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Agra Travel Guide

Discussion in 'Destination Guides' started by Debapriya Deb, Mar 16, 2016.

  1. Debapriya Deb

    Debapriya Deb Active Member

    A heritage city which used to serve as the capital of the great Mughal Empire, Agra has been one of India's most prominent tourism circuits since independence. Agra and Tourism go hand in hand. It's arguably the most decorated heritage tourism hub in the entire India. Home to one of the world's seven wonders - the Taj Mahal - millions of tourists from all over the world are attracted by Agra's grand archetectural marvels and heritage elements.

    The Taj Mahal is undoubtedly the most beautiful and fascinating masterpiece of the Mughal period, but Agra is not only about the Taj Mahal. There's more to the city than just the Taj. Considering the array of historical attractions that one gets to explore at this charismatic destination, Agra's claim to fame is hardly a surprise. From the paradise that Taj Mahal is, to the sublime architectural elements that Fatehpur Sikri exhibit, Agra is truly a fascinating place to know the glorious chapter of India's grand royal legacy.


    Agra Tourism & Travel Guide

    So what are the prospects that make Agra a tourism hotspot? If you are looking for detailed information about Agra tourism, then here's all that you wanted to know about this fascinating heritage city. Discover more about Agra's eternal heritage charm with this detailed Agra Travel Guide.

    How to Reach Agra

    Agra is situated in the state of Uttar Pradesh, 232 KM away from New Delhi. The city has well developed road network which links it to all the major cities within Uttar Pradesh and the neighboring states. Both Government and private buses are available from Delhi, Kanpur, Lucknow, Faridabad, Aligarh, Jhansi and Gwalior. From Delhi it takes around 4 hours to reach Agra by bus via the Taj Expressway. From Kanpur and Lucknow, the journey duration will be close to 5 hours and 7 hours respectively.

    If train is your preferred mode of transport, then Agra has not one, but two railway stations to serve the tourists. Agra Cantonment is the bigger of the two and it has good connectivity with the Northern, Eastern and Southern parts of the country. Direct trains are available to/from Delhi, Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Kolkata, Chennai, Varanasi, Jamshedpur and Bhuvneshwar. Agra Fort is one of the oldest railway stations in India and if you are coming from the Western side, then this station serves you better. Agra Fort railway station connects the city to Mumbai, Jaipur, Khajuraho, and Ahmedabad.

    Although Agra does have an airport by the name of Kheria Airport, it does not have any commercial/civil aviation service just yet. Most of the air travellers, both domestic and international, arrive at Delhi International Airport and then hire a taxi/cab to reach Agra. Lucknow Airport can be a possible alternative for the domestic travellers coming in from the Eastern and Sothern parts of India.

    Best Time To Visit Agra

    A place like Agra does not need to have a peak season or off season. It's a destination that attracts tourists across all seasons. Be it the summer or the winter, travellers throng the city to catch a glimpse of the Taj, or for that matter Agra Fort and Fatehpur, throughout the year.

    In terms of sheer volume of tourist footfalls, the period between October and February gets the highest number of tourists, while the city experiences a slight drop in the tourist count during the extreme summer condition in May-June.

    Agra usually flaunts a hot and dry weather. Summer temperature, in the months of March to June, often takes the mercury level well past the 40°C mark. The first drop of monsoon usually arrives in July and the hot weather subdues a bit in August, September and October. Winter sets in from November and lasts till February. The winters are generally much cooler with the temperature hovering between 8°C to 15°C.

    Tourist Attractions in Agra

    The Taj Mahal:

    The majestic Taj Mahal is fondly called as the 'epitome of love'. It is no less than a landmark on the Agra tourism map. Set on the banks of holy Yamuna River, the magical allure of Taj Mahal draws thousands of tourists on a day-to-day basis. Built by Sultan Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, it has deservedly made it to the list of seven wonders of the world. Taj Mahal is by far the most recognized historical monument on the Indian soil and a single glance at this architectural marvel is enough to reveal the reason as to why it is the most visited tourist attraction in India.

    A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983, it took 20,000 workers a little over 2 decades to create the most decorated abode of love in the world. The Taj stands majestically on a raised square platform, rising to a height of 213 feet with a huge central dome flanked by four slender minarets with domed chambers. Each of the minarets are 162.5 feet in height. The monument is surrounded by a well-maintained garden with sparkling fountains and symmetric water pools.

    Built in snow-white marbles decorated with intricate designs of finest calligraphy using precious gem stones of different colors, visit the timeless wonder that Taj Mahal is to fall in love with India and its rich heritage.

    Agra Fort:

    Built in red sandstones, the Lal Qila of Agra stands distinctively on the bank of Yamuna river. Although it is largely overshadowed by its more illustratious neighbor - the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort is one of the finest and largest citadels in India. This fortified castle offers the tourists an opportunity to re-live the grand royal lifestyle of the bygone era.


    Mainly constructed as a military base for Akbar's soldiers, Shah Jahan later transformed it into a place. The fort complex houses several buildings, vast underground sections, palaces, mosques and other exquisitely crafted structures. It is more of a walled city than a typical standalone fort. The Shah Jahani Mahal, Shish Mahal (mirror palace), Jahangiri Mahal, Khas Mahal, the Diwan-i-Am and the Diwan-i-Khas, Fish Pavilion, Nagina Masjid and the Moti Masjid are the main tourist attractions inside the Agra Fort.

