It’s a dream for all to witness the most expensive monument ever been built for love. The dream comes live in Agra. The city in Uttar Pradesh, India boasts of its magnificent tourist arrival every year, and the credit goes to the beautiful places to visit in Agra and around the city.

Agra lies on the banks of the Yamuna which flourished during the time of Mughal emperors. The city was the seat of the Mughal court during the 16-17 centuries before the capital was shifted to Delhi.

The origins of Agra traces back to the days of the Mahabharata when it was called Agrevana, which is the root of its present name. Muhamad of Ghazni, who was one of the very first Mongol invaders to cross the Himalayas from Central Asia, captured it from the Rajputs, and the Lodis of the Delhi Sultanate, formalized it into their capital.

Agra rose to fame under the Mughals – particularly Akbar, Jahangir, and Shahjahan. Akbar built the Agra Fort and renamed the city Akbarabad. It has been immortalized ever since, by Shahjahan’s Taj Mahal-the magnificent mausoleum which he had built for his wife Mumtaz.

Have met hundreds of foreign nationals who came to India just to gaze at the beauty of the Taj Mahal. Usually, people are unaware of Agra’s famous places, hence this post. I will try to cover all the beautiful places to see in Agra city.

The city of the Taj Mahal offers in addition to the legendary Taj Mahal, many other monuments that typify the highest point of Mughal architecture. Remember what we cover here is a small teaser from India, you have to be actually present to feel everything in practice.

You may watch a small teaser from History TV 18 about Uttar Pradesh Tourism below:

Uttar Pradesh Tourism – Prom

1. The Magnificent Taj Mahal (One of the best places to visit in Agra)

You will be surprised to know that this world heritage site matches the height of The Qutab Minar (Delhi), yes both are of the same height of 73 meters. The beauty stands tall on the banks of the river Yamuna. When I first visited the Taj Mahal, I was escorting a group from Russia and was spellbound to see the people who poured in there to appreciate the beauty of the Taj Mahal. That is why the authorities have restricted the daily footfall nowadays.

During my last visit to the Taj Mahal was in Agra with his girlfriend in 2019) my guide also shared a spooky story about one of the areas in the Taj Mahal complex. I will write that down when making a full post only about the Taj Mahal.

One of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal commemorates the love of Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal who lost her life while giving birth to their fourteenth child. Looking at its perfect proportions and exquisite craftsmanship many poets have described it as a prayer, a vision, a dream, a poem, a wonder. This grandiose garden tomb cost around 41 million rupees and 500 kilos of gold.

It took approximately 20,000 craftsmen over 22 years to build (completed in 1653) and uses white marble inlaid with semi-precious stones to create floral motifs throughout its design, along with calligraphy and carved reliefs in stone. The towers on four corners tilt towards the outside so that in case of any misfortune due to anything towers don’t fall on the main building.

The Taj Mahal is the ultimate poem in stone. Its white marble façade with its imposing dome and towering minarets were inspired by Persian architecture. Much has been already told about this stunning piece of architecture, our words also fall short here.

If the weather allows I recommend that you visit Taj early morning, to watch the sunrise over the Taj Mahal and avoid the bustling tourist queues to enter the monument. I would also recommend taking the help of a storyteller who can weave tales of Agra and the monument, as also the love between Shahjahan and Mumtaz.

The best way to appreciate the beauty of the Taj Mahal is to view it at different times of the day and year. It looks as it is changing color with the variation of sunlight.

Fullmoon night: are there places to visit in Agra at night? Yes if you are lucky try to visit the Taj Mahal during full moon night, the marble looks stunning and luminescent. During winters, the view of the Taj Mahal at sunrise is magnificent but be careful because extreme fog can destroy your photos so keep that in mind. I recommend checking the weather forecast before booking tickets online.

Taj-Mahal-Blue
Taj Mahal In Bluelight | 10 Beautiful places to visit in Agra

It is always better to give some time to this beauty rather than rushing around. Sit around in the garden, gaze at the scenic beauty, and get lost in the atmosphere or in the eyes or memories of your beloved.

The beauty of the Taj Mahal is the Marble inlay work; where semi-precious stones are placed in such a way to create floral motifs. If you are keen, I can help to organize a Meeting with Inlay Artisans to see how the craftsmanship has continued through the ages. Taj is also one of the romantic places to explore in Agra for couples, that’s why the authorities have put a time limit inside the monument.

Note: Buy the ticket online or at the parking area. Take a shoe cover from the parking area. Foreigners have to pay more than Indians do and the difference is huge. Taj Mahal remains closed for visitors on Fridays. For updated information about tickets and other details do read the official site of the Taj Mahal

2. Agra Fort

Jahangir-Mahal-at-Agra fort
Jahangir Mahal at Agra Fort | Photo by Sanyan Bahga, CC BY-SA 2.0 | 10 Beautiful places to visit in Agra

A study in red sandstone, the Agra Fort was built by Akbar the Great between 1565 and 1573. Some believe that it was built over the original site of the Badalgarh Palace, which once belonged to Rajput kings. The fort was embellished by Akbar’s descendants, especially Shahjahan, and also during the British Raj. The complex is vast and elaborately designed with influences from various parts of the country and different reigns.

