The City of Architectural Wonders
Turn the pages of history with an ancient city, known as Agra. Revealing a wonderful tapestry of life, the city of Agra gracefully stands in Uttar Pradesh. Sprawled over an area of about 189 sq km, it lies at an elevation of 171 m above the sea level. This crazy bustling town takes you to an ancient era while exploring its magnificent monuments, built by Mughals. This is the city of tombs and memorials which evokes the memories of past of the city. It houses the three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, The Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri & Red Fort.
Taj Mahal, the architectural marvel adds to the popularity of the place. The Agra Fort, Moti Masjid and Itmad-ud-daulah's Tomb are the other historical monuments of the destination. Agra speaks volume about Taj Mahotsava or Taj Festival, which is a big draw. Held in February, this cultural festival brings traditional Indian dance and music on a single platform for travellers coming from far and wide.
Agra is a city that finds its mention in the Hindu epic Mahabharat. Passing from Sikandar Lodhi, Babur and then Mughals, the city has witnessed the rise and fall of many rulers. During the rule of Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jahan, the glory of the city was at its peak. Akbar transformed the city it the centre of art, culture, commerce and learning, which was in its full bloom during the time of Shah Jahan.
Major Tourist Attractions in Agra
Taj Mahal Agra
Speaking volume about its matchless beauty, the Taj Mahal is settled among a well laid out garden. This massive marble structure was built in the 17th century by Shah jahan for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. This architectural wonder in white marble draws millions of tourists from all corners of the world.
Itmad-ud-daulah's Tomb Agra
The city houses another magnificent mausoleum, the tomb of Itmad-ud-daulah. It is a highly ornate edifice. The tomb marks an important departure from the tombs of the Mughal dynasty, constructed before its existence. Noor Jahan built this spectacular marble monument in her father’s memory. This double-storied marble tomb is adorned with mosaic and semi-precious stones.
Constructed by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, the Agra Fort is a finest specimen of design and built.
It houses a series of other buildings, encompassing Diwan-E-Aam, Diwan-E-Khas, the Moti Masjid and Musamman Burj. This crescent-shaped fort has some of the wonderful structures within that are named as Delhi Gate, Amar Singh Gate, Akbari Mahal and the Jahangiri Mahal.
Jama Masjid Agra
Being one of the largest mosques in Agra, Jama Masjid deserves a special mention. Built in 1648, it is famously known as Jami Masjid. This exquisite tomb is credited with the name of Jahanara Begum. Buland Darwaza is the colossal gate through which tourists can gain access to Jama Masjid.
The elegant tomb of a Sufi saint, Sheikh Salim Chishti also lies to the complex of the masjid.
Other Places to See
Sikandra, Chini ka Rauza, Dayal Bagh, Rambagh in Agra and Moti Masjid are the other places, which are worth to pay a visit.
Excursions around Agra
Mathura and Vrindavan are other culturally rich places that you can visit during your Agra tour. Both these cities have numerous significant temples. Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary of Bharatpur also lies nearby, which is an ornithologist's delight.
Best Time to Visit
The tomb can be visited any time of the year. Though the best time to visit Agra is between November and March when the weather is cool and conducive.
Rich & creamy Kormas, Pasandas and Nargisi Koftas are the popular cuisines of Agra.
Mughalai cuisine is also available in various restaurants.
There is a lot, tourists can pick up while travelling in Agra. This includes handicrafts and other shopping items like footwear, leather work, jewellery and carpets. Agra is famous for “Petha” (a sweet) and “Gazak”.
Agra has many options for accommodation. These vary from Luxury hotels to Budget hotels. There are several lodges and medium budget hotels.
How to Reach
Agra has its own airport. It takes only 40 minutes to reach Agra from Delhi by flight.
The city houses two railway stations and the Agra Cantonment is the larger. Besides Shatabdi Express, many super fast express trains link Agra with Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.
Agra is 204 km away from Delhi and can be easily accessed through a crossroads of national highways 2, 3 and 11. There are UP State Road Transport and private buses plying to and from the city.