Agra travel guide 2019 , Monuments to see in Agra
Situated on the banks of Yamuna River, the city hosts many UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Traditions ascribe the foundation of the city of Agra to Raja Badal Singh around 1475 A.D. The city came into limelight during the rule of Afghan King Sikandar Lodhi - who had made it the capital of his empire. Agra has witnessed the rise of the pomp and pageantry of three great Mughal monarchs - Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. They transformed the land into one of the greatest centres of art, culture, learning and commerce. In modern times, the city of Agra is famous for its superb inlay work on marble, soapstone by craftsmen, carpets, gold thread embroidery and leather work.
Sightseeing - Places to visit
For most of the time Agra alternated with Delhi as the capital of the Mughal Empire. As such one finds many marvels of the Mughal architecture in and around the city, the most famous of them being the Taj Mahal. Besides the Taj, the Agra Fort (also called the Red Fort) makes an interesting sight. Other major attractions include the tomb of I'timad-ud-Daulah, Jama Masjid, Akbar's tomb at Sikandra, Rambagh, the Mughal Garden and Dayal Bagh Temple. Besides the historical monuments, one can also explore Agra's rich heritage of handicrafts in its markets.
Monuments and Places to visit in Agra
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Taj Mahal (Closed on Friday) is regarded as the best example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India's rich history. The beauty of this magnificent monument is best viewed either early in the morning or on a full moon night.
Taj Mahal is everything that has been said about it and more. Taking 22 years and 20,000 men to build, the white marble was quarried 200 miles away and was transported to the site by a fleet of 1000 elephants. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as an expression of his love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, in mid-17th century, the Taj Mahal is truly one of the wonders of the world. Though the Taj appears to be amazingly perfect from almost any angle, it is the close-up marble inlay work, which is astounding. Be mesmerized by this outstanding piece of architecture.
Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is also known as Red Fort of Agra. This former imperial residence of the Mughal Dynasty is described as a walled palatial city. There are a number of exquisite buildings like Moti Masjid, Diwan-E-Am, Diwan-E-Khaas, Musamman Burj, Jahangir's Palace, Khaas Mahal and Sheesh Mahal to be visited.
Agra Fort lies in a bend of the River Yamuna, almost in the heart of the city. Approachable by two imposing gates and constructed of red sandstone, the citadel was built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar between the years 1565 and 1573. Encircled by a moat, this dramatic city within a city was the palace of three emperors, Akbar, Shah Jehan and Aurangzeb, each of whom made significant contributions to the wonderful architecture of the inner buildings – a combination of Persian (Islamic) and local Hindu styles.
Listed amongst the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fatehpur Sikri is one of the best preserved examples of Mughal architecture in India. Some of the must visit monuments in Fatehpur Sikri are: Buland Darwaza, Diwan-i-Khas- Hall, Panch Mahal, Tomb of Salim Chisti, the Palace of Jodha Bai and Diwan-i-Aam.
The deserted red sandstone city, Fatehpur Sikri is also known as the "city of victory". The city was founded in 16th century by the Mughal Emperor Akbar and served as the capital of the Mughal Empire. It was abandoned shortly afterwards due to water shortages. It consists of beautiful palaces, halls and mosques. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is an extraordinary place to wander around. Even after 300 years its buildings are in near perfect condition.
A 17th century Mughal mausoleum, the Tomb of I'timad-ud-Daulah is also known as Baby Taj and often regarded as a draft of the Taj Mahal. It is first tomb in India that is entirely made out of marble. Along with the main building, the structure consists of numerous outbuildings and gardens.
Built in 1622, I'timad-ud-Daulah is a tomb of Mir Ghiyas Beg, father of Empress Noor-Jahan, the wife of Emperor Jahangir. It overlooks the River Yamuna and is beautifully conceived in white marble, mosaic and lattice. Also described as a jewel box, it sets a precedent as the first Mughal building to be faced with white marble inlaid with contrasting stones.
