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Top 10 Places to Visit in Agra

 

The city of Agra is most well-known as the home of the Taj Mahal. Besides being the location of one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Agra also stands in testimony to the great architectural achievements of the Mughal Empire. Some examples of these structures include the Agra Fort and Akbar’s Tomb.

A visit to Taj Mahal is a must-do for first time travelers to India. However, sometimes the grounds of the Taj can be crowded. To get a more peaceful view of the Taj Mahal, you can go to the Mehtab Bagh garden which offers great sunset views of this iconic structure.

Another must-see attraction in Agra is the small town of Fatehpur Sikri which is a nice excursion from the big city.

Highlights

  • Recognized as India’s most popular monument, the Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum built by Shah Jahan for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
  • Mehtab Bagh provides a picture-perfect view of the Taj Mahal from the fountain at the front of the entrance gate.
  • Agra Fort is a 16th-century red sandstone fortress that was constructed in 1573.
  • Akbar’s Tomb is built entirely out of sandstone and white marble and is surrounded by a beautiful garden designed by Akbar himself.
  • Fatehpur Sikri is a small town built by Emperor Akbar as a tribute to Sheikh Salim Chishti who accurately predicted the birth of Akbar’s long-awaited son.

The Taj Mahal

Standing on the banks of the Yamuna River, the Taj Mahal is India’s most recognized monument. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and is constructed entirely out of white marble.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site was built in 1631 by Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his third wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died while giving birth to their 14th child. The main building was completed in eight years, but the whole complex was not completed until 1653.

Upon entering the Taj Mahal complex, you will find ornamental gardens laid out in the classic Mughal style with four-parts separated by long walkways. The Taj Mahal sits at the northern end of the garden.

Under the main dome, you will find the empty rememberance tomb of Mumtaz Mahal surrounded by an elegant marble screen inlaid with various types of semi-precious stones.

The complex also contains a red sandstone mosque to the west which is a significant gathering place for the Muslims residing in the area. The Jawab, an identical building to the east, was built to maintain symmetry. Visitors can also explore the Taj Museum to see many original Mughal paintings.

The Taj Mahotsav Festival takes place every February from the 18th to 27th at Shilpgram near the Taj Mahal. The festival focuses on arts, crafts, Indian culture, and recreating the Mughal Era. Visitors can also enjoy camel rides, a spectacular procession with elephants, camels, and drummers, and plenty of good food.

Location: Dharmapuri, Forest Colony, Tajganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Hours: 6 am to 6:30 pm, not open on Friday

Mehtab Bagh

Located north of the Taj Mahal and overlooking the Agra Fort, Mehtab Bagh is the last of 11 Mughal gardens in Agra.

Inside the complex, you will find four sandstone towers and large pools that spread out from the center of the garden to each of the four corners. From the fountain at the front of the entrance gate, there is a picture-perfect view of the Taj Mahal.

Mehtab Bagh was constructed in 1631 by Emperor Babur. It reflects the typical Mughal style of architecture, with its four garden layout, square shape, and sides measuring 300 meters. Emperor Shah Jahan called Mehtab Bagh the ideal site to admire the Taj Mahal.

Location: near Taj Mahal, Dharmapuri, Forest Colony, Nagla Devjit, Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Hours: 6 am to 6 pm

Agra Fort

The Agra Fort, also known as the Red Fort of Agra, is a 16th-century fortress located close to the Yamuna River and only 2.5 kilometers away from the Taj Mahal. This fort was one of the first monuments in India to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Agra Fort was built in the Mughal architecture style and made purely out of red sandstone. The fort was constructed in 1573 under the reign of Emperor Akbar. It was originally built as a military base but was later converted into a royal residence by Akbar’s descendants.

The fort is renowned for its magnificent architecture, implementing Akbar's signature Islamic and Hindu styles. This structure took 4000 workers eight years to complete. The complex spreads across an area of three kilometers and is bordered by a 70-foot wall.

Within the complex, travelers can visit the ornate Mughal buildings including the Pearl Mosque, Diwan-i I Khas, Diwan-i I Aam, Moti Masjid, and Jahangiri Mahal. These buildings have their own remarkable design and ornamentation that make them a delight for every history and architecture lover.

Location: Agra Fort, Rakabganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Hours: 6 am to 6 pm

Itimad-ud-Daulah’s Tomb

The tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah is located on the eastern bank of the Yamuna River which is about a 25-minute drive from the Taj Mahal.

This monument is commonly referred to as the ‘Baby Taj’ because it is thought to be the inspiration for the world wonder. The mausoleum is made entirely out of white marble with pietra dura inlay. Every surface of the structure’s interior is decorated with motifs of flora, geometric structure, and trees.

The tomb was built by Nur Jahan, mother of Emperor Shah Jahan, for her father Itimad-ud-Daulah. It was the first Mughal structure to be made entirely of marble and the first of many tombs to be erected on the banks of the Yamuna.

Location: Moti Bagh, Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Hours: 8 am to 12 pm

Akbar’s Tomb

Akbar’s Tomb is located in Sikandra, a suburb of Agra, and is the final resting place of the great Mughal Emperor.

This structure was built in the Mughal architecture style with influences from the Hindu Rajputana. The main tomb is built entirely out of sandstone and white marble and is surrounded by a beautiful garden that was designed by Akbar himself. The entire structure is adorned with black slate and various decorated inlaid panels.

The tomb was built between 1605 and 1618. Emperor Akbar himself oversaw the construction of the tomb. Upon his death, the construction was completed by his son, Salim. You can also find the tomb of Akbar’s wife, Mariam-uz-Zamani Begam, located about a kilometer away from his.