    Fatehpur Sikri:

    Another jewel in the crown of Agra tourism arena, Fatehpur Sikri was the grand capital of the Mughal empire during the rulings of Akbar in the second half of the 16th century. Situated 40 KM away from the Agra city, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.


    Fatehpur was a fortified city guarded by a 20 feet high outer wall across an area of 8 square kilometers. The planning and construction of the walled city took almost a decade and another half. Built mainly with red sandstones, Fatehpur exhibits a Persian archetectural style fushioned with the traditional Mughal, Hindu and Jain elements.

    The main enclosure houses several royal palaces, courtyards, halls for public and private audience, recreational amenities and places of worship. Jama Masjid, Buland Darwaza, Panch Mahal, Diwan-I-Aam, Diwan-I-Khaas, Sheikh Salim Chishti tomb and Birbal Bhavan are some of the must visit tourist attractions in Fatehpur Sikri.

    Akbar's Tomb:

    Akbar's mausoleum, also known as Sikandara Fort, is another historical attraction located on the outskirts of Agra city. Incidentally, it was Akbar who started the construction of this beautiful building which would have been used as his tomb after his death. The architectural design resembles the contemporary Mughal style. The Akbar's tomb is a pyramidal structure with a magnificent gateway, an enclosed rectangular layout for garden, and multiple domed canopy supported by designer pillars. The entire monument is decorated with intricate jali craftwork and colorful geometrical and floral patterns.


    Chini Ka Rauza:

    Chini Ka Rauza is the mausoleum of of Persian poet Afzal Khan Aalmi, who also served as a minister during Shah Jahan's reigns. It was the first monument of the Mughal era which was designed with colorful glazing tiles ('chini' in Urdu), from which it derives its name. It is one of the finest preserved examples of Indo-Persian style of archetecture. The exterior is remarkable colorful, with the shades of green, yellow, golden and blue tiles dazzling under the sunshine. The interior walls are decorated with floral designs and calligraphy. Chini Ka Rauza is a must visit attraction for those who have a keen interest in architecture.

    Itimad-ud-Daulah's Tomb:

    It's the mausoleum of Mirza Ghiyas Beg, who was Jahangir's father-in-law and one of the chief advisors in his ministry. Itimad-ud-Daulah, which can literally be translated to 'Pillar of the Government', was the title conferred to him by the Sultan due to his shrewd foresight. The tomb was constructed by Nur Jahan, wife of Jahangir, between 1622 to 1628.

    It was perhaps the first time that white marbles were used to build this structure, scrapping the red sandstone which was dominant among the Mughal Emperors till then. That's precisely the reason why this monument is also known as the 'Baby Taj'. The beautiful garden, domed canopy with short minarets, and interior calligraphy designs using semi-precious stones are the highlights of this impressive monument.

    Mehtab Bagh:

    Mehtab Bagh is a 25-acre garden located on the opposite bank of the Yamuna river - in front of the Taj Mahal. It is one of the largest and most beautiful gardens belonging to the Mughal era. Mehtab Bag is also popular by the name of 'Moonlight Garden' as it offers a spectacular view of the Taj Mahal on a full-moon night.

    What Souvenirs to Buy from Agra?

    Agra is famous for stone and marble works. You can buy some marble jewellery with intricate stone-works or miniature replicas of the famous monuments in Agra. Taj Mahal figurine made of wood are also very popular among the tourists as souvenirs.

    Agra Can Also Be A Foodie's Delights

    Chats are a must try street food at Agra. It's quite different in taste compared to the other parts of India and deserves to be tasted - at-least once. Apart from that, Agra is famous for its Mughlai cuisines including tandoori items and biriyanis. Sweets of Agra are equally popular among the tourists, so do make sure to grab a bite of 'Peetha' - a delicious, semi-transparent sweet dish made from white pumpkins. There are different flavors of Peetha available in the market, so you can choose between chocolate, mango, cherry, cashew or orange as per your taste-buds.

    Reliable Hotels in Agra:

    Being one of the most popular tourism hub in India, Agra has enough staying options for budgets of all sizes. From basic lodging to luxury resorts, you can be assured to find a staying option that would suit your pocket well. Listed below are a few of the reliable hotels to book your accommodation in Agra -

    NoHotelLocationMinimum TariffContact
    1Hotel RajNear Taj South Gate, TajganjINR 450(+91) 96277 43662
    2Friends Guest HouseShilpgram RoadINR 600(+91) 99178 85278
    3Hotel Amba InnNear Raja Ki Mandi Railway StationINR 750(+91) 94127 20194
    4Villa 21Shamsabad RoadINR 800(+91) 81719 47447
    5Hotel Mandakini VillasFatehabad RoadINR 1250(+91) 56264 53854
    6Laurie's HotelM.G. RoadINR 1650(+91) 56223 64536
    7Hotel RajmahalShilpgram VIP RoadINR 2200(+91) 99994 50107
    8Hotel Delight InnFatehabad RoadINR 2650(+91) 56231 90010
    9Howard PlazaFatehabad RoadINR 3200(+91) 56240 48600
    10ITC MughalTajganjINR 5500(+91) 56240 21700
    Hope this Agra Travel Guide would prove to be helpful to those who are planning to visit this famous historical destination in India. If you consider yourself a heritage admirer, then Agra is one place that should not be missed at any cost.

    Regards,
    Deb
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
    Wanderlust likes this.
  2. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    Agra was already on my list of must visit places in India because of the Taj Mahal - but I'm glad there is so much to see and do beyond that! I love history so it sounds like quite a few of the places you listed will be of interest to me!
     

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