Situated on the banks of Yamuna River, Agra lies in the northern part of India in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The city is steeped in history, and the amazing monuments stand proudly as proof of its powerful bygone era. History lovers would be surprised to know that the city finds one of its first mentions in the epic Mahabharata as Agrevana, which in Sanskrit means “Border of the forest”. After Rajput King Raja Badal Singh had founded the city, it was ruled over by a number of Mughal kings and emperors, and it was during these times that famous monuments like Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri were built. This article presents a list of things to do in Agra which you must not miss.
Check out the Best things to do in Agra
Want to have a readymade guide to having a wonderful time in this history-seeped city of Agra and the best things to do in Agra? Read on to find out how you can utilize your time in the best possible manner and go back with a bagful of memories:
Visit Taj Mahal
No trip to Agra would be complete without the customary visit to the iconic Taj Mahal. This World Heritage site required more than 20000 workers and 22 long years in its construction and has been considered the epitome of love all over the world. Apart from a day visit, it is also one of the must-do things to do in Agra at night.
Visit Agra Fort
Spread over 94 acres of land, the Agra Fort has four gates on four sides and is built on a semi-circular plan. This regal structure was originally a brick fort built by Sikarwar Rajputs and later on was used by Delhi’s first Sultan as his official residence.
Visit Fatehpur Sikri
Situated on a rocky ledge and surrounded by three walls and a lake, this staggering monument is built of red sandstone. It consists of the Buland (Massive or Huge) Darwaza, Birbal’s home, The Jama Masjid and the tomb of Salim Chisti.
Of course, the charm of exploring Agra as a city extends beyond visiting the popular and famous places mentioned above as the rest of the tourists do as a routine. The off-beat path offers a peek into the glory of this wonderful old-world city that Agra is and can be easily counted amongst the top things to do in Agra.
Afzal Khan was a poet and Shah Jahan’s Chief Minister, and this monument is his tomb. It is built in typical Persian-style architecture during the period from 1628 and 1639 and lies on the east bank of Yamuna River. A tree-lined avenue leads to this well-hidden and often ignored place, which was once covered with resplendent-looking blue tiles, a few of which can be still seen in some portions of the exterior. Visiting this place would surely find its place amongst the must-see things to do in Agra.
Emperor Akbar had a Christian wife name Mariyam Zamani and this oft-neglected tomb, was built in her memory. This monument is entirely built in red sandstone and is home to some truly intricate carvings, though in a sadly neglected state of affairs.
Shopping – A therapeutic exercise
The majority of the female population will agree that no trip is complete without an exhaustive shopping expedition and Agra is one place even the most reluctant of shoppers’ wouldn’t want to miss. Do we see people already jotting this down in their ‘top things to do in Agra’ list? Where else would one get marble handicraft souvenirs studded with semi-precious stones in this art form known as Parchinkari? Handmade rugs, carpets, sarees, shoes, leather jackets and gold jewelry are popular amongst buyers here.
Agra Heritage Culture Walk
The true soul and beauty of Agra lie in its bylanes and quaint shopping zone, and these are the places you should visit, to soak in its old-world charm, local delicacies and glory of the past. Agra shows a different side of itself to those who take a late-night tour here, and the culture walk is surely one of the most unique things to do in Agra at night. You will get to experience the local bazaars, the smell and sights that are exclusive here (No Shopping Malls or so-called Govt. Approved stores included). Try the deliciously sweet & piping hot jalebi or the Agra petha or the mouth-watering paan (betel-leaf) or simply wander into the spice bazaar to experience the most exotic scents in the world.
If you are a discerning tourist visiting Agra for the first time, Panch Mahal in Fatehpur Sikri, has to be amongst the best things to do in Agra. This columnar structure is actually a 5-storied structure, with the ground floor consisting of 84 pillars, supporting this breath-taking structure. Don’t miss visiting this pleasure palace built by Emperor Akbar, who built it for his queens and other royal ladies folk. Panch Mahal provides some absolutely breath-taking views of Sikri fortifications, so enjoy the cool breeze that reminds us of the royalty that once stood here.
If you want to brag to your friends and family about having tread the path few tourists take, include Mehtab Baug (Moonlight Garden) on your list of things to do in Agra. This little-known garden complex consists of Charbaugh (Four Gardens) and was built by Emperor Babur, as the best viewing gallery of the Taj Mahal. Its width is exactly the same as that of the Taj Mahal. Hence views from Mehtab Baug are absolutely unrivaled and definitely a photographer’s dream-come-true. As a tourist, you may be fuelled with stories of a “Black Taj Mahal” that existed at this very site, but the fact remains that excavations did not unearth any such proof.
As a seasoned traveler, you would surely like fellow tourists to experience this amazing place that Agra is and know the best things to do in Agra. Once you finish the trip (or while travelling too), go ahead and share each of your experiences on the social media and collect brownie points from friends and rank strangers too.