The Taj Mahal is a symbol of India, attracting millions of visitors each year to the city of Agra. This gorgeous landmark is everything you’ve imagined it to be. While most visitors are eager to get out of Agra’s obnoxious touts and tiring crowds as soon as they leave the Taj Mahal, you should consider staying a little longer.
The Taj Mahal is only one of the many magnificent sights to see in Agra. You can see the historically significant Agra Fort, the breathtakingly magnificent Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah, Fatehpur Sikri, which houses one of India’s largest mosques, and Mehtab Bagh, a tranquil park in the shadows of the Taj Mahal.
Animal lovers, take note: Agra is home to two caring wildlife programs (the Agra Bear Rescue Center and the Elephant Conservation and Care Center), both of which invite visitors to learn about India’s most adored animals.
Don’t be fooled by other travelers who claim there’s nothing more to see in Agra except the Taj Mahal. With our list of the greatest attractions in Agra, you can plan your vacation to this heritage hotspot.
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1. Taj Mahal
It’s been documented in history books, postcards, and social media posts. But now that you’ve arrived in India, you’ll get the opportunity to visit the Taj Mahal in person.
The majestic building was built in the 17th century. Mughal emperor Shah Jahan was distraught when his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, died in childbirth, and he chose to build a white monument to honor her. It took more than 20 years to finish the project, which required the work of 20,000 people.
There’s never a terrible time to see the Taj Mahal, but it’s recommended to go there early in the morning when the sun shines brightly on the structure. The west and east entrances to the UNESCO World Heritage Site are open to visitors. Once inside, stroll through the gorgeous gardens, which have soothing water features that mirror the Taj Mahal. After that, go inside the Taj and marvel at its flawless symmetry and white marble with exquisite floral cavings and semiprecious stone inlays.
The Kau Ban Mosque, west of the Taj, and the Jawab, a building designed to mirror the mosque and maintain symmetry on the Taj Mahal’s eastern side, continue the tour of the Taj Mahal complex.
Keep your Taj Mahal ticket since it entitles you to same-day discounts at other adjacent sights in India, such as Fatehpur Sikri and Itimad-ud-Tomb. Daulah’s
Dharmapuri, Forest Colony, Tajganj, Agra is the address.
Visit the Taj Mahal’s official website at https://www.tajmahal.gov.in/.
2. Agra Fort
Agra Fort, a centuries-old red sandstone stronghold that was formerly the imperial metropolis for a dynasty of Mughal monarchs, is another UNESCO World Heritage Site in the city.
It’s like strolling around a city within a city when you go sightseeing here. The Jahangir Mahal, a gigantic palace that merges beautiful Hindu-inspired characteristics (such as overhanging enclosed balconies) with Central Asian architectural components, is the most spectacular structure at Agra Fort (such as the signature pointed arches). The golden central court, where royal women used to spend their days, is open to visitors.
Other notable structures include Anguri Bagh (a courtyard with puzzle-piece-like outlines of gardens around water channels), Khas Mahal (a palace with pavilions made of white marble and red sandstone), Musamman Burj (an octagonal tower with intricate marble inlay work), and Diwan-i-Khas (a palace with pavilions made of white marble and red sandstone) (a gathering hall featuring a pair of black and white marble thrones).
Agra Fort will take at least a couple of hours to view because there is so much to see. After a morning at the Taj Mahal, it’s a terrific place to visit in the afternoon.
https://www.agrafort.gov.in/ is the official website.
3. Itimad-ud-Daulah’s Tomb
Another of Agra’s magnificent constructions is Itimad-ud-Tomb, Daulah’s which is situated on the banks of the Yamuna River. Mirza Ghiyas Beg, a Persian officer who served the Mughal empire, and his wife are buried in the mausoleum.
According to legend, this jewelry box-like tomb was the model for the Taj Mahal, earning it the moniker “Baby Taj.” Each corner of the red sandstone and marble structure has a 13-meter-high hexagonal tower.
The most notable aspect of this attraction, however, is that it was the first to employ pietra dura, an iconic Indian inlay technique that employs semiprecious stones to create ornate flower designs in marble. From floor to ceiling, the beautiful structure features stunning geometric patterns, images of vases and cups, and delicate flower bouquets reminiscent of those on the Taj Mahal.
Despite its magnificence, Itimad-ud-Tomb Daulah receives significantly fewer tourists than other sights in Agra, giving it a great place to enjoy the beautiful features without being surrounded by crowds.
Moti Bagh, Agra is the address.
4. Mehtab Bagh
At Mehtab Bagh (Moonlight Garden), a square garden complex measuring 300 meters on each side, the Taj Mahal almost looks to reach across the Yamuna River. It’s the last of nearly a dozen Mughal-built gardens in the area, and it’s the only one now standing.
The park now has some lovely flowering trees and plants, which is a significant improvement over its situation in the mid-1990s, when it was just a sand dune. Mehtab Bagh is being restored to its former splendor by the Archeological Survey of India, which is planting Mughal-era plants in the hope of making it Agra’s counterpart to Central Park.
The environment perfectly coincides with the Taj’s gardens, making it one of the best sites in Agra to see (or photograph) the magnificent building, especially around sunset. Outside the complex’s gates, you can purchase Taj Mahal trinkets and other goods from local vendors.
Dharmapuri, Forest Colony, Nagla Devjit, Agra is the address.
