Agra is along the Yamuna River, one of the largest tributaries of India’s legendary Ganga river. This gem is undoubtedly one of the top places to visit while on vacation in India. You can book a flight ticket from New Delhi to visit Agra district and book hotel online before your stay. In our discussion, we look at some of the best places to visit in Agra, where to stay, activities to engage in, and everything else you need to know.
There are many attractions in this city that date back over four centuries. Visitors have a lot to feast their eyes on and lots of activities to make the tour enjoyable. Some buildings are historical with antique architecture and vibrant décor. There are beautiful gardens along the banks of river Yamuna, exotic wildlife, magnificent pavilions and more. You’ll also get a glimpse of the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
1. Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal is one of the famous places to visit while in Agra. It’s open all days between 6.00 am to 7.00 pm except Fridays. There is an admission fee for grown-ups and teenagers. However, kids below the age of 15 are allowed free. Notably, visitors cannot carry toys, food, cigarettes, lighters, and other items.
Taj Mahal is located next to the banks of the River Yamuna. The story behind this site is more like a love story or a fairytale. Emperor Shah Jahan of the Mughal Empire was perhaps the most romantic man of his time. Sadly, he built this historical site in memory of his deceased wife, Madam Mumtaz Mahal. He wanted to express his love and sadness for his late wife.
Taj Mahal is one of the most famous wonders of the world. If you’re planning to visit India, then it should be on your itinerary. However, many people visit this site to have a glimpse of the architectural wonder. Therefore, it’s important to get there early and have a local guide who is knowledgeable about the place and tickets.
Besides the amazing structures, you can walk around the neighborhood and have a breath of fresh air.
You can’t get enough of this place, and many people have yearly visits. This stunning place has magnificent buildings that include a beautiful interior made of marble.
If you’re a foreign national, you can access this Indo-Islamic site via the Easter gate. However, if you’re travelling with a tour company, there’ll be less hassle as everything will be catered for.
Everything unfolds after you pass through the security section, frontcourt, and the main gate. The main gate leads you to the Taj Mahal, and here you have a complete view of this world wonder.
When visiting places of Agra, you’ll witness the lush green gardens and the water beds. Here you can have the best shot of the building and the beautiful surrounding.
As you continue walking towards the Taj Mahal, the structure appears, even more real, just like you’ve seen in pictures and videos. There are buildings on either side, towards the left side, there’s a mosque. And the right-side hosts a drawing area, which is also known as Mehmaan Khana.
From here, you can descend the stairs on your left to access the historical mausoleum. The primary reason Taj Mahal is special is that it’s a story of love and the architectural designs are unforgettable. Here you’ll get the best moment and memories to last a lifetime.
2. Agra Fort
Agra Fort is an important historical site which you should visit in Agra. Just like the Taj Mahal, it dates back to the Mughal era. It got its name from Akbar, who was the ruler of the period ending 1605.
Agra served as the Mughal Empire’s capital city, and the fort was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site around four decades ago. This fort is a symbol of power, lavishness, and strength of the famous Mughal dynasty. Agra Fort is located 200 km from New Delhi capital city of India and 2.5 kilometres from Taj Mahal.
Visitors can access the spot between 6.00 am to 6.00 pm every day. However, the prices are different, with foreigners paying more than the locals.
3. Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri is approximately 40 kilometres from the district of Agra. It’s one of the best places to visit in Agra. Akbar built the city, however; it was abandoned as early as 1610. One thing that makes this town unique is that the buildings comprise predominantly red sandstone.
It’s currently a UNESCO heritage site and houses several other structures such as Salim Chishti Tomb, Jama Mosque, Jodha’s palace, and Buland Darwaza. The building is a great art and has both Islamic and Indian encampments.
There is a mix of tradition and religion, and the place was built in honour of Sheikh Salim Chishti. He predicted the coming of the famous Emperor Mughal. Akbar also built three stunning palaces for his different wives representing their diverse religions.
Some of the best hotels to stay near the majestic Fatehpur Sikri include Joey’s, Hostel, Hotel Taj Resort, and Taj Hotel and convention centre. Flight ticket booking is simple and straightforward since you can do it online.
4. Itmad-ud-Daulah’s Tomb
The Itmad-ud-Daulah’s Tomb site is a Mughal mausoleum along the Yamuna river banks. It’s a historical place that is beautifully designed. It’s also known as the jewel box and comprises beautiful gardens, various buildings, and an ancient tomb.
The building’s architectural design and interior decoration derive some inspiration from the Taj Mahal. Another name for this site is Baby Taj.
