Agra is one of the foremost popular tourist destinations in India. It’s renowned for being home to at least one the Seven Wonders of the planet, the Taj Mahal which is one of the best places to visit in Agra. Indians love it because it is by foreigners who throng here in large numbers to admire its beauty. Alongside Delhi and Jaipur, Agra forms the Golden Triangle of tourism in India. Agra is synonymous with the Taj Mahal however there are tons more to the town than this world-famous monument. Right from the epic Mahabharata to the Mughal Dynasty,
Agra has been monumental and has played a significant role in shaping India’s history. The town first mentioned in Mahabharata as Agrevana which suggests the border of the forest. Later established by Sikandar Lodi of the Lodi Dynasty within the sixteenth century. He moved his capital from Delhi to Agra, and after his death, his son ruled the town for nine years. Later, Sher Shah Suri ruled Agra, and from 1556 to 1658 it had been the capital of the Mughal Empire.
Under the Mughal reign, Agra called Akbarabad and ruled by greats like Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan, etc. Their love for architecture, gardens and art and culture added a replacement dimension to Agra’s personality. By 1803, it came under British Raj that remained strong for the first part until India gained independence in 1947.
What also shaped Agra’s culture where the various religions that were born and flourished here. Runukta of Hinduism and Shauripur of Jainism to possess their links to Agra.
Agra is home to many famous monuments including three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, and Fatehpur Sikri.
Agra is well-connected by road, rail, and air with most parts of the country. Interestingly, it’s 210 km far away from the capital Lucknow and only 125 km far away from Delhi. The town is on the banks of the River Yamuna and enjoys a healthy influx of tourists all year round.
Agra’s Kheria Airport is 12.5 km far away from the guts of the town, and you’ll avail of taxis once you land. There are four main railway heads in Agra: Agra Cantonment, Agra Fort, Idgah Agra Junction and Raja ki Mandi. Trains from most cities halt at one among these railway stations. India’s fastest train, the Gatimaan Express that runs between Delhi and Agra in flat 100 minutes is additionally an option for tourists. It also offers travel itineraries for one, two or more days.
You’ll also drive right down to Agra from different parts of the county. The Yamuna Expressway is one of the fastest routes to succeed in Agra from Delhi. If you don’t have your own vehicle, you’ll even avail of personal cabs that ply on this expressway. Buses also ply from cities like Delhi, Lucknow, Jaipur, and Gwalior to Agra. The most bus stops in the town are Taj Depot, Inter-State bus depot, Ford Depot, and Idgah Bus Stand. The govt has ensured that reaching Agra isn’t a hassle because it generates a severe chunk of tourism for the state.
SIGHTSEEING ATTRACTIONS IN AGRA
Agra was the seat of the Mughal Empire and peppered with some magnificent architectural marvels of their times. Once done admiring the wonder that’s Taj Mahal, advance to other valuable sites, some in its vicinity and a few a touch further faraway from it. From Akbar’s Tomb to Agra Fort and therefore the walled city of Fatehpur Sikri. Agra is home to some essential monuments that tell the story of India’s history. Take each day bent explore these gems that Agra has got to offer.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN AGRA | Taj Mahal
The very first thing every tourist who involves Agra wants to try to do is seeing the sweetness that’s the Taj Mahal. Regardless of what percentage times you’ve been here, it’ll leave you mesmerized with its intricate carvings and architecture. The Taj Mahal is undoubtedly the most attractive that pulls many tourists to Agra per annum and rightly so. The epitome of affection, constructed by Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal whose tomb rests right under the central dome of the monument. It took 22 years and over 20,000 workers to construct this marvel.
Shah Jahan spent his last years imprisoned within the Agra Fort gazing at his creation, and after his death. His tomb placed inside the Taj Mahal next to his wife. The white marble monument is an architectural marvel with beautiful detailing, on the south bank of the Yamuna River. Verses from the Holy Quran inscribed thereon, gemstones adorn its walls, and therefore the intricate inlay work adds slightly of magnificence to the structure. Another brilliant indisputable fact that makes it a masterpiece is its symmetry. Which is why it’s an equivalent from all four sides.
