The sublime and perennial beauty of Taj-Mahal has always made Agra the top most city of India to stop by. Every year millions of beholders devour their eyes on the serene beauty of Taj. Apart from this centrepiece attraction, Agra has many more hooks to catch a tourist. Various tombs and monuments are other architectures which usually get eclipsed by the beauty of Taj, but phenomenal places to stopover. Without fading away with time, these forts and monuments speaks various untold tales of history. A testimony of Mughal architecture, the city offers more than the expectations of the visitor, through its shopping bazaars and delicious delicacies.
The best time to visit Agra is from October to November and late February to mid-April. It is wise to avoid extreme hot and intense cold weather, the city faces.
Agra is home to exemplary man made monuments of the world. Apart from one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the city is home to many more wonders. Visit any monument and it will remind you of the gone by, epic architecture of Mughals. Layers of history get a slideshow through fabulous monuments and mausoleums such as Taj-Mahal, great Agra Fort, Itima-ud-Daula’s Tomb, Fatehpur Sikri and Akbar’s Tomb at Sikandara.
- Alluring Beauty of Taj-Mahal
It is the crown of all the monuments built by Mughals. Epitome of love, the Taj-Mahal projects itself majestically, silhouetting its awe-inspiring beauty on the water of river Yamuna. The grand geometrical designs, above par perfection of the architecture, picturesque gardens and streaming fountains take the beholder to a new domain of elegance. Every carving on the grand memorial unfolds the immense love and devotion of Shah Jahan to his wife Mumtaj Mahal. The unbeatable beauty of Taj has entrapped millions of travellers through ages.
Opening timings - sunrise to sunset (except Friday)
Visit Duration - 2 to 3 hours
Entry Fee- No Entry Fee for children below 15 years
Rs 20 per person for Indians/Locals
Rs 750 per person for Foreigners.
- Great Agra Fort
This imperial palace, although obscured under the fame of Taj-Mahal is another fine specimen of splendid structures. The fort, made of red stone manifests the royal life, power and status of emperors and unforgettable history of Mughals. The Agra Fort served many purposes throughout its existence. Built mainly as military structure, once it was royal residence, for a time it was prison, now a historic monument to visit. It was the Agra Fort where Shah Jahan, was kept as a prisoner by his son Aurangzeb. Shah Jahan, spent his last days visualizing the monument he constructed for his wife. Jahangir Palace, Khas Mahal, two mosques and audience hall are constituents of the fort.
Opening timings – All days of the week, 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Visit Duration – 2 to 3 hours
Entry Fee – Rs 20 per person for domestic/Indian tourist
Rs 300 per person for foreign tourist
Marked for its subtle cut and carvings the structure is the first Mughal structural design made solely of white marble. It is the landmark in the era of Mughal architecture. Itimad-Ud-Daula’s tomb was built by Noor Jahan for her father Mirza Ghiyas. Also known as baby Taj it is a precursor of Taj-Mahal. The structure is striking for its stunning decorations, designs and structure reflecting the excellent Persian architecture. Intricate perforations on the walls, is rare beauty to watch for. Surrounded by beautiful gardens the tomb of Itimad-Ud-Daulah is a must-visit-place in Agra.
Opening timings – All days of the week, 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Visit Duration – 2 hours
Entry Fee – rs 10 per person for Indians (including toll tax by Agra Development Authority)
Rs 500 per person for foreigners (including toll tax)
- Akbar’s tomb at Sikandara
Articulating the fame and power of great Mughal Emperor Akbar, his tomb at Sikandara doesn’t find a way in every traveller’s route. But it is the real jewel to visit if you are hopping by Agra. Situated inside the periphery of high walls, the grand monument is constructed on the basis of archetypal Mughal style of Char Bagh. One of its giant gates stands proudly welcoming every traveller, leading his/her way to the chief significant structure. The huge, massive gateways of the structure open in the restricted area of widespread garden. The interior of the tomb is engraved with rich embellished designs mainly in blue and gold is worth appreciating piece. Its soul beauty lies in the large mosaic works with geometrical designs. Coloured stones intensify this beauty. The massive gates with inscriptions are admirable specimens of excellent architecture. Visiting this place is the best way to pay homage to the glorious Mughal Emperor Akbar.
Opening timings – All day of the week, 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Visit Duration – 2 hours
Entry Fee – Rs 15 per person for Indians/citizens of SAARC and BIMSTEC Country
Rs 110 per person for foreigners (including Rs 500 including toll tax imposed by Agra Development authority for Taj-Mahal, Agra Fort, Itimad-ud-Daula, Akbar’s Tomb and Fatehpur Sikri)
- Fatehpur Sikri
Reminding the pinnacle of Mughal Empire, the colossal structure of Fatehpur Sikri is placed in world heritage list. Built by great Mughal Emperor Akbar, the fortified city was the old capital of Mughals for many years. Constructed with red stone the place was built to pay tribute to Sufi saint Salim Chisti. The city is surrounded by long stretch of wall comprising gates and towers. It encloses some noticeable constructions like Sheikh Salim Chisti’s Tomb, Buland Darwaza, Birbal’s House, Jama Masjid, Panch Mahal, royal places, official buildings, Deewane-e-am, Deewane-e-khas. The fortified complex is masterpiece of Indo-Islamic craftsmanship.