Beautiful walkways and water courses crisscross the garden with the building occupying at least 23 meters square. Its walls comprise white marble with stone carvings encrusting the outside. There are beautiful images of wine bottles, banquet vases, and cypress trees.
The tomb came into existence in 1628 thanks to Nur Jahan, who was Jahangir’s beautiful wife. The white marble illuminates the tomb to create a spectacle.
5. Akbar’s Tomb
If you’re a fan of history, Akbar’s tomb is one of the best places to visit in Agra. This tomb was built in 1613 by Jahangir and has some amazing marble decorations and designs. It consists of red stone, and hence it stands out as a stylish structure. Inside, there is the Akbar tomb, which is surrounded by mysterious drawings and marble details.
Although Akbar didn’t complete building his tomb, his son Jahangir did. It took up to four years to complete the entire structure. However, there were raids to the tombs in subsequent years. The structure was restored in the early years of the 20th century. It’s a historical site, and its preservation holds lots of insight into Emperor Akbar’s lives.
Another outstanding feature is the big gate with white marble specs along with its panels. The tomb is located in an underground chamber, and as you approach it; you feel like there’s some connection to the mystical past.
A wall surrounds the tomb, and the pavilion presents the tomb of Akbar. However, this is not the true tomb since the original remains of the emperor were burnt to ashes.
6. Moti Masjid
Moti Masjid is also known as the Pearl Mosque and is a remarkable structure at the Yamuna riverbanks. It was built in 1648 by Shah Jahan. Although it’s not as popular as the Taj Mahal, it’s one place you wouldn’t miss when visiting places of Agra. The most striking thing about this building is the admirable white marble together with the antique designs and attractive architecture.
This mosque’s location is breathtaking as it rests on a sloppy area with the sides comprising fine-looking walkways. Without a doubt, tourists in Agra can’t get enough of the pearl mosque.
7. Sikandra Fort
The Sikandra Fort is yet another collection of Akbar’s Tomb, built around 1605 by Jahangir. It is located 13km from Agra Fort, which is Mughal’s tomb.
This fort consists of a large garden surrounded by tall walls and a structural gateway in the mid-section. The entire garden consists of four chambers with long terraces containing a water body in the middle.
The terraces have tanks with beautiful fountains overflowing. There is a pavement that visitors follow to access this ancient tomb. In addition, five buildings assume a pyramid shape.
This fort is popular because of the magnificent gates, red stone buildings, and tombs. Therefore, thousands of tourists come to the fort to witness this historical sensation.
The architectural design has a significant influence from Hindu culture, especially the openings and balconies. Moreover, the stone carvings are classic. As you get closer to the tomb, you’ll notice the square design, which is a unique feature of this structure.
8. Jodha Bai ka Rauza
Jodha Bai ka Rauza is a traditional palace, and just like the Taj Mahal, there’s a love story behind its design. It’s named after one of Akbar’s favourite queens. It’s located approximately 1km from the Fatehpur railway station.
Jodha Bai ka Rauza is one of the oldest and largest monuments in the Fatehpur Sikri complex, and also one of the best places to visit in Agra. As per history records, Akbar took the reigns of Malwa. However, there was a lot of resistance from other ancient kings.
Akbar used diplomacy to resolve such conflicts and would marry princesses from the Rajput clan. Jodha Bai was a sibling to Man Singh who was a powerful emperor in Jaipur.
The famous emperor Akbar built this monument in memory of his wife, Jodha Bai ( Mariam-UZ Zamani Begum). It’s a symbol of peace between the Hindu and Muslim communities, and that’s why it’s popular amongst tourists.
This monument represents a blend of Islamic and Hindu architecture patterns such as the Gujarati, Rajasthani, and more. The palace has a rectangular pavilion and a pathway that leads to the east.
There are guard rooms that protect the entire block. You’ll also find Indian motifs such as parrot, srivatsa mark, elephants, and ghant mala. Without a doubt, Jodha Bai Palace is a place worth visiting and a good way to view domes, round pillars, and chhatris.
Bateshwar is a small town along the River Yamuna banks. It’s approximately 70km from Agra City and derives its name from Lord Shiva. This sanctuary is famous among the Hindu community and has many temples where pilgrims visit all year round. It’s a sacred location after the dhams voyage. There is a lot of reference to Mahabharat, Ramayan, and Matsya Purana.
Other than the religious attachment, the buildings are ancient with architecture dating back to hundreds of years. There are beautiful paintings and scriptures of plants.
The Jain temples are also present here, and Jain pilgrims adore this place. Bateshwar is popular because of the yearly cattle fair, which also dates back to four centuries ago. The shopping extravagance coincides with the annual prayer months. Here traders, visitors, and saints.
