When you think of Agra, the first thing that comes to the mind is Taj Mahal. But there are several best places to visit in Agra beyond the beautiful Taj. Before we list the top 5 places to visit in Agra, let’s briefly look at some of the interesting historical facts about Agra.
- Historical Fact #1. In 1475, Badal Singh founded Agra. But often the credit goes to Sultan Sikandar Lodī who decided to transfer the capital city from Delhi to Agra in 1504.
- Historical Fact #2. Agra is located on the banks of river Yamuna and is one of the main historical cities of India.
- Historical Fact #3. Agra was also the capital city of great Mughal emperors like Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb.
- Historical Fact #4. Places to visit: There are some dazzling monuments like Agra Fort, Buland Darwaza, Fatehpur Sikri and Chini ka Rauza.
- Historical Fact #5. Agra is also mentioned in the famous Hindu epic Mahabharata as the forest of Agraban close to Mathura.
- Historical Fact #6. Emperor Akbar built the Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri near Agra, which was his capital for around fifteen years.
Places to visit in Agra#1. Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal is the most visited places in Agra. The magnificent Taj Mahal is on the banks of the Yamuna River and epitomizes eternal love. The iconic monument is one of the seven wonders of the world and is a love story that transcends time and is still told every day to come to visit it.
The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan was married to Arjumand Bano Begum (popularly known as Mumtaz Mahal). Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal in the remembrance of his wife, Mumtaz Maha, and therefore, the history of Taj Mahal starts with the tragic end of Mumtaz Mahal.
During her last days, Shah Jahan promised Mumtaz that he’d build the world’s most beautiful tribute in her remembrance. Both Mumtaz and Shah Jahan are buried in this beautiful tomb. The construction of Taj Mahal began in 1631. It took almost 22 years to build it.
Around 22,000 laborers and 1,000 elephants were used to construct Taj Mahal. It is built with white marble, which was brought from all over India and central Asia. The construction of Taj Mahal costed approximately INR 32 million rupees. The Taj Mahal was finally finished in the year 1653.
Address: Dharmapuri, Forest Colony, Tajganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282001
Visiting Hours: Taj Mahal is open from sunrise to sunset on normal operating days. It is closed on Fridays for general viewing and is opened on Friday afternoon only for those who have to attend prayers at the Taj Mosque.
Entry Fee: Foreign tourist – INR 1,000
Citizens of SAARC and BIMSTEC Countries – INR 530
Domestic/Indian – INR 40
Places to visit in Agra #2. Agra Fort
Image source: YouTube
Agra Fort was built at a time when invasions fortifications, when grand palaces and forts were a sign of muscle and might. Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is also known as the “Lal –Qila”, “Fort Rouge” or “Qila-i-Akbari”.
Entry to the fort is permitted through the Amar Singh Gate only. Some part of this fort is also used by the Indian Army. While you are there, do visit Diwan-i-Am or the Hall of Public Audience. This hall has several pillars and is believed to be constructed by Shah Jahan in 1628.
Also at Agra Fort is the Royal Pavilions abounding in elegant mosques, including Nagina Masjid and Mina Masjid, palaces like Macchi Bhavan, Khas Mahal, Shish Mahal and Shah Jahani Mahal and the Zenana Mina Bazaar.
Agra Fort is well known for its intricate carvings and the pure marbles that are used in its making. One can also see the Taj Mahal and the Yamuna River from the balconies of the pavilions.
Address: Agra Fort, Rakabganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282003
Visiting hours: Agra Fort is open from sunrise to sunset on normal operating days.
Entry Fee: Foreign Tourist – INR 550
Domestic/Indian Tourist – INR 40
No fee for children below 15 years
Places to visit in Agra #3. Jehangir Palace
Inside the Agra Fort is Jahangiri Mahal or Jehangir Palace. It is one of the most noteworthy buildings inside the Agra Fort. The Palace was the principal zenana, and was mostly used by the wives of Akbar. The Jehangir Palace was constructed by Akbar and is one of the earliest surviving buildings of Akbar’s rule.
The Jehangir Palace later became the residence of Mughal Empress Nur Jahan until her death on 17 December 1645. Inside the palace, you can see a huge bowl called Hauz-i-Jahangiri. The bowl is carved out of a single piece of stone and was used to keep fragrant rose water.
Address: Agra Fort, Rakabganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282003
Visiting hours: 5:30 AM to 6:00 PM
Places to visit in Agra #4. Fatehpur Sikri and Buland Darwaza
Image source: Tourism of India
Fatehpur Sikri is one of the best places to visit in Agra besides Taj Mahal. It is located 43km away from Agra and gained importance after Akbar, the grandson of Babur, moved his residence and court from Agra to Sikri, for 13 years, from 1572 to 1585.
Sikri was Mughal’s first planned city. Akbar created lofty buildings and established a great city, with magnificent palaces and institutions. He called it Fathabad, which in later days became “Fathpur Sikri”. Fatehpur Sikri had all Mughal institutions such as the ‘Ibadat-Khanah’, ‘Din-i-Ilahi’, ‘Tarikh-i-Ilahi’ , Jharokha-Darshan and the doctrine of Sulh-i-Kul.
The city was connected to various complexes such as Jami Masjid, Buland-Darwazah and the tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti; Khass Mahal, Shahi-Bazar, Mina-Bazar, the Panch-Mahal, Khwabgah, Diwan-i-Khass, Anup-Talao, Chaupar and Diwan-i-Am.
Buland Darwaza, or the “Gate of Magnificence”, was constructed by Akbar in 1601 to commemorate his victory over Gujarat. It is the main entrance to the palace at Fatehpur Sikri and is the highest gateway in the world.
It took almost 12 years to complete the construction of Buland Darwaza. On the main gateway, one can see an Islamic inscription written in Persian and verses from the Quran that have been carved in the Naskh script.
Address: Fatehpur sikri Fort, Dadupura, Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh 283110
Visiting Hours: Sunrise to Sunset,Friday Closed
Entry Fee: Free entry for children below 15 years
Indian Visitor and citizen of SAARC and BIMSTEC countries: INR 40
Other Foreign Visitor: INR 510
MUSEUM: There is an Archaeological site Museum near Diwan-I-Am booking counter. It is opened from 9.00 AM to 5.00 P.M.
Places to visit in Agra #5. Akbar’s tomb
Image source: Thousand Wonders
Akbar’s tomb is a fascinating Mughal architectural masterpiece and is one of the most famous places to visit in Agra. It was built between 1605 and 1613 and is spread across in 1,179,3826 acres of area in the suburbs of Sikandra.
Akbar’s tomb was constructed by his son Salim, also known as Jahangir. Akbar had selected the site where his tomb lies. The tomb was plundered during the reign of Akbar’s great-grandson, Aurangzeb, when Raja Ram Jat started a rebellion against the Muslim rule.
The rebellious Jats took control of the fort and plundered the intricate tomb, stole precious material and destroyed the architect. Ram Jat even excavated Akbar’s bones and burnt them in retaliation. The tomb suffered extensive damage until it was repaired by the British under Lord Curzon.
Address: Tomb of Akbar The Great Area, Sikandra, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282007
Visiting Hours: Open from Sunrise to Sunset
Entry Fee: Indian visitors INR 20
Citizens of visitors of SAARC and BIMSTEC Countries: INR 25
Others: INR 210
It’s your turn now! What according to you are the best places to visit in Agra? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
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