The beautiful city of Agra in the state of Uttar Pradesh sits on the banks of the river Yamuna. Famously adjudged as the Mughal city for its ancient domination that lied in the hands of the yesteryears Mughal Emperors. The rich history of Agra can be witnessed through its numerous Mughal monuments and gardens out of which three are acclaimed world heritage sites.
Admirers of history and architecture are certainly going to have a ball exploring the city. Apart from monuments. Agra is famous for its shopping and food culture too. It is impeccably known for its mouth-watering peetha and dal moth.
Places that you should definitely visit while in Agra are listed below.
1. Taj Mahal
Dragging millions and millions of international residents from miles away is one of the most incredible seven wonders of the world, Taj Mahal. It is marked as one of the most beautiful sites to witness in Agra. Taj Mahal was built by the great Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the loving memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The historic monument was constructed in the seventeenth century that further took seventeen years to be completed. It has been constructed entirely out of white marble that was obtained from Makrana in Rajasthan. The stunning architectural marvel is marked for being one of the most memorable Mughal monuments that spread up to an area of forty-two acres. Taj Mahal has been recognised as a world heritage site by UNESCO. In the Persian language, the Taj Mahal translates into the ‘Crown of Palaces’. The water of the river Yamuna flowing beside it adds a touch of perfection to the place. A precious click with loved ones outside the monument near the green lawns or inside the stunning walls of Taj Mahal is a must memory to capture.
2. Fatehpur Sikri
Another famous historical monument of Agra is the Fatehpur Sikri. The popular monument is located at a distance of 40 km away from the city. The Fatehpur Sikri was constructed in the sixteenth century by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar. The great Akbar built the monument to honour Sheikh Salim Chisti, who predicted the birth of a Mughal heir which came true when the Mughal Emperor was visiting the former city of Sikri. In honour, It is originally a fortified city that was regarded as the capital of the Mughal Empire for a period of fifteen years. The UNESCO acclaimed world heritage site is showcased as one of the most primitive and exquisite examples of the Mughal architecture. Inside the internal dome of the Fatehpur Sikri lies the Jodha Bai’s palace, Jama Mosque, Buland Darwaza, and a Tomb of Salim Chisti that seamlessly take you centuries back into the rich history of India. In honour of the prophecy, Akbar built the city. He also built a beautiful mosque nearby, the Jama Masjid which is visited by a large number of tourists. Akbar also commenced the construction of three palaces for each of his favourite wives, who each belonged to a different religion, Hindu, Muslim and Christian.
3. Agra Fort
The monumental masterpiece of Agra, the Red Fort of Agra also known as Agra Fort was built in 1573 by the great Mughal emperor Akbar. Located on the banks of the Yamuna river, the fort has been constructed completely out of red sandstone that was transported all the way from Rajasthan. Till the year 1573, the Agra Fort was known to be the residential spot of the Mughals. The architectural Mughal marvel has been an acclaimed UNESCO world heritage site for years. Lying just a few kilometres away from another magnificent structure known as Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort covers a significant ground due to which it is also referred to as the walled city. The majestic fort held a great amount of importance for its Mughal architecture that people from around the world love to witness. Around it lie the precious Pearl Mosque, Diwan-i I Khas, Diwan-i I Aam, Moti Masjid and Jahangiri Mahal, perfect to visit while exploring the arena. Each of these spots is uniquely beautiful that you ought to check out. A view of the Taj Mahal from the Agra Fort in the evening is unmissable.
Adjudged as the baby version of Taj Mahal, the tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah is a popular Mughal mausoleum known as Itimad-ud-daulah. Considered as the exact replica of the Taj Mahal in terms of architecture, it is the first tomb in India that has been built entirely out of marble. The tomb has been dedicated to Mir Gheyas Beg also known as Itimad-ud-daulah, who was the former minister of the court of Shah Jahan. The arena of the mausoleum is perfect for history and architecture admirers who are surely going to be bestowed with the stunning ancientness that the monument possesses. A rich blend of Indo-Islamic architecture runs through the walls, arched entrances and towers of the mausoleum. The tomb of Itimad-ud-daulah also marks the transition from the first phase of the Mughal architecture as it was the first structure to make use of pietra dura and the first to be built on the banks of the Yamuna River. Built on the banks of the Yamuna river, Itimad-ud-daulah sits beside like a pretty jewel box in the city of Agra.
5. Sikandra Fort
The Sikandra Fort is located at a distance of thirteen kilometres from the Agra fort. It is a famous tourist attraction in the city as it was the last resting place of the great Mughal emperor, Akbar also known as the Mausoleum of Akbar. The tomb has been engraved with intricate detailing that consists of red coloured sandstones. The Sikandra Fort is famous not just for being an ancient architectural monument but also being a vast space that represents the Mughal emperor’s intellectual and enriched mind. The tomb was built by the son of Akbar, Prince Salim who was also known as Jahangir. A little less known fact about the Sikandra Fort is that Akbar had entirely planned the architecture of his tomb and selected the place where he wished it to be made. The construction began in the year 1605 and ended in the year 1613. During the reign of Aurangzeb, the great-grandson of Akbar, some members of Raja Ram Jat looted the tomb of its all precious things and destroyed its interiors. He further looted Akbar’s bones and burned them too. Later he was sentenced to death by Aurangzeb. The repairing of the tomb was ordered under the rulership of the Britisher Lord Curzon. The tomb is located in the middle of the gardens that are bordered by high walls.
