Agra is a famous tourist destination in India and home to the majestic Taj Mahal. It was the capital of Mughal emperors, a status that was later passed on to Delhi. But Taj Mahal is not the sole reason to visit Agra, though, as the city has many other exciting places you can (and should) visit like the Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri and two UNESCO World Heritage sites. Tourists usually take up a small trip to Agra from Delhi. It seems too inadequate to visit Agra in just one day, but if planned correctly you can visit all the major attractions. Agra is a historical city and, as mentioned, one of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal, is present here. So, one day in Agra will certainly give you plenty to do.
Guest post by Manish Yadav
What’s the best time to visit Agra?
Agra in Winter (October – March)
Most tourists prefer to visit Agra during this time of the year due to its pleasant and cool weather. Without any discomfort, you can easily visit all the tourist attractions. However, you must book your hotel in advance, as it gets a little crowded during this period. Taj Mahotsav is the famous festival held in February.
Agra in Summer (April – July)
Summer temperatures in Agra can be as high as 45 degrees Celsius, which is extremely hot. It is uncomfortable and virtually impossible to visit monuments in Agra due to this extreme heat. It is advised not to visit Agra during summer, but if you do make sure you visit the sights as early as possible in the morning.
Agra in the Monsoon Season (July – September)
During the monsoon season, it will be quiet and humid, so this is not a bad time to visit Agra. The temperatures will not be too high and there won’t be so much rainfall. Do make sure to carry water with you, though. The crowds shouldn’t be that big. Ram Barat is the famous festival celebrated in Agra during the month of September.
A Few Facts About Agra:
1. Yamuna River was once called the Blue River due to its clean river bed.
2. Agra is the second most self-employed city, right after Varanasi, in India.
3. Agra was built before the Mahabharat period and it was called ‘Agraban’.
4. It is a city with three UNESCO World Heritage sites.
5. Agra is the largest shoe-manufacturing hub.
One Day in Agra Itinerary
Must visit places in Agra include the Taj Mahal, Itmad-Ud-Daulah tomb, Mankameshwar Temple, Ram Bagh, Akbar’s tomb and Agra Fort. Of course, you can sprinkle in some shopping between visits, too. One day in Agra can be enough to enjoy the city, and you can travel by India’s Palace on Wheels, the most famous luxury train in the world.
9:30 a.m or 8:30 p.m. – Taj Mahal in the sun or moon
Taj Mahal is a magnificent monument and a tribute to Mumtaz, who was a dear wife of Shah Jahan. Mumtaz died in 1631 and Taj Mahal is a reminder of her death. The prayer room, museum, monument and the garden are the top things to enjoy here. The best time to visit this place is at the sunrise or in the evening, under the moonlight. It takes about two hours to go throught everything thoroughly, and it takes 17 minutes to reach Taj Mahal from Agra. The best way to reach it is by car or cab.
11:30 a.m. – visiting the Red Fort of Agra
The Red Fort of Agra is located on the right bank of the Yamuna. The fort is surrounded by a 21.4 m fortification wall and spreads out across 94 acres of land. It is situated 2km northwest to the Taj Mahal. You can visit it from sunrise to sunset and 4.7 km away is the Agra Cantt Railway station.
1:30 p.m. – Sikandra
Sikandra is located about 10 km from Agra. The mausoleum of Sikandra, Akbar is a blending of Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Jain, Buddhist traditions and themes. This tomb was planned by Akbar himself and was completed by Jahangir, his son, in 1613.
1:30 p.m. – Lunch at the Itimad-Ud-Daulah Tomb
The Itimad-Ud-Daulah Tomb was inspired by the construction of Taj Mahal and it looks like a jewel box set. It is a mausoleum which overlooks the Yamuna and is dedicated to the court minister of Shah Jahan, Mir Ghiyas Beg. It is located 3 km north of Agra Fort.
3:00 p.m. – Chini Ka Rauza
Chini Ka Rauza is another architectural masterpiece of the Mughals and a piece of original Persian architecture in the city. It is dedicated to the Persian poet and scholar Allama Khan Mullah Shukrullah of Shiraz who later became the PM of Shah Jahan. It is located 4 km away from Agra Fort and the best way to reach it is by car or cab.
5:00 p.m. – Samadhi of Soamiji Maharaj
Samadhi or Soamiji Maharaj is located on the Yamuna River. Soamiji Maharaj was born in 1875 at panni Gali. It is located 7 km away from Agra Fort and the best way to reach it is by cab or car.
6:00 p.m. – Mankameswar Temple:
Mankameshwar Temple is one of the ancient temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. According to Hindu mythology, it is believed that Shiva Linga in the temple was created by Lord Shiva himself when Lord Krishna was born in Mathura. People must wear traditional Indian clothing only, namely dhoti and sari. During Sawan month, Monday is luck and therefore the majority of believers worship Lord Shiva on that day. It is 5 km from the Agra Cantonment train station and 1 km from Agra Fort.
6:45 p.m. – Guru Ka Taal
Guru Ka Taal was previously known as Taal, which is a reservoir built near Sikandra. It was built to collect rainwater in Agra during Jehangir’s reign in 1610 AD. It is dedicated to the 9th Sikh Guru Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji. It is located 1.4 km away from Agra.
Where to stay in Agra?
The Coral Court Homestay
It is the best place to stay in Agra, about 3.7 km away from the centre of the city. It is 701 m from the Taj Mahal and 2.2 mi from Agra Fort.
Hotel Atulyaa Taj
Hotel Atulyaa Taj, a boutique hotel, features a rooftop restaurant and is located just 1640 feet away from the Taj Mahal. An outdoor swimming pool is well maintained for the guests to relax.
Taj Castle Homestay
It offers pet-friendly accommodation along with features like free parking on site, wifi, air conditioning and clothes racks.
Day trips from Agra
Apart from the major attractions, there are many other places worth visiting from Agra. Gwalior, Fatehpur, Chambel wildlife sanctuary, Bharatpur and many more.
Extra tips for visiting Agra
Recommended Places to Eat
This is the best spot for south Indian cuisine. All the thalis here are spectacular and the ice cream desserts are really worth a shot. This restaurant was opened in memory of the owner’s father, and the legacy is very strong. Make sure to have something to eat in Dasaprakash on your way to Taj Mahal.
Esphahan is a traditional Indian restaurant located inside the Oberi Amarvilas hotel. It is essential to make a reservation if you’re visiting. North Indian tandoori delight and Kerala shrimp curry are the dishes you must try. If you are planning to have a romantic evening with your partner then this is the perfect place which offers santoor playing in the background.
Other important tips:
1. Arrive early to the ticket booth.
2. Choose your gate wisely when visiting Taj Mahal.
3. Make sure to carry bug spray with you.
4. East side of the Taj Mahal has nice lighting in the morning.
5. Consider a Full Moon Tour at the Taj Mahal.Plan your trip and spend at least one day in Agra by booking Palace on Wheels train online which helps to make your seat reserve in advance.
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