5. Subhash Emporium
Any tourist visiting Agra will fall in love with marble inlay because of the beautiful attractions in the area. Subhash Emporium is the place to go if you want to take a piece of exquisite artistry home with you. The boutique has a long history of being the go-to spot in Agra for stone handicrafts.
Inside, you’ll find floral coaster sets, animal statuettes, miniature boxes, and candle holders, among other travel-friendly marble inlay mementos. Larger goods, such as lamps, tabletops, and carved-marble trays, are also available for purchase and can be shipped directly to your home.
Even if you don’t intend to shop, Subhash Emporium is worth a visit for its enthralling demonstrations. The skilled artisans here will demonstrate the precise process of inlaying little pieces of polished stone into hard marble, which may make the objects’ exorbitant pricing appear more acceptable.
Address: Shahzadi Mandi, Agra, 18/1 Gwalior Road, Opp BSNL office
http://www.marbleemporium.com is the official website.
6. Akbar’s Mausoleum
Emperor Akbar the Great controlled the Mughal realm for nearly 50 years, expanding its dominion to encompass the majority of the Indian subcontinent’s northern half. His remains (together with those of two of his daughters) can be located in Akbar’s Mausoleum, which is today one of Agra’s most renowned tourist sites.
A magnificent sandstone and marble monument with remarkable marble inlay in a range of colors is part of the complex. Mughal gardens surround the structure, which are home to deer, antelope, monkeys, and even a few peacocks.
If you’re traveling with a compass, this is the place to use it. You’ll observe that the tomb faces east, as opposed to practically every other Mughal tomb, which faces Mecca.
Sikandra, Agra is the address.
7. Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri, only an hour’s drive from the Taj Mahal, is a wonderful day excursion from Agra. The city, which was previously the capital of the Mughal Empire, was erected by Akbar as a tribute to Shaikh Salim Chishti, a prominent Sufi saint who properly predicted the birth of an heir. When water supplies were insufficient, residents abandoned the city not long after it was created.
Tourists can now visit the well-preserved red sandstone ghost town, which is still enclosed by a fortress wall. Check out the Jama Masjid, a mosque that was one of the city’s first structures to be completed. Then have a look at the three palaces that were erected for each of Akbar’s brides. They include a variety of religiously inspired architectural designs to celebrate the women’s unique spiritualities.
Finally, take a walk off the usual route to Hiran Minar, a circular spiked tower topped with stone elephant tusks from which Akbar is said to have gazed at wildlife.
Visit the Archaeological Museum near the Diwan-i-Am main entrance to learn more about this remarkable landmark. Grey porcelain pot fragments, terra-cotta lamps, small human heads in stone, jewelry molds, and other treasures from the Mughal era and beyond can be found in its four galleries.
https://www.fatehpursikri.gov.in/ is the official website.
8. Agra Bear Rescue Center
India has a complex relationship with animals, from its veneration for cows to temples dedicated to certain animals. However, not all traditions have been nice to four-legged animals. Dancing sloth bears, for example.
For thousands of years, India’s Kalandar clan has poached sloth bear cubs, forcing them to put on terrible “performances” for a paying audience by driving a red hot poker and coarse rope through their muzzles and yanking on the string. In 1972, India made the practice illegal. The cruelty, however, continued, forcing animal rights organizations like Wildlife SOS to save the bears.
Around 200 of these rescued dancing bears may be seen at the Agra Bear Rescue Center. It allows guests to visit the facility for three two-hour sessions per day, which include a guided tour, a documentary screening about the rescue operations, and a chance to view the bears playing, foraging, and climbing trees. It’s a touching event, with all earnings benefiting rehabilitation initiatives.
Address: Inde, Muranda, Agra, National Highway 2
Official website: https://wildlifesos.org
9. Elephant Conservation and Care Center
Wildlife SOS isn’t just concerned with sloth bears; the animal welfare organization also cares for abused elephants at a sanctuary 30 kilometers outside of Agra. Around 20 rescued elephants who were forced to labor in difficult conditions can be seen during tours of the facility. Tourists who are lucky enough may be invited to assist in the preparation of food for the tusked creatures.
While you will undoubtedly have another opportunity to engage with elephants throughout your journey to India, visiting the Elephant Conservation and Care Center is by far the most ethical (and gratifying) method to do so.
NH2, Mathura, near Sachdeva Institute of Technology Thurmura Ghari
10. Agra’s Old City
Take a heritage walking tour of the Old City for an authentic glimpse at the lives of Agra’s current citizens. Tourists learn about Agra’s architecture, history, and culture during the three-hour trip, which takes them around the area.
You’ll witness devotees at the goddess temple and a large mosque, as well as visit the bustling wholesale spice market for an explosion of color and aroma. The local guide will also show you where you can get some of the best views of the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort, and the Jama Masjid. You’ll also have the opportunity to try Agra petha, a wax gourd-based dessert.
11. Gurudwara Guru ka Tal
Although the Mughals introduced Islam throughout India, the territory around Agra is also home to a devoted Sikh community. Many of them visit Gurudwara Guru ka Tal, a spiritual center near Agra, on pilgrimages.
The eight towers that remain of the structures original twelve were built in the 17th century, and modern tourists can see them. Tourists can also take advantage of the communal kitchen’s free lunches, which are ideal for refueling before returning to the city.
Address: Maharishi Puram Colony, Agra, Chennai-Delhi Highway
http://www.gurdwaragurukataal.com/ is the official website.
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