Location: Tomb of Akbar The Great Area, Sikandra, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282007, India

Hours: 10 am to 6 pm, closed on Friday

Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri is a small town, located about 40 kilometers west of Agra, and is a great place to explore for travelers who are interested in ancient city ruins and the history of India’s empires.

This UNESCO World Heritage site was constructed out of red sandstone and is divided into two different parts. Fatehpur is the part of the city that is dedicated to religion and is the location of the Jama Masjid. Sikri is the portion of the city where the Mughal emperor and his family once lived.

Fatehpur Sikri was established in the 16th century by Emperor Akbar from the twin villages of Fatehpur and Sikri as a tribute to the famous Sufi saint, Sheikh Salim Chishti who accurately predicted the birth of the emperor’s long-awaited son.

Location: 40 kilometers west of Agra

Hours: 7 am to 7 pm, closed on Friday

Korai Village

Located along the Agra-Fatehpur Sikri highway, Korai Village is a small settlement inhabited by the local Kalandhar Tribe.

Korai Village offers travelers a great opportunity to explore rural life in India. With the help of a guide, visitors can interact with the villagers and learn about their simple lifestyle. On the tour guests will see the village huts, the local cooking methods, and the way the villagers go about their daily lives.

At one time, the people in this village used to own bears and their main form of entertainment was watching the various bear dances. Training bears used to be the people’s only source of income but has recently been outlawed due to government concerns.

Location: Off Agra Jaipur Highway, Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Top 5 Most Commonly Asked Questions about Agra:

1. What is the top must-see site in Agra?

As the most recognized monument in the country, the Taj Mahal is the number one thing to see in Agra. This exquisite marble mausoleum is an enduring monument to the love of Emperor Shah Jahan and his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

It is said that 20,000 stone carvers, masons, and artists from across India and as far as Turkey and Iraq were employed under a team of architects to build the Taj Mahal. The construction took over 20 years.

2. How can I see Agra in one day?

If you only have one day to spend in Agra, then don’t worry. It will still be possible to visit the city’s major attractions.

For visitors with limited time, we recommend first visiting the Taj Mahal early in the morning (at around 5 am) to avoid the afternoon heat and crowds. Then, return to your hotel to have breakfast. After a short rest, continue on to explore the Agra Fort and Itimad-ud-Daulah’s Tomb.

Then return to your hotel to have lunch and rest or enjoy the hotel's recreational facilities. You can also use this time to visit Akbar’s Tomb in Sikandra. In the evening, make sure to go to Mehtab Bagh to take in the mesmerizing view of the Taj Mahal during sunset.

3. When is the best time to visit Agra?

Agra is a city that can be visited all year round, although each season has its advantages and disadvantages.

During the hot season, from March to May, the temperatures in Agra are around 33°C (91°F). Although the temperatures are high, guests can still enjoy Agra by taking early morning and evening tours to avoid the heat. This time is also the low season for travel meaning more affordable prices on hotel and flight bookings.

The monsoon season in Agra is from June to September. During this time, Agra experiences an average rainfall of 191 mm (7.5 inches) which is more than normal but still manageable. This season also doesn’t see many tourists which means that top attractions will be less crowded and travel will be more affordable.

In Agra, the cool season is from November to February. The weather during this season is pleasant with an average temperature of 15°C (59°F) meaning that outdoor activities like exploring monuments are often more comfortable. However, major attractions will be very crowded and travel expenses will be higher at this time.

4. How should I get to Agra?

Agra can be reached from Delhi or Jaipur by many transportation methods. We recommend you book a private chauffeured car. This allows for more flexibility with when you leave and also a more comfortable journey.

To make traveling by private car more affordable, you can book a Golden Triangle tour package with transportation services already included.

5. What is there to do in Agra besides visiting the Taj Mahal?

There are many other beautiful attractions in Agra aside from the Taj Mahal. Here you can explore impressive Mughal structures such as the Agra Fort and Fatehpuri Sikri. Agra also has many renowned burial sites such as the tomb of Emperor Akbar and Itimad-ud-Daulah.

Explore India and Visit the Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is a must-see stop for travelers who are visiting India. If you are exploring India for the first time, then there is no better route than the Golden Triangle cities of Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra.

Below we have included some sample itineraries for you to draw inspiration from. When traveling with Asia Highlights, everything can be tailor-made to suit your specific travel goals. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about your trip.

Delhi to Agra: See the Elegant Garden-Tomb

First, you will leave Delhi in the morning and travel south to Agra in a private car which will take approximately 4 to 5 hours. On arrival, you will have time to relax at the hotel.

In the afternoon, you will take a guided tour of Itimad-ud-Daulah’s Tomb, or the ‘Baby Taj’. This elegant garden-tomb is the most innovate 17th-century Mughal building and was constructed from white marble, colored mosaic, and stone inlay.

Afterward, head to Mehtab Bagh which affords incredible views of the Taj Mahal. The Mehtab Bagh, or “Moonlight Garden”, is a beautifully landscaped garden located along the Yamuna River opposite the Taj Mahal. Here, you can enjoy your moment viewing the iconic Taj Mahal as the sun sets behind it.

A Shared History of the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort

In the early morning, you will take a guided tour of the Taj Mahal and have the opportunity to explore this incredible structure along with its gardens.

After watching the sunrise at the Taj, you will head to the Agra Fort which is an imposing red sandstone structure consisting of an enormous complex of courtly buildings.

Shah Jahan, the builder of the Taj Mahal, was imprisoned here by his son Aurangzeb. He spent the last years of his life here in an octagonal tower with clear views of the Taj Mahal.

Enjoy the rest of your day relaxing at the hotel. For our customers, we often reserve a beautiful retreat hotel with an outdoor swimming pool, spa, and wellness center that offers traditional Ayurvedic treatments. The hotel also has many places to relax with some refreshing beverages and authentic local dishes.