taxi-on the other hand it was wonderful to get away from the bustle of Agra and sit in the peaceful garden of the homstay
A very nice place to stay in Agra
This was a great place to stay in Agra. Most of the Agra hotels in our price range seemed to have some quite bad reviews and high prices, but this was much less expensive, and perfectly clean and comfortable. It was very quiet, and out of the busy center of Agra, which was really nice after a busy day of sightseeing in the hot sun.
The owner was not intrusive at all, but was very friendly and helpful with recommending restaurants and helping us arrange local transportation. I was a little bit nervous about the name "homestay," which seemed to imply a lack of privacy, but it was much like a bed and breakfast in the US.
After a good night's sleep, we woke up refreshed, and the owner and his wife were nice enough to fix us a very early breakfast so that we could make it to the Taj for the sunrise. It will always be a memorable day, since my now-fiancé proposed there!
Building in Taj Mahal area
Taj Mahal, Agra
Hi. Mobile phones not allowed in the Taj? Does this mean you need to switch them off, or are you obliged to leave them behind before you enter?
Re: mobile phones
YOu have to leave it in your bus or car. They have locker also to put your things in Taj Mahal, in entry gate.
love and smile..vivek
Re: mobile phones
Also you aren’t allowed cigarettes, matches, lighters, any electrical goods.Torches, MP3 players etc (Other than a camera)
There is a place to leave such things at the gate but how safe it is to do so is another matter !! So best to leave such things either back at your hotel or other safe place.
If you can enter by the east gate – less crowds at that side
I have written a few more bits and pieces on visiting the Taj Mahal on my India page under “Things to Do tops, you might find them useful
Re: mobile phones
hey my frined i just came back from taj mahal yesterday and u can take cell phones inside....i took mine and everyone else...