Some animals in the fair include camels, horses, oxen, and goats. Also, you’ll find spices, utensils and furniture. The beauty of this place is that visitors get to experience authentic Indian experience.
10. Mehtab Bagh
Featuring a crescent shape, this part is among the eleven gardens at the riverbanks of Yamuna. Mehtab Bagh is located in the northern area of Agra Fort and Taj Mahal along the Yamuna riverbank. This special place is peaceful and has a lush green garden. Muslims are emotionally attached since it gets some inspiration from the Holy Quran’s four gardens.
A Mughal emperor built it in the early 14th century. During this time, the Taj Mahal and many other historical structures hadn’t been built. After years of disrepair, Shah Jahan rebuilt this historical park to protect the Taj Mahal from sand erosion.
Indeed, you can view the Taj Mahal from this location just like Shah Jahan would in the olden days. It’s also known as the Moonlight garden, and couples love this place to relax and take beautiful photos.
Everything about Mehtab Bagh is alluring, and the Persian design will mesmerize you. The garden has four pavilions with white pathways on the landscape. The pavilions have ample ventilation and are surrounded by water fountains and beautiful trees. At the turn of the 20th century, floods destroyed the palace as River Yamuna burst its banks.
There was sand everywhere, and it was not until 1994 when restoration began. The Indian archaeological body started the excavation process. From archaeological studies, Shah Jahan had a desire to construct a second Taj Mah which would be his tomb. However, most people believe that it’s just a myth since there is no evidence to back up the theory.
Presently, the garden is functional with lots of plants such as guava, hibiscus, and citrus. If you’d like to catch an excellent view of the sunset, Mehtab Bagh is certainly one of the best places to visit in Agra.
11. Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity
Mother Teresa is renowned and famous because of her contribution to works of charity. At Agra district, this is clear through the Missionaries of charity, a shelter for nuns who care for the less privileged.
This centre was established in 1950 by Mother Teresa to give support and care to the needy. Currently, there are over 4500 catholic nuns who work in over 600 missions in 133 countries.
You can visit the home and spend time with the orphans, homeless, sick, and elderly. Most tourists who come to Agra donate money out of compassion and kindness.
The centre in Agra has a home for children suffering from various forms of disabilities such as mental or physical. The nuns also distribute medicines in dispensaries and homes. They also conduct empowerment classes for women and visit home to teach religious studies.
12. Bear Rescue Facility – Wildlife SOS
Wildlife SOS is a shelter for animals and nature conservation in Agra districts. What makes the bear centre unique is that it’s the largest of its kind in the world. It was established close to two decades ago by Wildlife SOS and the forest department in India. It’s home to at least 130 bears and other wildlife species.
It’s also a research centre that offers specialized care to bears. Sick bears are also well taken care of, among other things.
You’ll find this place at the Sarovar bird centre. It’s the best place to watch bears in their natural habitat. It’s the first of its kind in India, and hence it’s a major attraction for visitors. Tourists also learn about wild bears, their general lifestyle, and conservation.
They hold every rescued bear for a 90 day isolation period to undergo health checks. They are also put under a treatment program for parasites, diseases, wounds, and several ailments. There’s also vaccination against hepatitis, rabbis, leptospirosis, and other illnesses.
After quarantine, they assess the bears based on their socialization, behavioural, and personality traits. After that, the bears join other groups and move to other areas.
The advantage of this shelter is that the doctors are qualified, and the team is fully dedicated to taking care of homeless bears. There’s also a laboratory with state-of-the-art equipment such as theatre, ultrasound, x-ray, and dental suite.
Another amazing feature of this sanctuary is the weaning area for small cubs and also acts as a rescue centre for baby bears. If you love nature and conservation, then wildlife SOS is a must place to visit in the Agra district.
13. Taj Nature Walk
Walking around parks with beautiful trees and hummingbirds is magical, and the Taj nature walk offers everything in one package. The district of Agra has several conservation projects to preserve the Agra as a historical site, and Taj Nature Walk is one of them.
Visitors and local people walk around the Taj Mahal and enjoy the beautiful scenery. You’ll have time to watch nature from the towers on the pathway. Also, there are breathtaking trees, flowers, and you get to enjoy a cool breeze of air. That’s not all; there are rare birds such as kingfishers, parakeets, and more.
Additionally, there are small paths that mushroom everywhere, and it’s a nice place to explore the shortcuts to the countryside.
The garden covers 70 hectares of land and is a paradise with stunning views. You can also have an unrestricted view of the Taj Mahal at this location. The Yamuna river flows quietly along the trail, and there are many places where you can view different plants and bird species.
