The majestic fascination of Taj Mahal draws voyagers to the city of Agra, just like moths to any incredible flame. In spite of its hype, Taj Mahal is as good as you have heard. However, Taj Mahal is not the only attraction in the city as the Mughal emperors has left several mind boggling forts, mausoleums and fascinating tombs across the city of Agra. Besides, tourists can also have fun and experience the bustling Chowk Markets.
A large number of tourists usually prefer to visit Agra on whistle-stop day trip from New Delhi, which is close to the city. However, there are several other interesting places sprawling across the city of Agra that worth a visit. Therefore, visit to Agra cannot be completed with a whistle-stop day trip; instead tourists should enjoy several days sightseeing across the city with side trips to magnificent ruined city of Fatehpur Shikri and other Hindu Pilgrimage destination like Mathura.
Agra perches on the huge curvature alongside the holy river Yamuna. The Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort overlook the river on diverse locations of the curvature. The artisans and the labors who actually toiled on Taj Mahal established their houses on the southern part of the mausoleum, thus created the overcrowded network of alleyways which is today called as Taj Ganj and it is the most famous area for the budget travelers.
How to Reach
The city of Agra is just 200km away from Delhi in the southeast direction and it is added into the Golden Triangle package for tourists along with Delhi and Jaipur. The city is well connected via road, rail and plane.
By Plane: Kheria Airport is the nearest and only airport in Agra which is only 5km away from the heart of the city. The city is well connected to Khajuraho, Varanasi and Delhi by plane. Tourists need to take flight up to Delhi and then continue their journey to access the other cities of India.
By Train: There are 4 major railway stations in Agra, Agra Fort, Agra Cantt, Idgah Agra Junction and Raja-ki-Mandi Station. Agra is well connected to all major cities and towns of India via railway services and many super fast and express trains connect Agra with Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and Jaipur.
By Road: Some of the major cities of India are well connected to Agra via road as well. National Highway No-2 connects Agra with rest of India. Agra is also connected with Lucknow via road. Regular bus services are available from Lucknow and Delhi which makes the journey really wonderful.
Sightseeing in Agra
Taj Mahal: The globally admired masterpiece of World’s heritage, Taj Mahal is the magnificent architecture and the jewel of Muslim art in India. The interesting part of this mausoleum is the delicacy of artworks in the stone and calligraphy on the walls. World’s best artisans were hired by Shah Jahan to decorate the interior and exterior of the monument in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is the finest paradigm of Mughal architecture with all types of representations enabled by Muslim religion, in an expensive harmony.
Agra Fort: This red fort is the second most visited and popular building of the city and forever perches in the shadow of Taj Mahal. Visit to Agra would not get complete without visiting and exploring Agra Fort. The building comprises of ultimate blend of mesmerizing mosques, palaces, audience halls and superb gardens, just next to the banks of Yamuna River, and it woth a visit indeed.
Fatehpur Shikri: Fatehpur Shikri was established by Mughal Emperor Akbar in the year 1569 and he based his capital in this place from 1571 to 1585. This place was actually chosen by Akbar to honor the Sufi Saint Salim Chisti. It took fifteen years to complete the construction of this walled city and the complex comprises of many royal palaces, mosque, courts and a harem. This complex was constructed with red sandstone which was then readily available in that area.
Where to Stay
Taj Ganj is the primary place where budget accommodation is easily available, which is located just south of Taj Mahal. However, midrange and high concentration hotels are also available in the southern part of the city, alongside Fatehabad Road, and Sadar Bazaar, which are also known for high quality restaurants with mouthwatering cuisines. Some of the popular hotels in Agra include, Howard Plaza, Hotel Clarks Shiraz, The Oberoi Amarvilas Agra, Radisson Blu Agra, Hotel Taj Resorts, Trident Agra, The Gateway Hotel Fatehabad road, and many others.