Opening Timings – All days of the weed except Friday
7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Visit Duration – Around 1 hour
Entry Fee – No entry fee for children below 15 years
Rs 20 per person for Indians
Rs 260 per person for foreigners
If any Indian is visiting Agra, s/he must be asked by his/her friends and family to bring Agre- ka-Petha as souvenir. Apart from the beauty of Taj, Agra is renowned for its sweet flavour of Petha. Prepared from white pumpkin it is available in different varieties and special flavours like Paan Petha, Dry Petha, Angoori Petha, Kesar Petha.
Unique Bedai Kachauri accompanied with syrupy Jalebi is a perfect breakfast meal in Agra. Served hot with potato curry, this spicy snack is followed by munching sweet Jalebi. Parantha is another delicacy for which Agra is famous. Muhglai curries which are still known to store its authenticity in Agra are relished by food-lovers. The city takes pride for its superior quality of Gajak and Dalmoth.
Treat yourself to all these delicacies with famous restaurants and eateries of Agra.
- Esphephan –
Indulge in the royal feast by dining in Esphephan. Available only for two sittings at 7 and 9:30 PM, the elite restaurant presents a variety of Mughlai and Indian cuisines to choose. Enjoy a delectable meal in perfect ambience with top class hospitality.
Opening hours – dinner at 7 and 9:30 PM
Address – Oberoi Amarvilas Hotel
Taj East Gate Road, Agra
Cuisine – Indian
- Pinch of Spice
Taste the real spices of India with rich cuisine of this restaurant. The outstanding spicy curries and tempting non vegetarian dishes are real delight for a food lover.
Opening Hours – 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM
All days of the week
Address – 23/453, Wazirpura Road, Opposite Sanjay Cinema.
Cuisine – Multi- Cuisine
- Mughal Rooms
Apart from the traditional Indian cuisine this fine restaurant offers Chinese and Continental food also. Situated on the top floor of Clarks Shiraz Hotel, this awesome dining place provides sumptuous food with peaceful ambience.
Opening Hours – All days of the week
6:00 AM-10:00 AM
12:30 PM- 2:30 PM
7:30 PM – 11:30 PM
Address – 54, Taj Ganj
Cuisine – Multi – Cuisine
South Indian food is always a smash among foodies in all the parts of the country. Dasaprakash restaurant offers sumptuous and authentic South Indian vegetarian food in a very reasonable price.
Opening Hours – 12:00 PM to 10:45 PM
Address - Meher Theatre Complex, Gwalior Road.
Cuisine – South Indian
- Lakshmi Vilas
Lakshmi Vilas is another restaurant serving delicious South Indian food. With plainly decorated internals, it is a hit spot among foodies offering tasty food at affordable price. Have the popular thali of this place to satisfy your hunger.
Opening Hours – 8:30 AM – 10:30 PM
Address – 50A, Taj Road, Taj Ganj, Sadar Bazaar.
Cuisine – South Indian
- Shankar Ji
Satiate your taste buds with the local cuisines of Agra in the famous dhaba of Shankar Ji. Welcoming everyone with smile, the place offers authentic food and snacks with awesome hospitality.
Opening Hours – 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Address – Shri Ganpatlal Gupta Marg.
Cuisine – Indian
- Joney’s Place
Popular among locals as well as tourist, this restaurant is serving hearty meals from more than three decades. Making room in a small but cosy place the restaurant offers one of the finest banana Lassi you have ever tasted. With extensive variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food to choose from the place will please you with its warm welcome.
Opening Hours – 5:00 AM – 10:30 PM
Address – Street Kutta Park, Taj Ganj.
Cuisine – Multi-Cuisine
To soak in the local colours and flavours of a place what can be a better option than participating events and festivals of that region. To come across an event while travelling is like icing on the cake. It not only increases the fun of the trip manifolds but also makes us acquaint with the culture and tradition of that place.
Taj Mahotsava is one of the eagerly awaited festivals, which manifolds the attractiveness of the city. It is ten days festival that offers a vivacious display of India’s rich art & craft, culture, dance & music and cuisines. In this festival four hundred artificers are invited from all the parts of the country to exhibit their works of art including paintings, wood crafts, sculpture, pottery, aplic works, Jute works. The festival starts with a road procession with drums, trumpets, folk dancers, decorated elephants & camels giving a royal feeling to the audience. Extra-ordinary performances by skilled singers, musicians, folk dancers are witnessed by the thousands of viewers every year. The festival is excellent place for foodies with its array of multiple cuisines and savoury dishes.
