Agra India City | India Travel Guide | India Vacations

India Vacations: Agra A Quick Travel Guide

Agra is located on the banks of the Yamuna River in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India, is a bustling city. It sits 378 kilometers west of Lucknow, the state capital, 206 kilometers south of New Delhi, the national capital, 58 kilometers south of Mathura, and 125 kilometers north of Gwalior. Agra is not only one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh but also the 24th most populous city in all of India.

This city is renowned for its splendid Mughal-era structures, making it a must-visit destination for tourists. The Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, and Fatehpur Sikri are among its prominent landmarks, all recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Agra is an integral part of the Golden Triangle tourist circuit, which includes Delhi and Jaipur. 

Additionally, it is also included in the Uttar Pradesh Heritage Arc, a tourist circuit in the state that encompasses Lucknow (the state capital) and Varanasi. Agra falls within the Braj cultural region, adding to its cultural significance and appeal.

The Red Fort of Agra, also known as Agra Fort, is a magnificent architectural creation constructed by Emperor Akbar in 1573. Situated on the right bank of the River Yamuna, this historic fort is entirely built using red sandstone. 

It served as the primary residence of the Mughal dynasty until 1638. Recognized as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it is located just 2.5 kilometers away from the iconic Taj Mahal.

Why Visit Agra? 

Once the former capital of the Mughal Empire, Agra is a significant part of India's Golden Triangle, which also includes Delhi and Jaipur. Known as "the City of the Taj Mahal," it is difficult to plan an itinerary without being captivated by one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. 

However, it would be a mistake to overlook the bustling bazaars, delectable cuisine, and mesmerizing architecture that Agra has to offer. By November, the lingering monsoon mists have dissipated, and visitors can expect sunny days. 

Traveling in India can be unpredictable, with restaurants changing names as frequently as sisters change clothes, hotels opening and closing in a matter of days, and train schedules altering without warning. It is a place that simultaneously embodies chaos and tranquility, elegance and overwhelming sensations. 

The key to truly enjoying this experience is to surrender to the unpredictability: embrace the crowds, immerse yourself in the vibrant colors, and fully absorb the richness and fascination of this remarkable culture.

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What to Do in Agra?

With an annual influx of more than eight million visitors, the Taj Mahal tajmahal.gov.in undoubtedly lives up to its reputation. Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned this architectural marvel in 1631 as a symbol of his undying love for his late wife. The grandeur and scale of the marble mausoleum are truly awe-inspiring. 

Once you have marveled at its beauty, take a short 11-minute rickshaw ride to Agra Fort. This 16th-century fortress, constructed by Shah Jahan in 1628, is a labyrinth of rust-red sandstone structures adorned with intricate carvings, magnificent marble pillars, and hidden underground passages. It is essentially a city within a city. 

Although most of the fort is currently utilized by the Indian Army and is off-limits to visitors, there are still parts that can be explored, giving you a glimpse into the opulence of the Mughal Empire. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the Shish Mahal (Mirror Palace), where the walls are covered in hundreds of tiny mirrors, or the Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience) with its exquisite scalloped courtyards framing a view of the Taj Mahal. Conclude your visit with a stop at the octagonal tower where Shah Jahan was held captive for eight years until he died in 1666. 

From this vantage point, he could gaze upon the Taj Mahal and the resting place of his beloved wife. Located 40 kilometers outside of Agra lies the fortified ancient city of Fatehpur Sikri.

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Where to Dine and Imbibe?

Head over to Sadar Bazaar for a chance to savor a wide variety of regional delicacies. Begin your culinary adventure with petha, a delectable sweet made with white pumpkin ash and nuts. You can find this delightful treat at Panchhi Petha panchhipetha.com, a renowned sweet shop with branches all across Rajasthan. 

Following that, keep an eye out for street vendors who serve the local favorite, bhalla, in small clay bowls. This dish consists of spiced potato blended with tamarind and yogurt, topped with a flavorful chickpea curry. For a cozy retreat, make your way to Ram Babu Paratha Bhandar located at 6/127, Belanganj Road, Gopal Bazaar. 

Despite its unassuming exterior, this establishment boasts an enthusiastic local following, thanks to its mouthwatering Mughlai paratha. This pan-fried flatbread is stuffed with a delectable combination of cheese, carrot, and cauliflower. Additionally, Anise marriott.com is situated atop the Marriott hotel and offers stunning sunset views from October to March. Their menu features a fiery vegetable biryani that is sure to tantalize your taste buds.

Agra India | India Travel Guide | India Vacations

Are you feeling pressed for time? 

Take a stroll through the Mehtab Bagh, also known as the Moonlight Garden, during the enchanting moments of sunset. 

This serene and picturesque garden offers breathtaking vistas of the Taj Mahal from various perspectives, drenched in the beautiful golden hues of the setting sun.


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Agra India City | India Travel Guide | India Vacations

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