Being one among the Seven Wonders of the planet and therefore the just one in India doesn’t stop from wrong stories floating around the Taj Mahal. But one true and exciting story is that Agra wasn’t the first option to make the Taj Mahal. Yes, the world-famous monument initially planned to be constructed in Madhya Pradesh in Burhanpur because Mumtaz Mahal gave up the ghost there. Shah Jahan had even marked out the location along the Tapti River where it had been to build. But the plan shelved when Burhanpur was unable to provide enough white marble that required for its construction. And so, Agra got its iconic monument that we call the Taj Mahal.
Admire its striking beauty yourself when here. The Taj Mahal is open for visitors between 6 am to six pm but remains shut on Fridays. The entry fee for Indians is Rs 20, and for foreign nationals, it’s Rs 750.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN AGRA | Agra Fort
Another architectural jewel during this city is that the Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mughal Emperor Akbar had built it with the assistance of 4,000 workers. Who worked for eight years to end its construction in 1573. Agra Fort is formed of red sandstone and was the seat of the Mughal Empire. A number of the main attractions in Agra Fort which will leave you mesmerized are structured just like the Sheesh Mahal, Moti Mahal, Jehangir’s Palace and Khas Mahal. The fort has four large gates of which the Delhi Gate used for the king’s formal entry. Diwan-i-Khas and Diwan-i-Aam were reserved for a royal audience and therefore the public respectively.
Agra Fort has been prominent during the Mughal reign. During the rule of Shah Jahan, he renovated it by adding marble work and converting the raw red sandstone structure to a palace. Years later, his son Aurangzeb imprisoned him within the same fort at Mussaman Burj. Despite these changes, Agra Fort is an epitome of Mughal architecture at its best and shouldn’t be missed.
Agra Fort is hospitable tourists all days of the week from 7 am to six pm. For Indians, the entry fee is Rs 20 while for foreigners it’s Rs 300. It’s spread across 94 acres, so you’ll need about two hours to explore the whole monument.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN AGRA | Fatehpur Sikri
One of Emperor Akbar’s pet projects was building a walled city, a touch faraway from Agra. Nevertheless, the surviving monuments tell a tale of his bravery and excellent work. Fateh in Persian signifies victory. the town survived, and three of its walled sides are still intact. Akbar paid keen interest in its architecture and layout, and it took about 15 years to plan and build it ultimately.
Once ready, it had palaces, stables, buildings, courts and a mosque. But one among the simplest architectural wonders of Fatehpur Sikri is that the Buland Darwaza. A grand gateway to the walled city. Made from red sandstone, 52 steps initiate to its 175 ft high archway that has two inscriptions. Akbar’s favourite minister Birbal too features a monument in Fatehpur Sikri called Birbal’s house. Since he was a Hindu, the architecture is different from the standard Mughal buildings.
One of the original buildings to be constructed in Fatehpur Sikri was the Jama Masjid. A mosque built consistent with Indian mosque architecture. It also houses the tomb of Salim Chishti, an excellent Sufi saint. Akbar, who was the founding father of the religion Din-e-Ilahi also constructed Ibadat Khana in Fatehpur Sikri which used for meetings. The Panch Mahal, a five-story palatial structure was for the women. Therefore the Naubat Khana that had drummers announce the entry of the emperor were other unique structures during this city.
