Agra is home to the famed Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world. Thus it is no surprise that Agra continues to be a popular tourist destination.
Agra came into limelight way back in the year 1501 when Sikandar Lodi named this historical town as the capital of his empire. Babur later captured the town and the famed Koh – i – Nur diamond. His grandson Akbar made Agra the capital of his empire. In the years to come Shah Jahan was to make the famed Taj Mahal in memory of his wife in this historical town.
There is more to Agra today than just history as it is a bustling town with busy streets and quaint shops selling local handicraft and street food. While people from around the world throng to get a glimpse of the Taj, Agra has many other astounding monuments to visit and a plenty of other options close by.
When you plan a visit to the Mausoleum make sure that you do it by daylight as it closes early. Typical of Emperor Akbar, a visionary and planner par excellence, he designed his own mausoleum ahead of his death. This magnificent structure is located at a distance of twelve Km from Agra in the city of Sikandara. It is four storeys high and the highest storey is built in white marble with the false tomb. The first three storeys are in red Sandstone and the real tomb of the emperor is located in a crypt below.
Plan a half day trip and you will find some quaint eating options on the way to Fatehpur Sikri. A city built in Red Stone; this magnificent city was designed and created by the mighty Mughal Emperor Akbar. If history is any index the entire city was designed and commissioned by the emperor and cost the state exchequer a million rupees. The lawns, roads and harems were exquisitely designed and although it may have lost some of its past glory, the city continues to entice and mesmerize tourists.
Similar to most heritage cities with an imperial history, there are plenty of things that one can do when in Agra:
If you have a penchant for nature then you can scarcely miss this safari. Conveniently located at a distance of 77 Km from Agra, River Chambal has a lot to offer. A nature lover’s paradise, The National Chambal Safari offers a range of wild life options like Dolphins, migratory birds, turtles and even Gharials. Cruises down the river or just lazing in the sun are some enchanting options for tourists to this enchanting place.
If you are nature lover or a bird watcher, the odds are you will not want to miss this exotic Wild Life Sanctuary. Located a distance of 50 Km from Agra It is easily accessible by road and is home to well over two hundred species of migratory birds. Thus it is not surprising that it was declared as a UNESCO protected site way back in the year 1971.
This is a dance and light show which uses a magnificent replica model of the Taj bathed in a range of colours and hues which depict and array of emotions and moods. If you are in Agra make sure that you do not miss out the show, as it is staged everyday at 6.30 PM at the Kalakriti Cultural and Conventional Centre within walking distance of the Taj.
If you are a shopaholic, then Agra is the right destination for you. Prepare to haggle and negotiate hard and you could have the right deal on your hands provided that you know where to look. As you walk through the wholesale markets you would find it particularly fascinating that these markets are more than four hundred years old and are known to exist since Mughals times.