“The world is divided between those who have seen the Taj and those who have not. Very soon, I hope to be on the side that has seen the Taj.” Words said by William Jefferson Clinton, President of United States of America while addressing the Indian Parliament in 2000 rightly defining the immense architectural and emotional significance the Taj Mahal has, in the hearts of people around the world.
Monuments religious sights
Agra tourism promotes its famous and exceptional monuments and buildings, built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan during his reign, when he came and ruled Agra and made it the capital city. Tourists and history freaks have endless love for the city, which is a must see place on their wish list.
Taj Mahal: Agra is famous for the Taj Mahal that draws thousands of global visitors every year, who are largely responsible in giving a boost to the economy of the small city and Uttar Pradesh in general. The marble mausoleum is one of the seven wonders of the world and in 1983 it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built over a period of 21 years, by expert craftsmen and artisans from all over India and Persia, numbering nearly 22000.
The Taj Mahal is considered an architectural jewel and a masterpiece of Mughal architecture, that draws its inspiration from Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi and Itmad-Ud-Daula’s Tomb at Agra which is also famous as Baby Taj.
The architectural splendour of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid reminder of the capital in the 16th and early 17th centuries.
Agra Fort: Built by the great Emperor Akbar in 1565 A.D. the fort is a masterpiece of design and construction. Within the fort are a number of exquisite buildings, including the Moti Masjid, Diwane-I-Aam, Diwani-I-Khas and musamman Burj, where the Emperor Shah Jahan died in imprisonment beside Jahangir’s Palace, Khaas Mahal and the Sheesh Mahal.
People with religious inclination will never feel deprived as there are several Religious Places in Agra. Numerous tombs, stones and graveyards dedicated to well known religious leaders are conspicuous with their presence in Agra.
There are temples, mosques and other structural wonders, which arise religious and spiritual feelings among the worshipers. Agra is unique in the sense that it has several famous places of worship for both the Muslims and the Hindus, indicating the secular feel of the city.
A religious tour across Agra will take you through various places like Guru Ka Taal, which is a large tank with beautiful towers erected around it. The red stone structures were built during Jehangir’s reign beside the holy tomb of Itibar Khan Khwajasara.
How to Reach Agra
By Air The nearest airport to Agra is the Kheria Airport located around 5 km from the city center, however the use of the airport is restricted to a few airlines and very few flights can land or take off from there. Agra is connected to only Varanasi by air. From other cities, tourists need to take a flight to Delhi and continue their journey by train or bus.
By Train There are four main railway stations in Agra; they are Agra Cantt, Raja-ki-Mandi, Agra Fort and Idgah Agra Junction. The city is well linked with train services to all major cities in India. There are many super fast express trains connecting Agra with Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
By Road Agra is well connected by road to major cities in India. The National Highway Number 2 links it with rest of India. Delhi and Lucknow are well connected with Agra. With the construction of the new Yamuna expressway, it takes a meagre 2 and a half hours of an express drive from Delhi to Agra, to travel to Taj Mahal. There are many Taj Mahal tour packages from Delhi Jaipur, by buses cars that one can avail if they wish to visit the city comfortably. Private taxies are also available to reach Agra from nearby cities. Main bus stations in Agra are at Idgah and Agra Fort.
Best time to visit Agra
The best time to visit Agra is from the month of October to the month of March as the weather is very pleasant and helps tourists enjoy the various sights of the city. The temperature in Agra during the summers goes up to 47 degrees Celsius and travellers are advised not to travel to Agra in those months, as chances of being affected by a heatstroke are considerably high.
Some attractions of Agra
Food One of the famous things Agra is known for is the sweet dishes like Petha, Gajak, etc. Petha is available in various innovations like Angoori Petha, Kesar Petha, coconut-flavoured Petha, etc. The salty snack called as Dalmoth (mixture) is also famous here.
Shopping As Agra was majorly ruled by the Mughals, the city is famous for its marble arts and handicrafts, that are a part of their legacy. The art of inlay work on marbles is demonstrated at many factories and is highly appreciated by the visitors, who watch it with very keen interest. Marble tables, tabletops and artefacts are very popular and make great souvenirs. One can also buy carpets, leather, Pietra Dura (parchin kari) artefacts, clothes with zari embroidery, brassware and jewellery. These crafts boost the Agra Tourism industry majorly.
In order to buy authentic and genuine handicrafts, one should shop from emporiums like Kraft Palace, Akbar International, Marble Emporium, Kohinoor Jewellers, Geneshilal Emporium, Handicraft Inn,