The city with a romantic aura in its tombs- Agra is well sited on the world heritage monument map. Agra has been influential in sculpting human thoughts through its vivacious ethnicity, art and devout philosophies. The city is located on the banks of River Yamuna and found prominence in 1506 by Sultan Sikandar Lodi when he shifted his capital to Agra from Delhi. The city is a chronological crust of history and as you unfurl it you can discover incredible flashes of life that include the various wars fought and most important of all the eternal love of an emperor for his beloved. Check out more details on Agra.
By Air: Agra is connected by air to Delhi, Varanasi, and Khajuraho. The airport of Agra is located 9 kms from the city in a place called Kheria.
By Rail: South, east and west of India are well connected to and from Agra. You can reach Agra from any major city in India without any difficulty. Agra city has 6 railway stations in all.
By Road: The National highways cross over in Agra thus making it easily accessible from all parts of India.
Location and climate of Agra
Agra is located in the state of Uttar Pradesh and is the third biggest city of the State. Agra is located 205 kms from Delhi and takes four hours of road travel. Agra has a tropical climate and experiences summer from March to June and the temperatures soar up during this period. Between July and September Agra experiences rainfall and nights during winter are very cold as the temperature dips to low levels. Agra can be enjoyed best from the months of November to March. Taj Mahotsav is arranged every year in the month of February and Sharadotsav a show focusing on cultural talents from all over the country is held in October.
Places of interest
Agra is a place that speaks of heritage and culture and has a number of places that should not be missed.
Taj Mahal: A world heritage site and declared as a world heritage monument by UNESCO, Taj Mahal was built by a Sultan whose love for his wife was intense. It is a white marble mausoleum built by Emperor Shahjahan for his wife Mumtaz mahal. Taj Mahal is a breathtaking structure and took 22 years and 20,000 workers to complete the construction. The mausoleum is adorned with some of the most precious stones like jade, turquoise, diamond; crystal etc. Don't miss the uniform lettering outlining verses from the Quran. The intricate artwork is a blend of geometric prints and paisleys and flowers, typically of Mughal architecture.
The tombs of Mumtaz mahal and Shahjahan are located in the central chamber, the Taj Mahal. On both sides, two similar red stone mosques have been built and prayers are offered only in the mosque on the left side of the Taj. The main entrance stages a platform which can be seen in most tourist snaps with the Taj Mahal as the backdrop. Taj mahal is closed on Fridays and is open from 6 in the morning to 1930 hrs on other days.
Agra Fort: The Agra Fort was built in 1565 by Emperor Akbar and was later renovated by Emperor Shahjahan into a palace. The exterior walls are built so high, that the splendid interiors are hidden away from sight. The entire fort takes the shape of a crescent and houses the Moti Masjid (white mosque), Jehangir's Palace, Sheesh Mahal (mirrored palace), Diwan-e-Khas, Diwan-e-Am and Samman Burj (Shahjahan was held captive here). The Fort is open from morning to evening.
Jama Masjid: Famed for its Iranian architecture, this was built by the grand daughter of emperor Shahjahan.
Sikandra: Mausoleum built in memory of Emperor Akbar, it is a mix of Hindu and Islamic cultures to signify his secular thoughts. This monument was built by Jahangir, son of Akbar in the year 1613.
Aalsi bagh: Aalsi bagh is the oldest Mughal garden in India built in 1528 by Emperor Babur. The name Aalsi bagh comes from the fact that Emperor Akbar was lying idle for six whole days in this park waiting for consent from a gardener who later became his third wife.
Itmad-ud-daulah: Well known as baby Taj, the tomb was built by Empress Nur Jehan for her father Ghias-ud-Din Beg. It is smaller in size when compared to other tombs built in the Mughal era and is also referred to as a jewel box.
Fatehpur Sikri: One among the declared world heritage site, the place was built by Emperor Akbar. It is located 35kms from Agra.
Apart from these there are various places of interest nearby Agra that include Dragah of Sheikh Salim Chishti, Jodha Bai's palace, Panch Mahal, Hawa Mahal, Daulat Khana, Turkish Sultana etc.
Staying in Agra
Stay in Agra is no big problem with both high end hotels and budget hotels available in abundance. Be sure to book your hotel in Agra if you intend to travel during peak season. Paying guest accommodations and camp sites are other alternatives available. Local handicrafts and leather goods are very famous in Agra, major shopping areas are Sardar bazaar, Mahatma Gandhi Road and Kinari bazaar. No tourist to Agra would miss picking up a replica of the Taj Mahal made in marble or even in talk stone. Also look up exquisite zari and embroidery work and dhurries. The craftsmen of Agra are known for their skilled inlay work on marble and brassware. Leather sandals, shoes and other items are a specialty here. Whilst at Agra, don't forget to pick up some petha and gazak, if you have a sweet tooth.