With 20-meter height, 2.4 km outer walls Agra fort dominated the center of the city. People can enter only from Amar Singh Gate and it is a little steep. The Fort is divided into few parts like The Diwan-i-Aam (hall of public audience) and Diwan-i-Khas (hall of private audience) all built by Shahjahan to receive audiences.

Akbar also created Jehangir’s palace and which is a private residence in the fort. There is an octagonal tower known as Musamman Burj which denotes the place where Shahjahan breathed his last after his imprisonment. There are other areas to see in the fort such as Khas Mahal, Sheesh Mahal (the mirror palace), and the Anguri Bagh (the Grape Garden).

If you cant climb the steep slope wheelchairs are available outside the main entrance of the fort at around INR 200-300 per hour.

3. Tomb of Itmad-Dd-Daulah (Baby Taj)

Itmad-ud-daulah's-tomb
The Tomb Of Itmad Ud Daulah | 10 Beautiful places to visit in Agra

To the north of the fort, on the opposite bank of the Yamuna lies Itmad-Ud-Daulah, the tomb of Mirza Ghiyas Beg, Jehangir’s wazir. Also known as the ’baby Taj’, it was the first Mughal structure totally built from marble and the first to make extensive use of pietra dura. The place is the least visited of Agra’s three great monuments

The exquisitely laid out tomb of Itmad-Ud-Daulah, whose daughter Nur Jahan, was the wife of the Mughal Emperor, Jahangir. It marked Mughal architecture’s transition from sandstone to marble in the 17th century. A short distance away is the Aram Bagh (Garden of Rest) which is a Mughal garden that is believed to have been laid out by Babar.

4. Tomb of Akbar at Sikandra

Akbar's-tomb-at-Sikandra
Tomb of Akbar At Sikandra | Photo by Jorge Lascar, CC BY 2.0 | 10 Beautiful places to visit in Agra

One of the places to visit near Agra is Sikandra. You can pay a visit to Akbar’s tomb at Sikandra, just on the outskirts of the city. Some believe that Akbar conceived the design and began the construction of his own tomb, which was later finished by his son, Jahangir. The gardens that surround the tomb are in the Charbagh (Four Quarters) style – each quarter representing a particular stage in life. Just a 4 km north-west of Agra, lies the sandstone and marble tomb of Akbar. It shows Akbar’s philosophy and his secular outlook. Don’t miss these beautiful places to visit in Agra and Sikandra.

5. Mehtab Bagh

View-of-Taj-Mahal-from-Mehtab-Bagh
Taj Mahal from Mehtab Bagh | 10 Beautiful places to visit in Agra

If by mistake you came to see the Taj Mahal on Friday then perhaps it’s a blunder. Mehtab Bagh should be amongst the top places to visit in Agra on Friday because it remains open on Friday. Mehtab Bagh can give you a chance to capture the beauty but with a little distance.

It is a charbagh garden complex having four sandstone towers and one of the last Mughal gardens in Agra. Overlooking the Agra fort and Yamuna river and just to the north of Taj Mahal. Gardens are aligned with that of the Taj Mahal. It gives a picture-perfect view of the Taj Mahal from the fountain at the front of the entrance gate. It is popular amongst professional photographers.

It is said Shah Jahan got the bagh built to just gaze at the infinite beauty of the Taj Mahal. You can get a lightning reflection of the Taj Mahal in the waters of the park during full moon night.

6. Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur-sikri
Fatehpur Sikri | Photo by Arian Zwegers, CC BY 2.0 | 10 Beautiful places to visit in Agra

Out of all the beautiful places to visit in Agra or around Agra I prefer not to visit Fatehpur Sikri, just because of touts and bad elements surrounding the attraction and overall aesthetics. Built by Akbar the Great (in 1570), as a tribute to Sufi saint Salim Chisti. It houses Buland Darwaza, Birbal’s house, Panch Mahal, and Jama Masjid (mosque). While entering beware of the touts or local guides who always try to sell you sheets to offer inside or try to force you to buy some expensive stuff.

The beauty of Fatehpur Sikri lies not only in its architectural splendor but in its vision to blend the best of Hindu and Islamic architectural styles, which was a reflection of Akbar’s philosophy.

The walls of Fatehpur Sikri resonate with many stories of the great men and women of Akbar’s magnificent court. Few to names are Mian Tansen, arguably India’s greatest composer of music, Birbal – his wise minister, and Jodhabai – his beloved queen. From the emperor’s Chamber of Dreams (his sleeping quarters) to the Blind Man’s Buff (the treasury), Fatehpur Sikri is a grandiose fantasy in architecture.

