About 215 kilometers south of Delhi is Agra, statistically the most visited city in India . If you imagine this immense country as an eternal flow of contrasts, Agra is the clearest example. To the naked eye it turns out to be a city tremendously boisterous, oppressive, and in many occasions, dirty and almost without any sense of the order.
However, its legendary attractions, including the imposing Taj-Mahal , make it unique and wonderful. Almost everything else is relegated to the white beauty of this wonder of humanity. However, it would not be entirely fair to visit Agra exclusively for the Taj-Mahal, since its history is transited by other attractions.
To all this is added the fact of being one of the most artistic cities of India, with a popular craftsmanship of enormous interest. Magic and mystery, mysticism, monuments that you have to visit at least once in your life, tradition, Agra is a dream destination for any good tourist worth his salt.
Places to visit in Agra:
Built by the Mughal emperor Sha-Jahan between 1632 and 1648, as you know, in honor of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahan, who died in childbirth, is possibly one of the most beautiful mausoleums in the world. On Fridays you can have free access to the interior, although if possible the best thing is to go early to see the sunrise, or stay until sunset. Sure you get hundreds of photos.
You have to walk through its gardens, enjoy the beauty inside, like a fairytale palace (not in vain does the name mean Crown Palace). Notice how the tone of marble changes with sunlight. The structure carries precious stones and verses from the Koran. The most recommended. Enjoy and experience it in every detail.
When you see him, his name is more than clear. Its red walls are very close to the Taj-Mahal, and were erected in the sixteenth century. It is really huge, as its walls are about two and a half kilometers, hosting a small succession of palaces, courtrooms, exotic rooms, courtyards, gardens and the magnificent Mosque of Marble. It is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1983.
This pavilion, which is inside the Red Fort, is the one that houses the royal rooms of the entire complex. It is not too big, although it is of great beauty. It is divided into a living room or Baithak and Khwabgah, three suites that are the main bedrooms. Beside it have the Burj Mussaman, or octagonal tower, and the Tasbih Khana, the place of the emperor’s private prayers.
Jama Masjid Mosque
Located opposite the Red Fort, it is one of the largest mosques in India. It was built in 1648 by Sha Jahan, to dedicate it to his favourite daughter, Jahanara Begum. It imposes its red sandstone, and its decoration in white and blue marble. Crowned by three stone domes, it is surrounded by the bazaar area, so it will be an easy place to pass.
Located on the other side of the Yamuna River, it was built in 1628 by order of Nur Jahan, who buried there his father Mirza Ghiyas Beg, who bore the title of the name of the mausoleum. With its four hexagonal towers of thirteen meters at the ends, it is considered the forerunner of the Taj Mahal, due to its shape, the whiteness of its marble and the elements used in its decoration.
House of the Missionaries of Charity
It is not really a tourist place, much less, but anyone who remembers and is moved by the legacy of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, must at least go through here and discover the work of these missionaries of charity. In Agra they give shelter and food to hundreds of people, and only live on the donation of the people who pass by.
A visit to the city of Fatehpur Sikri is essential , located 42 kilometers from Agra. Today it is a desert city, but in its time it was the capital of the empire. Its impressive wall gives way to a whole museum of monuments, with the Panch Palace, the Palace of the Winds, the Mausoleum of Salim Chisti, the Tower of Hiran Minar or the Palace of Jodh Bai. It takes at least a couple of hours to cover the entire Mughal architecture.
Another wonderful excursion that we propose is to take the Shatabdi Express train that, in two hours, takes you from Agra to Delhi (or vice versa). Much closer, four kilometers from Agra, is the Akbar Mausoleum , made of sandstone and marble.
Agra is a city that offers a warm climate during practically the whole year, although between the months of June and October it usually rains frequently. Tropical type, it is very hot in summer, reaching even 45 degrees. That is why it is more advisable to visit Agra in autumn and winter because, although it is cold, it is much more bearable.
Maybe it does not have a nightlife as lively as other cities in India, but in Agra we will find discos, bars and pubs, with dance floors, DJ’s and others. If yours is something more tranquil, there is nothing better than walking in the light of the moon through the outer enclosure of the Taj Mahal or seeing the light and sound show at Agra Fort.
How to Reach
Agra is a city so boisterous and chaotic in terms of traffic, taking a taxi is an adventure and a bus a waste of time. Unless the distances are very long, it is best to go on foot, rent a bicycle or venture with the taxi. If you want to make excursions in the surroundings, the best ones are buses, trains or taxis (arrange a price with them.) Generally, three hours of travel costs around 300 rupees.
Either you can take the luxury trains like Palace on Wheels India which starts their journey from Delhi.
To do it very fast, you can take a flight from Delhi that takes just thirty minutes to get to Agra. From the capital of India you can also take the Shatabdi Express train, which takes about two hours, or the bus, which runs through both cities in five hours. If you rent a car, bear in mind that in India you drive like in England, besides the roads are a bit bad.
Plan your trip now! Also know more about the Palace on Wheels train cost and ready to make your trip more precious.