Most traveling enthusiasts have visiting all the Seven Wonders of the World on their bucket list. If you are one of them, then it is likely that what sits on the top of your list is the epic symbol of love- Taj Mahal, which breathtakingly stands poised by the riverbanks of one of the most attractive cities in India – Agra. However there are multiple Best Things to do in Agra other than Taj Mahal as well.
Experiencing the Taj
Agra has achieved its much-deserved fame amongst global tourists for its colossal marble tomb- TajMahal in its territory. Apart from its spectacular architecture and geometrically symmetric aesthetic beauty, the ethereal appeal of the Taj Mahal, in the silent moonlight is what most people connect with. This is reflected in the popularity in the ‘TajMahal by Night’ experience offered to tourists.
A visit to this glorious, heritage structure that is surrounded by a magnificent garden at its entrance, offer a spiritual experience of its kind for many at anytime of the day. However, there is much more you can do in this populous city apart from seeing the Taj.
The Taj is not the Only Attraction
The city has much more to offer other than the TajMahal. Many say that the ‘Taj Nature Walk’ is simply the greatest way for exploring the lesser-known sides of Agra.
Beginning from the shrines, monuments, and tombs dedicated to eternal love, to the most delicately and intricately carved handicrafts and handcrafted Indian sweets- everything about Agra is special. Even the lovely landscaped gardens and the delectable food can add a new flavor to your trip and enjoy some of the Best Things to do in Agra .
Visit Agra Fort for a Tragic yet Spectacular
A 600 years old red sand stone structure that stands testament to the epitome of the Mughal era- Agra Fort, is further down the Yamuna River from the Taj. From FatehpurSikri it takes a car ride of an hour to reach this place. The Agra Fort is a remarkable fortress, which is built with a view looking down to the Yamuna River stream that runs towards the TajMahal. This particular fort has a historical significance attached as it is said to be the last resting place of Sultan Shajahan, who built the Taj. Historians tell the agonizing tale of how Shajahan, the emperor was imprisoned in this fortress by his own son who was attempting to seize control of the empire. It is also said that the imprisoned king would look at the Taj from the prision to rejoice his past days of glory. Another interesting fact about this monument is that this is still an operational fort, with the Indian armed forces occupying a large part of its area.
Enjoy the Festivities During the ‘TajMahotsav’
Agra is famous for its TajMahotsav. The whole city gets lightened up and is decorated during this ‘utsav’ or festival. This particular festival was started in the year 1992. This is an annual festival of Agra. It is a craft mela as well as a cultural extravaganza. This festival attracts not only tourists but also artisans from various parts of the country. This year, TajMahotsav will start on 18th of February and will continue till 27th February. This year the theme is “SanskritiKaSatrangiUtsav”. Do not miss the TajMahotsav if you are a foodie as the best of Indian cuisines are available there during this festival.
Take a Balloon Safari
Take a balloon ride throughout the whole area around the TajMahal. It will give you an all-encompassing view of the heritage monument. Even you will get a bird’s eye view of the surrounding buildings of Mughal era. This balloon safari is sure to give you a lifetime experience.
Visit the wallet city of Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri is interestingly a deserted walled citadel. It is built out of graceful red sandstone and that too on a rocky outcrop. It is built overlooking almost the whole of the surrounding towns. It was set up by Sultan Akbar and it briefly enjoyed the designation of his capital. This gorgeous city was built between the gap of 1569 and 1585. A time came when the supply of water at nearby places dried up. At that time the place became deserted. There are many interesting things to do and sights to visit in this captivating ghost city once you soak in its old charm and heritage.
Have a glance at Itimad-ud-Daulah
This architectural beauty of Agra is better known as Baby Taj. The exquisite and fantastic tomb of MirzaGhiyas Beg, should never be missed while visiting Agra. Itimad-ud-Daulah is arguably more soothing and more delicate in its appearance than the more popular TajMahal. It is built with finely carved jalis i.e. marble lattice screens. This monument was the first ever Mughal structure to be built entirely from marble. Further, it is the first one to have such an extensive use of pietradura. Being the first tomb to be set up on the banks of the river Yamuna, it is known to be an inspiration for the Taj. The pleasure garden surrounding it is another form of attraction for the tourists.
Shopping in Agra can be quite an exciting and strenuous at the same time.You will simply not be able to resist seeing the marble inlay works and other amazing local handicrafts available in the markets of Agra. The main shopping areas in Agra are the Sadar Bazaar, Gwalior Road, Kinari Bazar, Munro Road andMahatma Gandhi Road. But while shopping there beware of the touts. They lead the tourists into various shops, which overcharge and pay them a bulky commission. Check out for government emporia where artifacts are sold at authentic prices. Look for some real good leather products like bags and shoes in those markets.
If you are looking for an out-of-the-world surreal experience, have a look at the Taj Mahal as it bathes in the soothing moonlight by the riverbed. You won’t be able to take your eyes off it at that moment. However, do not forget there are many more things to do over the next few days on your trip in the city of Agra.