6. Mehtab Garden
The Mehtab Bagh of Agra is located next to the iconic Agra Fort that overlooks the view of the Yamuna river. It is regarded for being one of the last Mughal gardens in Agra. Taking the shape of a quadrilateral, the Mehtab Bagh is popularly known as the Moonlight Garden too. It is the last one out of the eleven similar Mughal built garden complexes alongside the Yamuna river. It is said to be constructed beyond perfection due to its perfect alignment to the gardens of Taj Mahal. Hence, adding the right touch to the spectacular view of the Taj Mahal starting from the fountain to the front of the entrance gate. The Mehtab Bagh has over four sandstone towers. Each one has a huge octagonal tank right in the centre. It is a popular belief that the Mehtab Bagh was constructed so that Shah Jahan could enjoy and admire the stunningness of the Taj Mahal from the perfect spot. The surreal reflection of the magnificent Taj Mahal in the waters of the Bagh will surely leave you mesmerized. The garden is frequently visited and loved by nature enthusiasts due to its vibrant flora that consists of various floral and medicinal plants.
7. Jama Masjid
The Jama Masjid in Agra was built in the seventeenth century in the Mughal era. It is regarded as one of the largest mosques that were built by a Mughal. Also addressed as the Friday Mosque, the Jama Masjid was constructed under the reign of Shah Jahan in 1648. He built the mosque to dedicate it to his precious daughter, Jahan Ara Begum. Just like most Mughal structures of Agra. The Jama Masjid has also been constructed out of red sandstone and white marbles. The uniquely magnificent architecture of the mosque adorns a fountain at the centre that is supported by four kiosks in the courtyard. The walls of Jama Masjid have been enhanced by Persian scriptures that hail praises for Shah Jahan and his daughter Jahan Ara. The inscriptions of the mosque are said to possess similarity with the Taj Mahal. You can always catch a glimpse of Jama Masjid either from the Agra Fort or at the Agra Fort railway station. The mosque is visited by thousands of devotees every Friday.
8. Chini ka Rauza
The Chini ka Rauza is a popular monumental building that has been dedicated to the Prime Minister of the court Allama Afzal Khan Mullah, during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. The monument, Chini ka Rauza is a funerary monument that is located on the eastern banks of the river Yamuna. It is also famously known as the China Tomb, as Chini translates to ‘China’ and Rauza to ‘tomb’. The shrine of Persian scholar and poet, Allama Afzal Khan Mullah was built between the years 1628 and 1639. It has showcased a rich fusion of the Indo-Persian architecture. Located 1 km north of the Itimad-ud-daulah’s Tomb, the monument is uniquely embellished with tiles that have been imported from China. This makes it a stunning piece of architecture to witness with its colour embellishments and artwork. Sadly due to wear and tear and no renovation facilities the enamels and inlay work is fading off. Yet it is one of the most spectacular sites to see in Agra.
9. Anguri Bagh
The Anguri Bagh in Agra is located inside the quarters of the Khas Mahal. The Bagh was built in the year 1637, by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. The Khas Mahal or the Aramgah- i – Muqaddasa was constructed especially for Shah Jahan as a place of leisure which suited his needs in the most tasteful manner. One of the most exquisite sites inside the palace consists of the hall that is attached with recess and rooms in a surrounding semicircular pattern. It also has a huge courtyard in the front with tanks, fountains and hammams that overlooks a spectacular garden known as the Anguri Bagh. The hammams or the imperial baths were used by Royal women to spend time away in privacy, to relax and socialize. The paradise garden was designed right in front as the perfect idea for enjoying some retreat. The four complex gardens have been made with intricate geometrical patterns. The garden has been named the Aguri Bagh or the garden of grapes due to its popularity for harvesting thick creepers of grapes. The beautiful structure next to the Bagh was adorned with white marbles that were covered with gold and beautiful paintings. It is said that back when this place was constructed it had massive green vineyards that consisted of grapes and had beautiful fountains and small artificial cascades enhancing the beauty of this place.
10. Taj Museum
The Taj Museum lies in the Taj Mahal complex, at the western ends of the Taj Gardens. Built-in 1982, the museum is a double-storeyed building that has a quadrangle projection outside. Located on the left side of the main gate of the mausoleum of the Jal Mahal, the Taj Museum is one of the apt places to visit if you wish to further enhance your knowledge about the construction of one of the most wonderful even wonders of the world. The place consists of blueprints, arts and artefacts that were used in the entire construction of the place. The museum also consists of paintings that display the construction and planning of the makbara of both Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal and the angles measured were done in a way so that the foot of the graves always faces visitors. You will also be able to spot gold and silver coins that have been minted in Agra.