Chini ka Rauza
Chini ka Rauza, one of the masterpieces of Indo-Persian architecture, is known for the finest examples of glazed tile work, called kashi or chini in Mughal era buildings. The glazed tile work is very artistic and finely done. Parts of the walls are still covered with the coloured enamel tiles that once enhanced the whole of the exterior and gave the tomb its name.
Built in 17th century, Chini ka Rauza is the tomb of renowned poet and scholar Allama Afzal Khan Mullah, who served as chief minister in Mughal emperor Shah Jahan's court. The rectangular- shaped structure, built facing the city of Mecca, has a bulbous tomb, an orthogonal chamber in the centre and blue tiles with several inscriptions. The tomb gets its name from the colourful tiles which are also known as 'chini'. On the top of the chamber are inscribed some Quranic verses. Although it is in a dilapidated condition, but still its craftsmanship is worth seeing.
Dayal Bagh is a self-sustained colony, where its inhabitants lead an active, disciplined and co-operative community life, conforming to the spiritual ideals of their faith.
India is a place inhabited by the people of different sects and religions. Radha Swami is also a faith followed by many people in India. Dayal Bagh, about 15kms from Agra, houses the Samadhi of the founder of the Radha Swami, Swamiji Maharaj. The main structure is a magnificent building of 110 feet in height, built in pure white marble. The building here is under construction since last 100 years and it is a belief that construction should never stop.
Mehtab Bagh or the Moonlight Garden is situated on the opposite bank of the Taj Mahal. It offers sweeping sunset views of the Taj Mahal reflected in the River Yamuna. The Mehtab Bagh is a four garden layout, typical of Mughal constructions, with beautiful flowering plants, pools and fountains.
Mehtab Bagh, the garden complex, is perfectly aligned with the Taj Mahal on the opposite bank of River Yamuna. The bagh was constructed by Emperor Babur and was the last of a series of 11 such gardens built along the bank of the river. Mehtab Bagh was built as an integral part of the Taj complex as the gardens of the Taj are perfectly aligned with Mehtab Bagh, making it the best place to view the Taj from.
Built in 17th century, the tomb of the Mughal emperor, Akbar, is an important Mughal architectural masterpiece. The structure is a medley of architectural styles, displaying more interest in experimentation than harmony of design.
The sandstone and marble tomb of Akbar, the greatest of the Mughal emperors, lies in a peaceful garden 4 km North West of Agra. The design and construction of the tomb was started by Akbar himself and subsequently completed by his son Jehangir in 1613. The southern gateway, the most impressive part of the complex, is made of red sandstone inlaid with abstract patterns in white marble. The tomb itself has four stories, three of red sandstone and the fourth of marble. True to Akbar's philosophy of a single unifying religion, his tomb shows a blend of motifs and styles of various religions.
The Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque) is a 17th century mosque in the World Heritage Site of Fatehpur Sikri in Agra. This is one of the largest mosques in India and is a most sought after pilgrimage site by the devotees.
Jama Masjid was built in 1648 by Emperor Shah Jahan and dedicated to his loving daughter, Jahanara Begum. This is one of the largest mosques in the country today. The mosque was built by uses of both red sandstone and white marble to create a magnificent evidence of Mughal architecture. Inlaid geometric designs, coloured tiles and calligraphic inscriptions adorn the walls of the Jama Masjid.
Located in Sikandra, a suburb of Agra, the tomb is the mausoleum of Mariam-uz-Zamani, the Hindu consort of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. The mausoleum is of architectural importance in the category of Mughal tombs without a dome.
The tomb houses the mortal remains of Mariam Zamani, a Rajput Princess of Amber (Jaipur) and the wife of Emperor Akbar and mother of Jahangir (Salim). The tomb was built by Jahangir, in memory of his mother Mariam-uz-Zamani. The structure was originally a pleasure pavilion under Sikander Lodi who built it in AD 1495. Additions and renovations were made in 1623 AD when this pleasure pavilion was converted into a tomb.
One of the earliest Mughal gardens, it is believed to be laid out by Mughal Emperor Babur, the founder of Mughal dynasty. A number of fountains, channels and waterways adorn the magnificent Ram Bagh Gardens, which draws its water from the River Yamuna.
