Agra is a well-known city resting on the bank of river Yamuna, in the Indian State of Uttar Pradesh. Agra is one of the most populous city in Uttar Pradesh and is regarded as the top North India tourist places. It is popular among tourists because of its Mughal style architecture and world heritage sites. Agra along with Delhi and Jaipur is included in Golden Triangle, while Agra, Lucknow, and Varanasi collective known as Uttar Pradesh Heritage Arc. Though Agra is largely associated with Mughal empire but the reference of this can be found in Mahabharata, which is an ancient Indian epic. The city is well connected via rail, road, and air. You may also opt to visit Delhi first and then transfer to Agra via bus or train route. Take a look at the Top places to visit in Agra, which would be beneficial for you, if you are planning to visit this city, which has some masterpiece architectural examples.
Taj Mahal is the first name, which would come in our mind while talking about Agra. The city “Agra” is sometimes referred as “City of Taj”. Taj Mahal is not only the famous monument in Agra or Uttar Pradesh. It is one of the most popular monument in the world. Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the world and also is listed amongst the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The grandeur and splendid architecture of this famous monument need no introduction. The monument is the display of Mankind’s achievement. This masterpiece was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal and it took about 22 years with more that 20000 labors to finish this finest and perfectly symmetrical example of architectural excellence. Verses of Holy Quran are inscribed on it and the monument is set amidst the beautiful garden. This is the most important landmark of the city and one of the top places to visit in Agra.
Agra Fort, well known as Red fort is another famous attraction in Agra after Taj Mahal. It is also listed in UNESCO World’s Heritage Site and is the example of architectural masterpiece. The fort was renovated by Mughal emperor Akbar and was later converted into a palace during is son (Shah Jahan) reign. The fort has some important buildings inside it like Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque), Diwan-e-Aam (Public hall), Diwan-e-Khas (Private Hall), Shish Mahal (mirrored palace) etc. It appears that this paradise was concealed by its forbidden exterior. This fort has a big historical significance, it was here that Shah Jahan was kept as a prisoner by his son Aurangazeb. Shah Jahan used to gaze at Taj Mahal from this fort for the last eight years of his life. You can’t ignore this fort when you are here, as it is second most important places to visit in Agra.
Fatehpur Sikri is 35 kilometers away from the city of Agra. It was built by Akbar 1570 in order to move his capital to this place. Later he abandoned it, due to the shortage of water. The place displays lots of important buildings of historical importance and is also listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You will behold the perfect combination of Islamic, Indian and Persian architecture here. Some of the important buildings in Fatehpur Sikri includes Buland Darwaza, Birbal’s house, Jama Masjid, Panch Mahal. Fatehpur Sikri should be in your list of places to visit in Agra if you want to catch the glimpse of Mughal grandeur.
Itimad-Ud-Daulah is referred as jewel-box or baby Taj. The tomb of Itimad-Ud-Daulah is considered as the draft of Taj Mahal. This tomb represents the second phase of Mughal architecture using white marble, the example of the first phase being Humayun tomb or Akbar tomb, where red sandstone was primarily used. It was built by Empress Nur Jahan, wife of Jahangir for her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg. The construction of this landmark is excellent and one must definitely visit Itimad-Ud-Daulah on his trip to Agra, to catch the excellence of the second phase of Mughal architecture.
Akbar Tomb Sikandra
Akbar Tomb is located in Delhi-Agra highway and is about 13 kilometers from Agra fort. One can visit this place. You may stop at this place while on your trip to Agra. Akbar Tomb, Sikandra is regarded as the last resting place of Mughal emperor Akbar. It is set amidst the lush garden with deer, rabbits, and langurs which are commonly found here. Jahangir, Akbar’s son completed the construction of this tomb in 1613 and 99 names of Allah have been inscribed on it.
Ram Bagh is the oldest Mughal garden in India and was built by Babur in 1528 on the bank of river Yamuna. It is about 3 kilometers from Taj Mahal. The garden is designed in such a way that the temperature here is pleasant throughout the year owing to the wind of Yamuna and greenery of the garden. Originally this garden was named as Aram Bagh which in English means “The garden of relaxation”. It is the place where Babur chose to relax and spend his leisure moments.
There are four ancient temples located in the 4 corners of Agra. Mankameshwar is one of those four temples. It is dedicated to lord Shiva. It is near to all the important landmark of the city. Located near Jama Masjid, about 1 kilometer from Agra fort and 2.5 kilometers from Taj Mahal, you may visit this temple with historical significance on your way to Agra fort. This temple might also interest you because it is surrounded by markets which are here from Mughal era.
Other notable places to visit in Agra are Jama Masjid, Mariam’s tomb, Mehtab bagh, Paliwal park, Keetham lake, Guru ka Taal, Mughal heritage walk etc. Agra is one of the important place in India with rich historical significance. Agra should be in the bucket list of every traveler, it is a must visit place before you die. Have you ever been to Agra before? Share your experience in comments.