Despite the lavish architecture and careful planning, Fatehpur Sikri abandoned in 1585 after ruling it from 1571. This was because the lake that supplied water to the town dried up. Even so, it’s worth marvelling the sweetness of what a great city this once was. Fatehpur Sikri is about 37 km far away from Agra but often completed on an equivalent trip. Most of the town lies uninhabited and reminds one among its once glorious past. You’ll find a couple of budget hotels to remain near the Fatehpur Sikri railroad station. Don’t miss visiting this place because it is another UNESCO World Heritage Site.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN AGRA | Akbar’s Tomb
Akbar the good built some majestic monuments in his lifetime, and one among them was his tomb itself. The task of commissioning your tomb is a component of Turkic custom that Mughals adhered to. He even selected the location where he wanted to keep. His last resting place, Sikandra, is where Akbar’s Tomb is. His son Jehangir completed the development of his father’s tomb in 1613, and it had been beautifully carved, made from red sandstone. Just 1 km faraway from Akbar’s Tomb is Mariam’s Tomb, who was Akbar’s wife and Jehangir’s mother. The monument is open for visitors on all days of the week from 6 am to six pm. The entry fee for Indians is Rs 15, and for foreigners, it’s Rs 110.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN AGRA | Mehtab Bagh
Translating to moonlight garden, Mehtab Bagh is that the perfect spot for admiring the sweetness of the Taj Mahal. Built by Babur, it’s a square garden that was once resplendent with pools, fountains, and trees. Today, it makes for a recreational tourist spot. Mughal garden, it’s perfectly aligned with the Taj Mahal along the Yamuna River and was described by Shah Jahan because of the ideal place for viewing the Taj Mahal.
Due to frequent floods and extraction of an artefact by the villagers, the garden lay in ruins by the ’90s. However, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) intervened and began work to revive the garden to its original state. They even made sure that the plants utilized in Mehtab Bagh were ones that were initially a neighbourhood of Mughal gardens.
However, just one remains now. During the restoration, other structures added to Mehtab Bagh that wasn’t originally a neighbourhood of it. A number of these include a statue of BR Ambedkar holding the constitution of India, a temple and nurseries. Visit Mehtab Bagh between 6 Am to 7 Pm. It’s open on all days of the week. The entry fee for Indians is Rs 5 while for foreign nationals it’s Rs 100.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN AGRA | Mankameshwar Mandir
One of the traditional Shiva temples within the country. Mankameshwar Mandir holds much religious importance as consistent with the legend, Shiva installed a lingam here on his own. The Mughal architecture isn’t the sole thing that pulls tourists to Agra; temples like these also are crowd-pullers. The temple is on the brink of Agra Fort and near other tourist monuments just like the Taj Mahal. As per the legend, Shiva wanted to travel to Mathura after the birth of Krishna to urge a glimpse of the small baby boy. And so, on his way back he kept his word, and there was a lingam here covered in silver.
Today, Shiva devotees come from different parts of the county to pay a visit to the present temple. People need to alight a flight of stairs to succeed in Mankameshwar Mandir’s sanctum sanctorum. Other idols of Shiva’s family surround it, and there are more temples behind this temple’s complex dedicated to different gods like Saraswati, Krishna, Hanuman and more.
When here, you’ll light a deepak and make a wish because the temple gets its name from a wish-fulfilling temple that Shiva himself created. Also, try the paan outside, which is typically triangular and covered in silver foil. Mankameshwar Mandir is open on all days from 7 am to 10 pm, and entry to the temple is free for all.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN AGRA | Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah
Another display of Mughal architecture, the Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah commissioned by Nur Jahan, Jehangir’s wife, for her father Mirza Beg who given the title of Itimad-ud-Daulah or pillar of the state. The mausoleum usually mentioned because of the draft of the Taj Mahal or Baby Taj because it has various elements that are just like the Wonder of the planet. It’s also called a jewel box because it isn’t as grand as other Mughal structures yet there’s no compromise on its intricacy.
The Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah is formed of white marble from Rajasthan and has semi-precious stones encrusted in its walls that display different objects like a vase, bouquet, fruits, etc. Its construction began in 1622 and completed in 1628. A garden crisscrossed by walkways and water courses surrounds the monument. It’s located on the proper bank of the Yamuna River and maybe a close replica of the Taj Mahal including its interiors. Mirza Beg’s tomb rests next to his wife’s grave, which was inspired by the Taj Mahal. Many of Nur Jahan’s relatives’ tombs also are kept during this monument.