The Aram Bagh is the oldest Mughal Garden in India, originally built by the Mughal Emperor Babur in 1528. It is said that Babur was temporarily buried here before being taken to Kabul in Afghanistan. The bagh provides an example of a variant of the charbagh in which water cascades down three terraces in a sequence of cascades.
Experiences of Agra
Experience this unique mode of transport in Agra with a ride in colourful Tonga (horse-driven carriage).
Tongas are horse driven carriages that are colourfully decorated. A Tonga Ride is sheer fun and frolic and gives a distinctive experience of the local life. The ride will end at the legendary monument Taj Mahal (entrance gate). Feel like a royal persona and at the same time have incredible amount of fun in this comfortable ride.
Rickshaw ride is a great way to discover a different aspect of Agra and experience the energy of the city.
Explore Agra in the most unique way with "Rickshaw Ride". Get familiar with roots of the place and sink in the frenzy of its colours, vivacity and irresistible charm. The rickshaw ride offers an insight into the local life.
Hi-Tea with Indian Family at Their Residence
Enjoy a taste of local life by visiting a colonial family home for high tea and get to know more about the culture and tradition in urban India.
Visit a beautiful Colonial bungalow, learn about the British Rule and the Colonial face of Agra with High-Tea along with the family whose ancestor served in the Royal British Indian Army and fought World War II.
Cooking Demo with Meal
Enjoy the delicious meal and experience India from a local's perspective. Learn about Indian cuisine with the cooking demo.
A warm and friendly welcome by the host, who then showcase the typical ingredients and traditional cooking techniques while preparing a feast of authentic fare. Later enjoy the meal with the family and get to interact and understand the Indian culture, values and traditions from different perspective.
Enjoy the delightful miracles up-close in the illusionary Magic Show.
Magic is one of the oldest performing arts in the world in which audiences are entertained by staged tricks or illusions of seemingly impossible or supernatural feats using natural means. The magician will delight and amaze with his skill and sleight of hand. A truly memorable, fun and laughter packed show.
Mohabbat the Taj
Mohabbat-the-Taj is one of the most interesting and mesmerizing play that depicts the famous tale of love. The Drama tells the story of true and eternal love of Mughal Emporer Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaj Mahal.
The Drama portrays the Mughal era in 16th century. It is a series of play depicting the true and immortal love of Shajahan for Mumtaj Mahal- his beautiful wife; the lavish lifestyle of Mughal era; immaculate hardship of the artisans for 22 years that created the most precious specimen of craftsmanship. The show can be enjoyed in eight different languages including Hindi and English.
Heritage Walk of Agra
This Heritage Trail of Agra brings out amazing behind the scenes of life and times throbbing in the shadows of the Taj Mahal. Learn about the architecture, history and the age-old traditions and customs of this iconic city.
The Heritage Walk is a tour through the historically significant monuments from the Mughal era situated on the other side of the River Yamuna. On this walking trail, visit some of the lesser known river front monuments such as the Rambagh, a pleasure garden built by the first Mughal Babar, the Gyarah Sidi (11 Steps) that helped the early Mughals study star constellations and the Itimad-ud-Daulah, all rare remnant of pre-Taj architecture.
Sound and Light Show @ Agra Fort
This sound and light show provides an insight into the history of the monument, which is a visual delight.
The beauty and glory of the historical monuments are brought back to life with sound and light. The show is based on the story of Emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz's love story. The stage has a beautiful replica of Taj Mahal which is used as a background of the stage. The show is conducted in two languages i.e. Hindi and English.
Taj Mahal (Sunrise Visit)
Rise early and visit Taj Mahal (closed on Friday). This time of the day is the least crowded and affords a very peaceful and tranquil experience of the world most romantic site.
It is fitting to see this extraordinary monument Taj Mahal (closed on Friday) by the first light of day as its exemplary beauty is awe-inspiring and will create an unforgettable memory. This time of the day is the least crowded and affords a very peaceful and tranquil experience of the world most romantic site.
