India Guide

Things To Do in Agra – Taj Mahal, Agra Palace Jaypee Palace

Things To Do in Agra – Taj Mahal, Agra Palace Jaypee Palace

There are many things to do in Agra. Many come believing that the Taj Mahal is the only attraction but are wonderfully surprised with the other great things to see and do.

Things To Do In Agra

There are many other sightseeing opportunities, two of which are also World Heritage Sites, there is shopping to do, market prowling, celebrations to be a part of, food to indulge in and terraces to drink on. What more could you want!

Surely the first thing you want to do is stare at the magnificent symbol of true love, the Taj Mahal, and who can blame you. The Taj is everything you have pictured and more. With a mirroring pond leading up to the huge marble monument it is picturesque and beyond. Most fail to realise from photos is the intricate detail carved into the white marble symbolising the pure love they shared. So get up close and personal and inspect the detail that would have taken a substantial amount of the 17 years it took to complete.

Beyond the Taj, take a pleasant stroll to the Agra Fort, a mere 2km away. It is on the same river bank as the Taj and if the weather is pleasant, walking can be hugely rewarding. Take the west gate of the Taj (ignoring the path to your right) stick to the path through the park and past the riverside temple and cemetery. This will lead you to the main road where you travel straight and through the roundabout following the road to the fort’s gate. There will however be rickshaws clambering for your business if it is too hot for exercise. Once you arrive, the historical aura will pull you in with the Mughal architectural masterpiece known as the Agra fort.

Built by the Emperor in 1571, the Fort is made from red sandstone making it a standout monument. This crescent shaped fort has rather intimidating high walls, with one gate for entry (the Amar Singh Gate). The fort contains several buildings from pavilions, mosques, palaces and Bazaars; a real maze to wonder through. One thing you will surely notice is the sheer detail, reminiscent of the power and fortune of the Great Mughals. One building especially is most spectacular, the Khas Mahal, a majestic white marble palace with prominent arcs that ooze profit and power. Make sure you are prepared to spend a full day taking in the unique architecture and magnificent detail.

Next on the list has to be Akbar’s Tomb. What you will start to realise is many of Agra’s icons have four corner towers attached to its monuments. Just like the Taj Mahal, both Akbar’s Tomb and Fatehpur Sikri have the four posts at its corners. Beside the corner towers, Akbar’s Tomb is another masterpiece of the Mughal era built in the early 1600’s. The Tomb’s grounds are purposely aligned with the compass points with the tomb itself being a four storied pyramid. Don’t be fooled, the tomb you will see is a false tomb with the real one located in its basement. All the same, the false tomb inside the mausoleum is quite a sight.

Before you end your sightseeing adventure, stop in at the Fatehpūr Sikrī. Another World Heritage Site often said to be like no other. It is a complex of many monuments and temples built in a similar architectural style. One of largest mosques in India has its home here, the Jama Masjid. G.E.Kidder Smith defined it as having “no routine grid of mindless squares, but a series of pulsating urban spaces defined by polite structures” and rightly stated that “its parts are better than the whole” indicating that it lacks a ‘spine’. All the same, the Fatehpūr Sikrī will stun you with its magnitude and variety mostly untouched by time.

Past the sightseeing you must check out the shopping by way of stalls and markets. Most do not leave without at least buying a miniature replica of the Taj Mahal though be sure to sift though different sellers to find the best quality. Other handicrafts are readily available such as leather items, embroidered rugs and even decorative stone ornaments. The best shopping areas include the Taj Mahal complex, both the Kinari and Sadar Bazaars and the Raja Mandi.

The last thing to do before you leave Agra is to take a predawn boat ride down the Ganges River. Here you can observe Varanasi’s bathing ghats at their best. Once you have fulfilled these top things to do, you can be sure you have truly experienced what Agra has to offer.