You can visit the Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah any day of the week between 6 Am to 6 Pm. The entry fee for Indians is Rs 10, and for foreigners, it’s Rs 250.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN AGRA | Guru ka Tal
People of the Sikh community have one more reason to go to Agra because it is home to Guru ka Tal. A reservoir from the Mughal era, Guru ka Tal became a holy place when a gurudwara was constructed here within the 1970s. What makes it a holy pilgrimage destination is that the indisputable fact that four out of the ten Sikh gurus have visited this place in their lifetime. Being both a historic and non-secular site, it draws enough tourists also as pilgrims.
Guru ka Tal is additionally known for its stone carvings and towers that increase its beauty manifold.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN AGRA | Ram Bagh
The first of the eleven Mughal gardens to be built, Ram Bagh was Babur’s idea and was initially called Amar Bagh that translates to the oasis of relaxation. Built-in 1528 on the banks of River Yamuna, it’s about 5 km far away from the Taj Mahal. The thought of the garden inspired by a Persian garden that represents the Islamic idea of paradise. Therefore, Ram Bagh had lush greenery with a river flowing through it.
It’s two viewing pavilions that were inbuilt such how that the cool breeze from the Yamuna and therefore the trees would keep them fresh even during the height summer season. Mughal Emperor Babur spent tons of your time during this garden and also died here. Before moving his body to Kabul, it had been kept here for a few times. Not just him, Emperor Akbar and his son Jehangir also spent their time in Ram Bagh. This restored garden displays Nur Jahan’s skills as a garden designer.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN AGRA | Kinari Bazaar
If you’re keen on to buy and need to require back home something which will remind you of your Agra trip, head to Kinari Bazaar. A crowded market crammed with shops selling a number of the most straightforward local arts and crafts, Kinari Bazaar is behind Jama Masjid. You’ll need to brace yourself to steer through narrow lanes that are bursting with people to buy here. From shoes, fabrics, spices, jewellery to even marble work, you’ll find everything during this market. You’ll also sample local snacks at one among the various street shops. Kinari Bazaar opens at 11 am and shuts down by 9 pm. It’s open all days of the week except Tuesdays. Keep this for later once you’re through with sightseeing in Agra.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN AGRA
Being a tourist spot, Agra offers accommodation for all kinds of budgets. It also has homestays and hostels if you are doing not want to distribute an excessive amount of money. Budget accommodation can cost you anything from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 and may quickly found around the Taj Mahal. However, accommodation at a low-end or budget hotel isn’t advisable because it could instead be in one of the dirtier parts of the town. Mid-range hotels charge anywhere between Rs 1,000 to Rs 3,000. In contrast, tariffs at luxury hotels can go Rs 3,000 upwards. The posh hotels at Agra are among the simplest within the country, and since Agra receives tourists during the year, it’s advisable to book beforehand.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN AGRA
The town is best known for its petha, pedhas, gajak and dalmoth. Because of its Mughal past, Agra is additionally one among the simplest destinations to sample Mughlai cuisine.
Peshawari at ITC Mughal (0562 4021700) serves one among the most straightforward north Indian and Mughlai food. It’s on the lavish side, and you’ll expect to distribute Rs 2500 for dinner for two here. The non-vegetarian fare here is lip-smacking. Pinch of Spice (0562 4045353) may be a hole-in-the-wall place that serves fantastic food. If you’ve got an appetite, drop in Panchi Petha Store (+91 7055500774) at Agra Cantt that’s known for its wide selection of pethas.
From the regular ones to Kesar, chocolate, and paan flavoured pethas, this one may be a must-try. Bhagat Halwai at Civil Lines (+91 9045123333) is another local shop you ought to visit for a taste of Indian chaat and a few sweet treats. Don’t expect anything fancy from the atmosphere but the affordable and yummy food is what makes it popular among locals and tourists. Confirm you allow room for snacks like kachori and samosa within the evening that goes well with tea and are a standard delicacy in Agra.
