Best Places to Visit in Agra: You know Agra as the city where one of the seven wonders of the world is – The Taj Mahal. Indeed, Agra was once the capital of the Mughal Empire. This makes it one of the most desired tourist places in India to visit. But there is much more to see in this city than the ‘Monument of Love!’ After all, it’s thousands of years old and has many interesting sites that Indian and foreign tourists love!
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The top 5 Places to Visit in Agra are:
These are the must-see places in Agra. Incidentally, they are also the best places to visit in India.
Agra’s main fort – The Red Fort
This fort is red, and it’s to Agra what the Red fort and Lal Quila are to Delhi – buildings that put the town on the map! The fact that it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site only adds to its charm and gives it the allure that makes people and tourists want to see it. The first Mughal Emperor Akbar built it in 1556. It’s a tribute to the best in Mughal architecture, engineering, and artistic design. The Red Fort also showcases the Mughal Empire’s wealth at its peak in its fine and intricate artwork.
It occupied almost 4,000 square meters and was refurbished with red sandstone in 1573. This is what gives it the ‘tell-tale’ red hue. It’s a 2.2-kilometer walk from the center of Agra. since it was built when the Mughal Empire was at its strongest, it was designed to protect the Emperor, his family, and subjects from outsiders’ attacks. This explains its many fortifications. For example, if you walk around this fort, you’ll notice that its walls are 70 feet high. This was to prevent all but the bravest and most foolhardy from launching a surprise attack.
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The world knows it as the “Walled City’ since it once protected the entire town of Agra from the outside world. A visit to this fort will reveal 4 tall wall-like gates. The gates that made the Red Fort world-famous are the Delhi and Lahore Gates. You’ll see many ornate palaces with intricate artwork and designs scattered throughout. Some of the better-known ones are the Shish Mahal and the Khass Mahal. You’ll see many reception rooms and masjids. Some of the more famous ones are the Diwan-i-Khas, the Diwan-i-Aam, the Moti Masjid, and the Nagina Masjid.
Located at: Agra Fort, Rakabganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, 282003
Hours open Monday-Sunday: 6 A.M. to 6 P.M.
Fatehpur Sikri – this is a testament to Mughal strength, it also celebrates Mughal victory in India.
You really haven’t visited the soul of the original Agra if you haven’t seen this monument. This was to the Mughal Empire what the Rashtrapati Bhavan is to modern India – the main seat of government and power for many decades. Akbar named this once sleepy, squalid, and backwater village Sikri. This was to celebrate his conquering what is now Gujarat in 1573. The town overlooks a rocky bank that spans 3 kilometers. It’s also 1 kilometer wide.
When you look at Fatehpur Sikri, you’re looking at the best in Persian, Indian, and Mughal architecture and engineering styles and technology of the late 16th century. It’s made from locally mined red sandstone. Since it was a city in itself, it’s surrounded by a six-kilometer long wall that seven gates serve as entry points. Its rich history and engineering/architectural genius make it one of the best places to visit in India. The UN seems to agree since it’s been a UNESCO World Heritage site for many years.
Located at: Fatehpur Sikri, Agra District, UP
Hours Open Monday – Saturday 6 A.M. to 6 P.M.
It’s approximately a 38-kilometer walk from Agra.
Jama Masjid – this shows the heart of Islam in Agra.
This is one of the most popular tourist places in India. It was built so that the Mughal Emperor, his family, and the Muslim subjects of Agra could have a place to worship Allah. This Masjid defies the simplicity and strictness in architecture, engineering, and design that has traditionally been associated with its Middle Eastern counterparts. A good example would be the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. If you ever visit the Jama Masjid, the first thing that will catch your eye will be its giant size, towering presence, and beauty, and ornateness in terms of architecture and design.
It sports 4 minarets. This was common in the Mughal architecture of the time. Up to 25,0000 people can easily stand in it at a time. Because it was a place of religious worship, it’s surrounded by a huge and long wall which is broken by 3 gates. One interesting thing you’ll notice is that it’s lies to the west of the Red Fort.
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Its beauty is enhanced by the red sandstone that it’s made out of. You’ll love its intricate tapestries that hang on its walls. You’ll also notice its many archways that add to its unique, Islamic style, and look! The UN designated it a world heritage site long ago because of this. The inscriptions which consist of gold leaf which are superimposed over a beautiful royal blue background also give it a unique flavor. These are inscriptions from the Koran. It was built in the 1600s and is referred to as the ‘Friday Mosque’ by locals.
Located at: Jama Masjid Road, Subash Bazar, Kinari Bazar, Hing ki Mandi, Mantola, Agra, UP 282003
Hours Open: Monday – Sunday 8 A.M. to 6 P.M.
Moti Masjid – this is a symbol of tranquility and peace
This is easily one of the best places to visit in India if you’re a tourist. It’s an architectural and engineering genius. The Moti Masjid displays the best in the mid-17th century architectural and engineering technologies. It also sports simple artwork that only adds to the beauty of this place of worship. The great Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan had this masjid built. If you visit this historic place, you’ll immediately notice that some of its red sandstone interiors are interrupted at the top by beautiful pearly white splashes of color. This is why its locals refer to it as the ‘Pearl Masjid!’
The Moti Masjid was built to allow the Mughal Emperor and his family to worship and observe Islamic tenets and principles in peace. Its insides are pearly white and resemble the insides of a clamshell – they shine with an iridescent glow. If you go to the courtyard, be sure to take pictures of its white marble water tank and sundial.
These were built to help the Emperor and his family bathe and tell time. You’ll enter the Masjid from the East. One thing you’ll notice immediately is its many arches that add a unique beauty to this amazing mosque. Another feature that makes this one of the best tourist places in India is the fact that it’s built on the banks of the Yamuna River.
Located at: State Highway 62 Agra Fort, Rakabanj, Agra, UP 282003
Hours open Monday-Sunday 8 A.M. to 6 P.M.
Sikandara Fort – the beautiful defense point
This is one of the monuments that characterize the old Agra. It’s made out of red sandstone and has exterior artwork that is made out of inlaid marble and precious gems. Sikandara Fort is situated in Sikandara town, and it houses the first Mughal Emperor’s tomb. If you visit here, you should take pictures of the beautiful green gardens that surround the fort. Intricate gardens are what characterized the most Mughal architecture of the time period.
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The garden has four sections and is laid out according to early 17th-century Mughal landscaping principles and techniques. It has five stories. All of them are worth a visit. If you go on the outer grounds, you’ll notice that there are many ornate water fountains. These just show the splendor and wealth of the Mughal Empire at its height.
Located at: Tomb of Akbar, the Great Area, Sikandara, Agra UP 282007
Hours Open: Monday-Sunday 8 A.M. to 6 P.M.
Agra has many hidden gems.
Indeed, Agra has many hidden gems that make it one of the most heavily visited tourist places in India. If you visit this historic town, you’ll love what you see!
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