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Tourist Places To Visit In Agra
A city known for its ancient charm, Agra is a city in Uttar Pradesh (North India). It makes for a splendid picture in architecture and ambience. Glorified by Mughal-era structures and culture, Agra is nestled on the banks of the river Yamuna. Thronged by tourists all through the year, Agra is made up of some of the best known and beloved historic buildings in the world. The best tourist places to visit in Agra (yes, Taj Mahal is at the top) are plenty and bountiful, listed here.
Built in the memory of Shah Jahan's queen Mumtaz Mahal, this monument of love need no introduction. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and holds an impressive aura around its opulence. Built of marble and inlaid with semi-precious stones, this monument is one of the most beautiful and thought-provoking buildings in all of India. Completely symmetrical and fascinating, you will find verses from the Koran inscribed on it and 22 small domes that indicate the number of years the imposing structure took to build. Decorated with precious stones and delicate inlay work, the Taj Mahal definitely takes pride of place in the list of things to see in Agra.
Sometimes called the Red Fort, the Agra Fort was commissioned by Akbar and is built out of red sandstone. Housing famous buildings like the Moti Masjid, Diwan-e-Am, Diwan-e-Khas, Shish Mahal and Jahangir's Palace, this fort is truly a class apart when it comes to Mughal architecture. Glorifying a rich Mughal past that has influenced the present Agra culture, the Agra Fort is a place to visit if you are looking to soak in the classic historical aura of the city.
Akbar's latter capital, Fatehpur Sikri is an opulent structure, and is one of the three World Heritage Sites in Agra. Later abandoned by Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri flaunts an imposing Buland Darwaza, which was built to commemorate Akbar's victory over Gujarat. Built of red and buff sandstone and decorated with black and white marble inlay work, the Buland Darwaza and Fatehpur Sikri as a whole is a sight to behold.
Akbar's Tomb, Sikandra
The last resting place of the great Mughal Emperor Akbar, this Tomb reflects his broadmindedness and elegance coupled with the grandeur of Mughal architecture. This red-ochre sandstone structure is beautifully crafted, with 99 names of Allah inscribed on the tomb. If you visit Agra, it would not do to skip visiting this opulent building as it is the cornerstone of one of the most important chapters of Mughal history.
Located opposite Agra Fort, the Jama Masjid is one of India’s biggest most intricately designed mosques. It registers high footfalls of locals as well as tourists. Constructed by Shah Jahan for his princess daughter Jahanara, the mosque is all red sandstones and pretty Islamic architecture. Do visit for a quick tour, any time between 6 in the morning in and 6 in the evening.
North to Taj Mahal’s fancy perimeter is the gorgeous Mehtab Bagh. This garden is a hidden asset of Agra, not caught by most everyday tourists. Its quadrilateral shape with a layout that contains four gardens in one is built on the lines of the paradise design mentioned in Quran. You can get a perfect view of the Taj from here. From this vantage, it is said, Shah Jahan watched the moon set over Taj Mahal when he missed his wife. Couple photoshoots, afternoon picnics and relaxing me-time are best spent here.
A mausoleum, as the name suggests, this tomb lies on the bank of Yamuna. Its interiors are breathtaking, as is the architecture that is inspired by Taj Mahal’s white marble effect. Added to the white is special red sandstone imported from Rajasthan, and voila! You have a baby Taj! Nur Jahan built this tomb back in the 1600s, had it beautified with jali windows and intricate marble inlays of semi precious gemstones, and immortalised Itmad-ud-Daulah.
Sikandra Fort is where Emperor Akbar’s tomb lies. With its magnificent darwazas, tombs and a mix of Hindu and Islamic architecture, the Sikandra Fort is great for exploration by those who enjoy history and architecture. You can visit it between 6 in the morning and 6 in evening, at an entry fee of INR 15 per Indian and INR 110 for a foreign national.
Literally translating to pearl palace, this was also built by Shah Jahan. The beauty of this palace, located on the banks of Yamuna, is cooling to the eyes. It is one of the best palaces around to visit. The delicate designs and shining marble exterior make Moti Masjid resemble pearls, giving it a sheen on moonlit nights. Do visit when in Agra.
Chini Ka Rauza
Chini Ka Rauza is made of chini tiles; beautiful, Turkish, decorated chini tiles. Another beautiful monument on Yamuna’s bank, Chini ka Rauza was constructed in 1635. It is a mausoleum and is decorated in Indo-Persian designs. Glazed glass windows give it a unique touch when compared to others in the area. The tomb of a poet — Afzal Khan is ensconced within its premises, with chini tiles of green, yellow, orange and turquoise tiles embellished, and paintings from the Quran etched.
Jodha Bai ka Rauza
Jodha Bai’s palace is another monument of Indo-Islamic unity that beautifies Agra’s land. It is the biggest red sandstone palace in Fatehpur Sikri and forms a unique tourist spot owing to the Gujarati elements in its architecture. The ceilings are painted in blue and there are symbols of Hindu as well as Muslim elements all through the structure.
Wildlife SOS is a conservation organisation and rescue centre based in Agra. Located inside the Sur Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, Wildlife SOS runs rescue operations for bears and brings them home to a natural environment where they are safe. You can visit their Education Conservation Walkway to learn about wild animals, especially bears, and the importance of their natural habitat. It’s a fun, outdoorsy visit, giving you a break from all the history and architecture.
Anguri Bagh means the garden of grapes. Not that there are real grapes growing here. But it is still a green landscape with sprawling lawns in Khas Mahal. The Mughals used this garden to relax and rejuvenate when in residence, enjoying the golden paintings and beautiful embellishments around. There are fountains, tanks and even hamams (open baths) that must have made the Mughals very happy back in the day. You can see these and more when here.
Agra’s bazars are such a delight to visit, from the handicrafts to the jewellery, carpets to fabrics and glassware — you will find so much unique material here. Agra markets are famous for their leather goods, rugs, textiles as well as silk and glassware. To shop, check out Sadar Bazar, Kinari Bazar and Subhash Bazar.