EVENTS AND FESTIVALS IN AGRA
Agra is home to a variety of festivals and events that happen throughout the year to offer tourists a flavour of the town and something to recollect than only its sightseeing attractions. Here are a number of the highest festivals celebrated in Agra per annum.
Probably the most important celebration of the monument, Taj Mahotsav usually takes place in February per annum. It started in 1992 as a way of attracting more tourists and giving them something more. The event takes place on a grand scale and lasts for every week or more. From local artisans selling their crafts to ghazal performances, poetry sessions, plays and dance and music performances by celebrities, you’ll expect to possess a fun-filled time at Taj Mahotsav. Schedule for the festival is out there online days before the event, and you’ll prefer to continue the day your favourite artist is performing. The development charges a nominal fee for Indian nationals, and lots of the sessions are even free. The month of February you were chosen because the weather is typically pleasant and therefore, the influx of foreign tourists is usually high during this point.
Taj Literature Festival
Keeping up with its legacy of culture and art, Taj Literature Festival celebrates the Agra and its greats through the word. The event has seen a number of the simplest within the industry close to offering the audience the purest literary experience. In 2016, the Taj Literature Festival happened in February. Verses of Agra’s legendary poets like Mirza Ghalib and Mir Taqi Mir to the influence of Sufi saints on the town were a part of the festival in its previous years.
One of the most important annual events not just in Agra but the entire of north India, Ram Barat is an annual marriage procession for Ram that’s a part of the Ramlila. A replacement location is chosen in Agra and given a facelift to form it looks fitting for the royal procession. What started almost 125 years ago by a businessman named Lala Kokamal remains held per annum by his family. The parade lasts for 3 days and other people from all parts of the county visit Agra to witness this carnival.
The world’s chosen is given more funding to embellish it for the special day. Skilled craftsmen create giant structures just like the Janak Mahal and streets are lit up for the procession. The preparations begin well beforehand to make sure that things go smoothly. There’s non-stop music and film theatres run movies all night long to stay the people that have come from other cities entertained. These three days are absolute fun for those that love such festivities.
Just 12 km off Agra may be a town called Kailash that houses the Kailash temple outside which the annual fair organized in August or September. Kailash Fair may be a fun-filled affair that draws people of north India especially Shiva devotees. It’s believed that Shiva himself paid a visit to Kailash within the sort of a stone lingam. The fair is held per annum to celebrate and pray to the Lord and seek his blessings. Not only for religious people, but Kailash Fair is also one of the first colourful celebrations because the whole place decorated and stalls put up.
Sweets, street food, arts, crafts, etc. Are available at these stalls and other people throng in large numbers to be a neighbourhood of it. They first pay a visit to the temple where they provide milk and flowers then enjoy the celebration outside. Kailash Fair is ideal for witnessing one among the first colourful festivals within the country.
NEARBY PLACES FROM AGRA
After you’re through with your best places to visit in Agra and you’ve got each day or two in hand, you’ll visit nearby places on the brink of the town. Uttar Pradesh is home to many other attractions that aren’t too distant from Agra. We recommend that you simply take some time to go to these places also.
PLACES TO VISIT NEARBY AGRA | Mathura
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Located just 49 km far away from Agra, Mathura is famous for being the birthplace of Krishna and for its celebration of Holi and Janmashtami. Not only this, a visit to Mathura is incomplete without sampling its sweets. The town is one among the seven in India that’s believed to grant moksha.
When in Mathura visit places just like the Garbha Griha at the Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple. It’s believed to be a jail cell and therefore the exact birthplace of Krishna. Vishram Ghat is another place of spiritual importance. Consistent with mythology, this is often where he rested after killing his maternal uncle Kansa. The Dwarkadhish Temple isn’t just an area of worship but additionally known for its intricate architecture. Rangbhoomi is another place of interest as this is often where the fight between Krishna and Kansa happened.