The festival gives an opportunity to get associated with art, culture and tradition of India.
Entry Fee - Rs 50 per person for adults
No entry fee for children upto 5 years and foreign tourists.
No separate ticket for cultural programs.
Shopping is the quintessential part of any itinerary. How this segment be overlooked when the city of Taj offers so many goods to bargain for.
Agra is renowned for its marble art & craft. The marvellous inlay works available in miscellaneous size and shape are the most preferred items by the visitors. There are plenty of exquisitely designed artifices made of marble including vases, table tops, replica of Taj-Mahal, boxes, ashtrays to give a royal touch to home.
The place offers intricately woven carpets in beautiful designs and fine finishing. Apart from carpet, one can collect from bounteous items of rugs, mats, wall hangings at affordable prices. One can also purchase good leather products from flourishing leather market of Agra. The market is stock of high quality leather product like wallets, jackets, bags and many accessories. The market place has also many shops selling local handicrafts, jewellery, traditional clothes, paintings, and souvenirs. The brass work of the city is well-known everywhere. There is a vast variety of brass wares available including boxes, traditional plates, jars and vases.
There are many government emporiums and Bazaars from where the various items can be purchased at reasonable prices.
Sadar Bazaar - This lively market is stock of handicrafts, leather items, garments, eateries, giving good opportunity for travellers to hang out in the evening. Home to famous Panchhi Petha shop and Chaat Gali, the buzzing market is the best place to enjoy local colours.
Kinari Bazaar – Make your way through crowded maze of Kinari Bazaar and find the bristling array of shops on both side of the lane. With plethora of garments, jewellery, spices, marble works, spicy snacks you will be confused in the whirlpool of options as what to pick or what to leave.
Subhash Emporium – One of the oldest and most experienced in marble works, this shop offers amazing and finest marble artefacts.
Apart from the beauty of Taj-Mahal the city is home to many world class luxury hotels which will leave any traveller spellbound by its beauty and grandeur. Aligning with each traveller’s affordability Agra has numerous hotels, lodges and guesthouses. The prime location to stay in Agra is Taj Ganj with clusters of hotels available in all range.
Here are some of the best staying places in Agra where chunks of luxury shower on the sojourners.
- ITC Mughal
Make a lavish choice by staying here and get a royal hospitality. Following Mughal architecture in its design this five star hotel is folded in lush greenery and beautiful gardens. Giving an unforgettable experience to your holiday, one can also avail the facility of comforting massage in its Royal Spa – Kaya Kalp.
Address – ITC, Mughal Apartment, Fatehabad Road, Taj-Ganj, Agra.
- Oberoi Amarvilas
Not fitting to everyone’s budget this opulent hotel pampers its visitors with top class amenities and hospitality. With modish rooms and upgraded facilities, the hotel features views of Taj Mahal. The property also covers two restaurants, a bar, beautiful courtyard with fountains and well-maintained gardens; leaving no stone unturned to give a royal feeling to its guests.
Address – Taj East Gate Road, Agra.
- Wyndham Grand
With magnificent building made of red sandstone and marble, this hotel looks more like a palace. The complex consisting mesmerizing gardens, outdoor pool, comforting spa centre, gym, and royal dining options is a source of extreme luxury and pleasure.
Address – Fatehabad Road, Agra.
- Hotel Taj Resort
Situated within one kilometre from Taj-Mahal, this hotel is worth staying at a reasonable price. In addition to all the modern facilities the complex is furnished with roof-top restaurant, swimming pool and massage centre.
Address – Plot No. 538, Near Shilp Gram, Eastern Gate, Agra.
- Hotel Kamal
Fitting to a lower budget also, this hotel provides a facility of scenic view of Taj from its roof top restaurant. With friendly staffs to welcome, this place is furnished with all the basic amenities.
Address – South Gate of Taj Mahal, Taj Ganj, Agra.
With good transportation facilities Agra can be accessed by air, road or train. There is no problem to move within the city with facilities of tourist buses, state buses, numerous autos and rickshaws.
Reaching Agra by Air – Agra is connected to its nearest Kheria airport which is 13 km away from the main city. Agra airport is a military airbase where only Air India flights are available from Delhi.
Reaching Agra by Train – Agra is accessible by trains as main train lines passes through the city. Furnished with three major railway stations, the place can be easily reached from any part of the country.
Reaching Agra by road – Agra is very well connected via road route with NH11, NH2 and NH3. With new Yamuna expressway it is all the more convenient to reach Agra. It is 204 km away from Delhi and many taxis and buses are available from Delhi to Agra.