Taj Mahal (Sunset Visit)
In the evening head to the Taj Mahal (closed on Friday) to admire the beauty of the monument at sunset
The Taj displays its different moods through its varied shades. The Taj is pinkish in the morning, milky white in the evening, golden when the moon shines and the intermediary variants during different hours of the day and during different seasons in a year. Sunset is one the best time to admire this beautiful monument.
Taj Mahal (Moonlight Visit)
Visit the Taj Mahal by moonlight and admire its marble perfection under the mellow radiance of the full moon.
Under the light of the full moon, the Taj Mahal is said to appear at its best - shimmering like a fairy-tale castle. Night viewing of Taj Mahal is available on five days in a month i.e. on full moon night and two nights before and two after the full moon. P.S. Night viewing of the Taj Mahal is closed on every Friday & in the month of Ramzan.
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Old Agra: The Road Not Taken
On this walk visit the older part of Agra what was once an important trading centre of the Imperial capital of the Mughals.
Explore the hidden alleys of Old Agra. As one enters the lanes of Old Agra, get to peep inside shops, temples and lives of people to relive the life and times of a city that has an enduring history that predates and goes beyond the glorious era of the Taj Mahal, where it was a prosperous mercantile town during late-Mughal and days of the British Raj.
Tales from Across the River
Discover fascinating stories about Agra from across the River Yamuna.
Learn about the solitary corner turrets, ruined pavilions, Tombs, Mughal Pleasure Gardens and whole set of smiling people who calls Agra their home. Visit some of the lesser known river front monuments such as the Rambagh, a pleasure garden built by the first Mughal Babar, the Gyarah Sidi (11 Steps) that helped the early Mughals study star constellations and the Itimad-ud-Daulah, rare remnant of pre-Taj architecture.
Experience some amazing behind the scenes of life and times throbbing in the shadows of the Taj Mahal.
This trail is a community based enterprise where a youth from the local community will show round. The money collected from this walk goes directly to funding various welfare works such as upgrading schools, building toilets etc. in the area and in creating sustainable livelihoods.
The Mystical Braj
Visit Ashrams in Gokul and interact with Sadhus to discover more about the importance of the Guru (mentor) – Shishya (disciple) relationship.
This trip is only a 60 minute drive from Agra and can be enjoyed as a day tour. For a complete immersion, it is possible to stay in Braj for two nights. Visit Ashrams in Gokul and interact with Sadhus to discover more about the importance of the Guru (mentor) – Shishya (disciple) relationship. Visit a Goshala (cow shelter) and see why it is considered holy in India and how it is maintained in accordance to Hindu philosophy.
The Colonial Tour
The Colonial Tour of Agra gives an insight into the life and times of a cantonment during the days of the British Raj.
The Colonial Tour of Agra not only gives an insight into the life and times of a cantonment during the days of the British Raj but also allows admiring some of North India's most beautiful Indo-Saracenic architecture unhurriedly. It is a 3hr easy paced tour which can be experienced either on a car, coach or battery operated rickshaws. Short walks are involved in between. The tour covers a distance of close to 4kms in the cantonment area.
Agra at Dawn - Bicycle Tour
This bicycle tour will showcase the city up close and personal.
This cycle tour offers a unique opportunity to have a closer look at the city and life of Agra. In this tour lesser known monuments, which are often skipped, are covered. The tour also gives a chance to witness the early morning bustle at the wholesale Vegetable and Flower Market and Shoe trading market.
Agra by Night
This experiential tour provides the opportunity to explore many of Agra's famous landmarks at their floodlit best.
Learn about the famous sights, their history and their significance from the city's past to its present. The tour is an ideal use of the time between monument related sightseeing and dinner. Some of the highlights include the visit to an Indian home and also a short insight into India's many religions. This tour is partly covered by car and partly on foot.
Yoga Overlooking the Taj Mahal
Give a healthy start to the day with Yoga.
Yoga being a gem of Indian culture is not only a way to keep oneself healthy and fit, but it's more of a way of life. This session covers Asana, Dhyana and Pranayama at a lush green mound of Taj Khema, about 150 meters from the Taj Mahal, overlooking the same. It is best suited for all, be it a beginner or a pro, child or an adult.