Pass through the massive Bulund Darwaza, a gateway built to celebrate Akbar’s victory over Gujarat, and proceed to visit the tomb of Salim Chishti, the Sufi mystic who inspired Akbar to built Fatehpur Sikri. It was Chishti who predicted the end of Akbar’s childlessness. It has become a tradition to tie a thread to the lattice screen of Chishti’s tomb in the hope of being blessed with a child.

7. Wildlife SOS

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Elephant Conservation and Care Center | 10 Beautiful places to visit in Agra

It is a non-profit organization in India that involves rescuing and rehabilitating animals and forests. It is known worldwide for its unique efforts in rescuing sloth bears and elephants.

The Agra Bear Rescue is the largest rescue center in the world which has around 130 sloth bears. The Elephant Care and conservation center, located between Agra to Mathura is involved in rescuing and rehabilitating abused and captive elephants

You have to book the time slot (out of 3-4 slots available per day) in advance to visit any of the conservation facilities of Wildlife SOS. The package includes a guided tour of the area and the presentation of a well-informed documentary

8. Chini Ka Rauza

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Chini Ka Rauza Agra | 10 Beautiful places to visit in Agra

Just 1 km north of Itmad-Ud-Daulah’s tomb lie Chini Ka Rauza on the banks of River Yamuna and it is facing Mecca Masjid.

This is the tomb of Allama Afzal Khan Mullah, who was the Prime minister of Shah Jahan at that time. It is also known as China Tomb. Built around 1628-1639 with a fusion of Indo-Persian architecture. It was decorated by glazed tile work called Chini (said to be imported from China).

The inlay work is losing its sheen nowadays due to climatic conditions and due to no renovation

9. Panchi Petha Shop

Original-Panchi-petha-shop-at-Agra
Original Panchi Petha Shop at Agra | 10 Beautiful places to visit in Agra

One of the sweetest places to explore in Agra in the evening is Panchi Petha Shop. Don’t miss the famous sweet of Agra called Petha. There are different-2 types of Pethas available in Agra. The oldest famous shop is the Panchi Petha shop, bang opposite the only heritage hotel of the city Grand Imperial.

10 . Bazaars of Agra

There is no a dearth of famous bazaars and important places to visit in Agra. You may try your negotiation skills at Sadar Bazaar, Kinari Bazaar, Raja ki Mandi, Subhash Bazaar. If you are keen to watch the Marble inlay workshop we can arrange that also for you.

FAQ about best places to visit in Agra:

How to reach Agra?

By Air: Agra has an airport, but I don’t recommend it because 90% of flights get canceled due to very few passengers. You can land at Delhi airport and then drive to Agra (200 km, 4 hours)
By Road: I recommend driving from Delhi by Yamuna Express Way. It is well connected by roads with other cities like Jaipur, Mathura, and many more.
By Train: Well connected by trains. Major railway stations are Agra Cant, Agra city & Tundla. Major trains like Shatabdi Express, Taj express & Chennai Express stop here

What are the best hotels in Agra? (get the best hotels deals)

Top Hotels: The Oberoi Amarvilas, ITC Mughal, Trident & Radisson,
Mid Range Hotels: DoubleTree by Hilton, Grand Imperial (Heritage), Jaypee Palace,
Wyndham Grand & Taj View
Budget Hotels: Hotel Mansingh Palace, Holiday inn, Hotel Amar & The Retreat

What is the best time to visit Agra?

Winters!! October – March would be the ideal time to visit Agra due to the weather, although it is visited throughout the year.
Caution: Dense fog in the extreme winters can ruin your pictures of the Taj Mahal, so choose visiting hours after checking the weather forecast

What modes of transport are available at Agra?

We recommend hiring a private taxi, although there are autorickshaws/cycle rickshaws available in crowded areas, especially in the old town. To Reach Taj Mahal you need to take a battery van from the ticket area/parking area.

Activities to indulge in Agra

Kalakriti Dance Drama Show, Mohabbat the Taj
Indulge yourself in the Heritage Walk of Agra
Spend time at Keoladeo Ghana National Park 
Excursion to Bateshwar, Mathura, Mehndipur Bala Ji
Extend to Chambal Safari Lodge

Shopping in Agra

The Gangotri at Taj complex
Sadar Bazaar (best for handicrafts, closed on Tuesdays)
Mughal Carpets
Marble Cottage

Conclusion

There may be many other places to visit in Agra and Mathura (56 km) however then I recommend you to stay 2-3 nights to cover all those. Having paid a few visits to the Taj Mahal I still feel to go again and getting good pictures and hearing the stories about this beauty. Words fall short to describe all the beauties of Agra but an honest attempt has been made, to sum up, major places to see in Agra.

Generally, these are a few places to cover in Agra in 1 day only. There are lots of other notable activities which you can enjoy in Agra such as A curated Heritage walk, a Marble inlay workshop, and many more. If you are keen to explore Agra beyond just Agra sightseeing do reach us and let’s take it further.

Also, read below

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