Taj Mahal

10 Places To Visit In Agra

Agra in Uttar Pradesh situated along the banks of River Yamuna has for a long time been recognized for the famous Taj Mahal. The city was formed in the early 16th Century during the Lodi Dynasty when Sultan Sikandar Lodi moved to the region as his Ruling Capital. However, in later years, the city was largely dominated by the Mughal Dynasty who has, through the times, left several footprints of their grandeur. The city boasts of many magnificent marble and red sandstone heritage monuments that have deep historic significances and are a delight for every architectural enthusiast.

Best time to visit (October to March) – The autumn and winter months of October to March have a pleasantly cool temperature. Since a trip to Agra mostly involved outdoor site-seeing, this naturally becomes the best time to enjoy the city to the fullest.

Tip: The Taj Mahotsav festival in February is held in February, along with several other fairs and festivals throughout these months.

Good time to visit (July to September) – Monsoon is also a good time to visit Agra as the city becomes bright and alive in the rain. Umbrellas and raincoats should be carried at all times during site-seeing.

Visit with Caution (April to June) – The scorching heat of Indian summer is intensely felt during these months making site-seeing a tiresome activity. If visiting during this time, it is advisable to wear very light cotton clothes, carry sunglasses, sunscreen lotion and drink lots of water.

By Rail  If travelling from any other city in India, the most convenient mode to reach the city is by train. Agra Cantonment Station has several trains connecting it to all other major cities in India.

By Road  Agra is well connected to all other cities of India through its network of National Highways. A well-established bus service is available plying buses daily between Agra and its neighboring cities Delhi (200kms), Jaipur (243kms), Gwallior (121kms), Lucknow (334kms) and Kanpur (235kms).

By Air  The Agra Airport is primarily a military base and hence does not allow commercial flights to land. However, it has a limited service by Air India flights from Delhi that are allowed to land seasonally. Hence, the best way is to fly to Delhi and drive down to Agra in a hired cab.

Must Visit Places in Agra

1. Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Photo by wiganparky0, CC0 1.0

Surpassing all other heritage buildings in India in its splendor and making its global mark as one of the Seven Architectural Wonders of the World, the majestic Taj Mahal in Agra is an awe-inspiring monument. The spectacular stark white marble building guarded by four minarets was built by Shah Jahan in 1632 on the banks of River Yamuna. The sole purpose of building the monument to house the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, The Emperor’s deceased wife making the Taj Mahal a popular symbol of eternal love. The mausoleum exhibits brilliant Mughal and Iranian architecture with arched balconies and corridors, high ceilinged chambers and a vaulted dome. The tomb of Mumtaz Mahal encased in white marble is the center of attraction in the octagonal building. The walls are decorated with skillful marble carvings, incised wall painting, precious and semi-precious gemstone settings and intricate ‘jali’ (lattice) work cut out from marble panels.

As plush as the interiors, the sprawling 300 square meter landscape outside the Taj Mahal has a central reflecting pool flanked by emerald lawns on both sides. The sheer beauty of the monument that attracts millions of tourists throughout the year is one to leave you awestruck.

  • Opening Timings – 6:00am to 6:00pm every day (Closed on Fridays)
  • Entry Fees – INR 510 for citizens of SAARC & BIMSTEC Countries
    INR 750 for other Foreign Tourists
    INR 20 for Indian Citizens

2. Jama Masjid

Jama Masjid

Photo by Hector Garcia, CC BY-SA 2.0

Hailed as one of the biggest mosques in India, Jama Masjid in Agra is another gift of architectural brilliance from Shah Jahan, built for his daughter Jahanara Begum. The mosque is built in Islamic style with red sandstone and has five arched gateways. The raised courtyard welcomes you with a view of a beautiful central fountain and opens into arched porticos and a massive entrance door. The most attractive features are the three ornate domes with beautiful white marble artwork. The silent interior of the mosque has a spacious prayer hall with the walls embossed with colorful stones, inscriptions on white marble slabs and other paintings.

Caution: Conforming to Islamic culture, a proper dress-code with knees covered needs to be worn in order to enter the mosque.

Opening Timings – 4:00am to 10:00pm everyday

3. Akbar’s Tomb

Akbar’s Tomb

Photo by Guilhem Vellut, CC BY 2.0

The marble infused red sandstone structure in Sikandara dating back to 1905 marks the burial ground of the famous Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great. Like in all monuments from the Mughal era, the front façade of Akbar’s Tomb is an exquisitely curved masterpiece. The arched gateway is flanked by four minarets and the entire campus is surrounded by a high wall. The interior of the building are divided into several galleries with beautifully curved out pillars. The walls of the chamber in which Akbar’s Tomb is housed is decorated with ornately designed panels of red sandstone. The cenotaph is a multi-tiered structure marking the location of the actual tomb lying far below in the basement.

  • Opening Timings – 6:00am to 6:00pm everyday
  • Entry Fees – INR 110 for Foreign Tourists
    INR 10 for Indian Citizen

*Free entry for children below 15yrs and on Fridays

4. Agra Fort

Agra Fort

Photo by sarangib, CC0 1.0

The 16th Century Agra Fort is an example of the unique Mughal solidarity as it stands tall and proud on the right bank of River Yamuna. The red sandstone monument also known as ‘Lal Quila’ has made its mark globally as one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, the fort has witnessed many a battles and served as a residence for a string of royal families. The semi-circular fort is surrounded by a strong wall and a deep moat and has four massive ornate gateways to enter the complex. A walk through the arched corridors of the fort unravels the history surrounding the great Mughal Emperor and speaks volumes about their grand lifestyle.