PLACES TO VISIT NEARBY AGRA | Vrindavan
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For devotees of Krishna, a subsequent stop is Vrindavan that’s 55 km far away from Agra. If Mathura was the birthplace of Krishna, Vrindavan was where he grew up. the whole city may be a pilgrimage and one among the oldest cities within the world.
When in Vrindavan, don’t miss a visit to the Banke Bihari Temple. It’s one among the foremost popular ones, and therefore the idols here are hidden from public view by a white curtain that lifted every jiffy. It had been inbuilt in 1864 and attracted an outsized number of devotees per annum. The Jaigurudeo Temple is formed of white marble resembling the Taj Mahal and features a strange custom of not accepting any donations from non-vegetarians. The ISKCON Group that has temples across India has one in Vrindavan too. Singing and dancing in praise of Krishna is sort of common here.
PLACES TO VISIT NEARBY AGRA | Bharatpur
Situated 54 km from Agra, Bharatpur may be a haven for bird lovers because it houses the Bharatpur park and has over 300 species of birds including Siberian Cranes that migrate here within the winter. It had been earlier a hunting ground for royals, and therefore the British but now offers a safe environment for its flora and fauna. Ducks, hawks, flycatchers, larks, buntings, etc. are a couple of this park’s attractions. If you’re keen on history and architecture, Bharatpur has something future for you too. It’s majestic forts and palaces like the Deeg Palace which may be a fortress built by Badan Singh. You’ll find beautiful gardens and fountains here.
For a taste of both Mughal and Rajput architecture, head to Bharatpur Palace that’s known for its exquisite floor work. There’s a museum within the palace that has artefacts dating back to the second century and shouldn’t miss. After this, visit the Lohagarh Fort that translates to the iron fort. British tried destroying it multiple times, but it couldn’t break and thus became a logo of strength and victory.
PLACES TO VISIT NEARBY AGRA | Gwalior
A little further away, about 119 km far away from Agra lies Gwalior which makes for a true weekend getaway from the town. Known for its architecture of majestic palaces, forts, and temples, Gwalior is ideal for a family trip with kids. Music too may be a big part of Gwalior’s culture, and it’s the country’s first-ever museum of musical instruments.
One of the prime tourist attractions in Gwalior is that the Gwalior Fort that gives majestic views of the valley. Perched on a hilltop, it makes for an imposing monument. The Scindia Museum is another attraction within the city and is within the Jai Vilas Palace. Visit the Kala Vithika museum for a taste of the culture and tradition of Madhya Pradesh.
PLACES TO VISIT NEARBY AGRA | Delhi
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219 km far away from the historical city of Agra lies India’s capital Delhi. A buzzing city with such a lot to supply, there’s never enough time to explore it. However, you’ll still manage to ascertain parts of it counting on your interests. Foodie, shopaholics or history lovers, Delhi has something for all and more. While covering all of it’s going not to be possible, take your pick and luxuriate in the maximum amount as you’ll.
Delhi is home to a number of the foremost famous monuments within the country just like the Red Fort, India Gate, Qutub Minar, etc. Not only these, but statues of spiritual importance also dot the town. A number of these are the Jama Masjid, Akshardham Temple and Lotus Temple.
For shoppers, there are several markets in Delhi that provide everything from designer boutiques to affordable fashion. Brides-to-be usually throng Chandani Chowk while Sarojini Nagar is for people trying to find an honest bargain. Delhi Haat is legendary for its collection of garments and handicrafts from local artisans from the country. If you would like to sample several Delhi’s lip-smacking foods, head to Paranthewali Galli in Chandni Chowk or Hauz Khas Village for pubs, restaurants, and clubs. Connaught Place or CP is another place to go to for fantastic food and branded shops. It’s best to require the metro to avoid stuck in traffic in Delhi.