Agra Tourist Guide – Visit the Taj Mahal & Other Historic Attractions & Agra

Sights and attractions in Agra

Agra, located near Delhi, was the heart of the Mughal empire and is currently a popular tourist destination for its UNESCO heritage monuments. Along with Delhi and Jaipur, Agra completes the Golden Triangle of historic tourism. Here are the best sights and attractions in Agra.

1) Taj Mahal

One of the seven wonders of the modern world, this popular tourist destination needs no introduction at all. Completed in 1653, this mausoleum is a majestic artistic creation that can not be described in words.

Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, the monument stands on a raised marble platform with huge white minarets at its sides. The complex has four-square gardens based on Mughal style and has water channels. Inside the main building, you can find many calligraphy quotations from the Quran. The fake tombs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal are for display while the real ones are locked inside a chamber.

The complex also has a small museum which houses many original Mughal paintings. Across the Yamuna river, there is a beautiful garden called Mehtab Bagh, which gives a unique view of the Taj.

The ticket price is Rs.50 for Indians, Rs.540 for people from SAARC/BIMSTEC countries, Rs.1100 for others, respectively. There are additional charges of Rs.200 to visit the mausoleum. The monument is open to the public from sunrise to sunset and is closed on Fridays. It is open for night viewing on five nights in a month on the full moon in limited batches.

2) Fatehpur Sikri

The walled city is a historical complex built by Mughal Emperor Akbar. It served as the capital of the empire from 1571 to 1585 before being abandoned. The structures are mostly built with Red Sandstone. Some of the important places in the UNESCO World heritage site are.

a) Buland Darwaza​ – It’s a gateway to Jama Masjid courtyard The grand 50 meters tall structure was built as a symbol of Akbar’s victory over Gujarat.

b) Jama Masjid​ – It’s one of the largest mosques in India and is an important place for worship. It’s a blend of Persian and Islamic architecture with beautiful carvings and designs.

c) Tomb of Salim Chishti​ – It’s the burial place of the Sufi saint, Salim Chisti, as a mark of his respect for predicting the birth of Akbar’s son Jahangir. The building is made up of marble with beautifully carved intricate designs.

d) Diwan-i-Aam​-The Hall for Public Audience where the emperor used to interact with the subjects.

e) Diwan-i-Khas​ – It’s a beautiful structure where the emperor used to host private guests. The highlight of this place is the stunning Lotus Throne on the central pillar inside the hall.

f)  Ibadat Khana​ – It was the House of Worship where leaders of different religions gathered for discussions of their respective faiths.

g)  Mariam-uz-Zamani’s Palace ​- ​It was a palace built for Mariam-uz-Zamani, the Rajput wife of Emperor Akbar popularly known as Jodhabai, who was Emperor Jahangir’s Mother.

h)  PanchMahal​ – The four-storied structure was supposedly built for the ladies as a place for entertainment and relaxation. It has the design elements of a Buddhist temple and gives an excellent view of the surroundings.

The ticket price is Rs.40 for Indians and people from SAARC/BIMSTEC countries, and Rs.550 for others, respectively. The timings are from sunrise to sunset.

3) Agra Fort

The fortress located near the Taj Mahal served as the residence of the Mughal empire till 1638. The place was under the control of various empires, from Lodhi to Mughals to Marathas, and finally under the control of the British Empire. The current structure was built during the reign of Akbar using Red sandstone, and significant changes were made by Shah Jahan. A significant part of the fort is restricted to the public. Here are some of the places that are open for public viewing.

a)  Jehangir Palace – ​The palace was built for the Rajput wives of Emperor Akbar. It’s a blend of Hindu and Islamic architecture with impressive designs.

b)  KhasMahal-​TheWhitestructuremadeupofmarblewasbuiltbyShahJahan.The interiors are beautifully designed with floral and ornamental designs and beautiful gold works.

c)  Anguri Bagh​ – It’s a Mughal style garden that is believed to be built for ladies. There is also the famed Sheesh Mahal (Palace of mirrors) built with glasses imported from Syria, but it is closed to the public.

d)  MusammanBurj-​It’sabeautifulstructurebuiltby​​ShahJahanthatoffersabeautiful view of the Taj Mahal. He is believed to have been imprisoned at the same place by his son for the rest of his life.

e)  Diwan-i-Khas –​ The Hall for a private audience has an open-air gallery with a beautiful black stone and a beautifully designed interior room.

f)  Diwan-i-Aam – ​The open hall for a public audience where the emperor used to interact with the subjects.

The ticket price is Rs.40 for Indians and people from SAARC/BIMSTEC countries, and Rs.550 for others, respectively. The timings are from sunrise to sunset.

4) Akbar’s Tomb

It’s the final resting place of Emperor Akbar built by his son in the town of Sikandra. The building is made up of Marble and Red Sandstones with beautiful carvings and patterns. Mariam-uz-Zamani’s tomb is located nearby and can be visited alongside this monument. It’s a square tomb made up of Red Sandstones in the middle of a Mughal style garden.

The ticket prices for both monuments are Rs.20 for Indians and people from SAARC/BIMSTEC countries, and Rs.250 for others, respectively. The timings are from sunrise to sunset.

5) Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah

Located on the banks of the river Yamuna, this structure made up of marble is believed to be an inspiration for the design of the Taj Mahal. It was built by Nur Jahan, the wife of Emperor Jahangir, in memory of her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg, who was a Wazir (Minister) in the Mughal court.

The tomb is a masterpiece with Persian style architecture that has intricate designs on both interiors and exteriors, including floral and geometric patterns. The marble structure is located on a raised platform that can be accessed by gateways made of Red Sandstone. There is a Mughal style garden with walkways and water channels that surround the tomb.

The ticket prices are Rs.20 for Indians and people from SAARC/BIMSTEC countries, and Rs.250 for others, respectively. The timings are from sunrise to sunset.

General tips to Agra

The best time to visit is during winters starting from October to March. The period between April to June should be avoided as the summers are harsh.

Beware of hassling by local hawkers and vendors at sites like Fatehpur Sikri.

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