  • Opening Timings – 6:00am to 6:00pm everyday
  • Entry Fees – INR 300 for Foreign Tourists
    INR 20 for Indian Citizen

Should Visit Places in Agra

5. Guru Ka Tal

Guru ka Tal is a Sikh Gurudwara, a pilgrimage destination near Sikandara in Agra for people looking for divine peace. Situated on the banks of a serene and sublime reservoir, the architecture of the Gurudwara has a striking resemblance with most of the other heritage monuments in Agra. The outside of the Gurudwara has a spacious courtyard from where the façade of the main building is a spectacular sight. The huge central dome is flanked by several other smaller ones on either side. Eight of the initial twelve towers still stand proudly in the Gurudwara. There are several other towers, chhatris, and cupolas adorning the beautiful building. Stone steps descend into the water tank and the banks of the reservoir are neatly decorated with bricks and stone slabs.

Opening Timings – 6:00am to 7:30pm everyday

6. Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri

Photo by John Haslam, CC BY 2.0

Another of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Fatehpur Sikri in Agra is also one of many architectural masterpieces built by Akbar the Great. The site is a tiny city in itself, well-planned and built with a conglomerate of several significant monuments housed in the sprawling campus. Most of the buildings are cut out of red sandstone in conformity to the Mughal style.

dditionally, remnants of ancient civilizations dating back to 1200 BC were unearthed here by the Archeological Survey of India. Several of the items found like tools from the Stone Age, colored pottery and painted china from pre-historic times are displayed in the museum housed within Fatehpur Sikri. The places to look out for here are the Diwan-i-khas, Paanch Mahal, Tomb of Salim Chisti and Buland Darwaza.

  • Opening timings – 6:00am to 7:30pm everyday
  • Entry Fees – INR 260 for Foreign Tourists
    INR 20 for Indian Citizen

7. Itmad Ud Daulah

Itmad Ud Daulah

Photo by Honza Soukup, CC BY 2.0

Located on the east bank of River Yamuna, Itmad-ud-Daulah dating back to 1628 was one of the very first among the string of Mughal monuments built. Consistent with the Mughal family’s practice of building beautiful memorials to house the tomb of their loved ones, this one was built by Noor Jahan for her father Mirza Ghyas Beg who was the chief minister during Jahangir’s Rule. In fact, the Itmad-ud-Daulah has an important significance of being the sole inspiration behind the design of the Taj Mahal later in 1632. Lovingly nicknamed as ‘jewel box’, the monument is fully made of pure marble, the interior walls studded decoratively with colored gemstones, mosaics and slabs of marble sporting delicate latticework. The Indo-Islamic architecture with a hint of Persian influence further adds to its beauty.

  • Opening Timings – 6:00am to 6:00pm everyday
  • Entry Fees – INR 110 for Foreign Tourists
    INR 10 for Indian Citizen

*Free for children below 15yrs

  • Photography Charges – Free for still picture
    INR 25 for Videography

Can Visit Places in Agra

8. Mehtab Bagh

Mehtab Bagh

Photo by g.kaustav, CC BY-SA 3.0

Known as much for being nature lovers as much as for their love of architecture, the Mughals have also formed several gardens within the city of Agra. One of the best among them is the Mehtab Bagh built by Emperor Babur in the 16th Century. The square shaped garden complex lies exactly in line with the Taj Mahal providing magnificent views of the monument. In a special initiative by the Archeological Society of India, the previously neglected garden has now been transformed into a place of peace, serenity and immense natural beauty housing more than 80 types of blooming plants.

  • Opening Timings – 6:00am to 6:00pm everyday
  • Entry Fees – INR 5 for Indian citizens & citizens of SAARC and BIMSTEC countries
    INR 100 for other Foreign Tourists

9. Kalakriti Cultural & Convention Centre

The entire experience of the Taj Mahal’s great significance remains incomplete without witnessing the dramatization of the intense love story behind its construction. The Kalakriti Cultural & Convention Centre strives to achieve that sense of completion through its rendition of the love saga between Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal through an amazing dance drama performance. The 585-seater theatre located on VIP Road near the Taj Mahal hosts the dance performance every evening. Additionally, the theatre also hosts a string of events like talk shows, seminars, conferences and other dance and music shows. Tickets can be booked online for all shows through their official website.

10. Agra Art Gallery

The Agra Art Gallery located right at the centre of the city is a treasure trove of unique Agra handicraft, especially marble art. It is also one of the most favorite shopping destinations of tourists who aim to take home a memorabilia from their trip to the city of love. On display at the art gallery are antique showpieces skillfully cut out from marble, marble jewellery boxes studded with colorful gem-stones, elegant marble vases, plates and figurines. One of the must-buys from the gallery is the miniature replica of the Taj Mahal cut out from marble. The visit becomes more fascinating as one can learn about marble processing and art from the friendly skilled marble workers in the gallery.

The city of Agra has a unique romantic charm that exudes an ambience of beauty and love. A trip to the city is an expedition into the rich and royal culture left behind by the ancient Monarchy, and one that the city still carries with it.