Agra is famous for having one of the Seven Wonders of the World – the Taj Mahal. Strewn with historical monuments, architectural grandeur and the beauty of marble structures, Agra is among the most popular tourist attraction in India. A trip to Agra is a must for both domestic and foreign tourists. A visit to the Taj Mahal is incomplete without being photographed in front of the famous monument.
Agra is a medieval city and is assumed to be built in 1475. It has found mention even in the epic Mahabharatha as Agraban (meaning paradise). The renowned second century geographer Ptolemy has also spotted this place as Agra in his world map. The present Agra city was established by king Sikander Lodhi of the Lodhi Dynasty in 16th century. Agra was the capital of many dynasties including Lodhi and Mughals.
Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is recommended not to buy artifacts and souvenirs from pavement vendors as they are most likely to be made of chalk instead of marble.
The examples of art and culture in this historic city are not only breathtaking, but are also mirrors of the artistic talents of the Indian population during the grand past. The city houses many ancient temples, mosques, forts, mausoleums, tombs and historical monuments. Agra is also renowned for artistic performances. The city has its unique style of traditional paintings, folk dances, folk music and embroideries.
The city is famous for its marble stone inlay and a rare collection of handicraft items. Tourists will also like to shop for valuable leather items like shoes, belts and bags. Exquisite jewelries and embroidery works can also be found here. Agra brassware and carpets are renowned world over.
Where to stay
Many high standard hotels and resorts options are available to tourists in Agra. The hotels range from home-stays and budget hotels to luxury ones. Budget hotels would cost anything from Rs 100 to Rs 1,000 and are easily found around Taj Mahal. Though, accommodation at a low-end or budget hotel is not advisable as it might be among the dirtiest parts of the city. Mid-range hotels charge from Rs 1,000 to Rs 3,000, while luxury hotels charge anything more than Rs 3,000. The luxury hotels at Agra are considered to be among the best in the country. Agra gets tourists all through the year and hence advance booking of rooms is advisable.
Where to eat
Agra’s tasteful delicacies are a favorite with Indian as well as foreigners. Sweets like pedas, gajak, dalmoth and pethas are a specialty of this city. Agra is a favorite destination for Mughalai cuisine as well.
Best time to visit
Best time to visit Agra would be from October to March. October to March is good for sight seeing and spending evenings at Taj Mahal. April to June is dry and hot, but one can visit the Taj Mahal, especially the illumination at night is a wonderful sight to experience. Keep summer clothes, sunglasses and water bottles with you.