The ground features valleys, rifts, grass mounds, and ridges. There are various flower species like jackals, hares, blue bulls, and more.
14. Gurudwara Guru Ka Taal
Gurudwara Guru Ka Taal is not as popular as the other sites in the legendary Agra district. However, you can treat your eyes to some historical architecture found in this shrine. Guru Ka Tal is also a historical place where pilgrims meet to commemorate Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji.
Each year devotees visit this area in their remembrance. The site was constructed in the seventeenth century as a water collection point. It’s here that the Guru offered his hands for arrest.
As a rainwater reservoir, locals could cultivate and use the water for irrigation. Then, a red sandstone building with marble touches was erected at the site. Out of the twelve towers built in Tal, only seven are still standing.
15. Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid is a large Indian mosque located in Agra city. And one of the best places to visit in Agra. It’s a beautiful piece of art with intrinsic designs and historical architecture. Emperor Shah Jahan dedicated this mosque to his daughter, Ms Jahanara Begum.
Like most Indo-Islamic buildings in Agra, this building is made of red sandstone for a magnificent appeal. The tomb has a unique design that awes visitors and residents.
It estimated the cost of construction at 1M rupees and opened its doors around 1656 AD. There are a large courtyard and three dome-shaped structures along the terrace.
The original building was captured during the 1857 revolt against the British. Luckily, the iconic structure still stands tall with renovations and repairs to boost its appearance.
16. Dolphin Water Park and Friends Gokulam
Dolphin Water Park is a cool place to relax after a long day. It’s a large water body in India, and you’ll find a luxury park. Besides, there’s a hotel that serves fast and other delicacies. There are lots of activities for the entire family, such as the water slides.
The place was established in 2002, and it sits on a 14-acre park. It’s a great place to have fun with family and friends. The giant pool is massive, and you can enjoy lots of water games. Also, there are other activities such as merry go round rides and the dolphin express kid train.
During celebrations, many people gather here to have fun and enjoy happy moments. There is also the Friends Gokulam, an amusement park in Agra and like the Dolphin site, there are lots of activities to indulge. This city waterpark is suitable for visitors, family including older people.
17. The Bagh Restaurant
The Bagh restaurant is a good option if you’re visiting Agra and looking for a place to stay. There is a lot of space where children can play, and grown-ups can relax. It occupies twelve acres, and there’s an outdoor pool to cool off on a hot summer day.
There are parks around where you can visit and see the wildlife. For instance, the Agra and Keoladeo national parks are just nearby. There are historical sites such as the Taj Mahal, which you can visit during your stay. The rooms are spacious with stunning bathrooms, ornate fabrics, and furnishings. The food is sumptuous with a highlight of Indian and Islamic cuisine.
18. Indo-Islamic Bazaars
A visit to the district of Agra won’t be complete without a shopping spree at the traditional bazaars. The markets are a beehive of activities, and here visitors have time to sample local varieties. There are lots of classic items such as handicrafts, leatherware, rugs, textiles, saris, glassware, and more. Also, there are many hotels where you can get delicious meals.
19. Chini Ka Rauza
Chini Ka Rauza is a historical site in Agra that dates back to 1635, and one of the best places to visit in Agra. This temple is along the river Yamuna banks and is a great tourist attraction. These architectural designs draw aspiration from Indo-Persian. The windows comprise glaze glass while the chini tiles feature a collection of vibrant colours such as orange, green, yellow, and turquoise.
There are inscriptions, drawings, and letters from the holy Quran. Inside the inner chamber is the last resting place of Afzal Khan, a famous poet and an officer of Shah Jehan’s court.
20. Anguri Bagh
Anguri Bagh means a great harvest of ripe grapes and beautiful flowers. In the olden day, loyal princesses would rest in this garden. Also known as the grape garden, the place is more attractive with a beautiful green landscape. This picturesque sanctuary is located in Agra Fort at Khas Mahal.
Anguri Bagh is deeply rich in history, and there are nice monuments that take you back in time. The gold paintings are astonishing, and the landscape has tanks and fountains that add to its beauty.
The main area has a large hall and small rooms in a semi-circular pattern. There is a spacious courtyard at the front side where you’ll find fountains overlooking the beautiful garden.
21. Machhi Bhawan
Machhi Bhawan is about 2.5km from Taj Mahal and 4.5 km from Agra-cantonment railway station. It’s a double storied complex comprising an old structure with antique galleries and stunning gardens.
In the early days, this court had fountains and marble tanks that were home to exotic fish species. It was an amusement park for Mughal Emperor, and word has it was the home of the golden throne.
The southern building is a striking marble pavilion with a stunning sun medallion hanging in the ceiling. Here, the emperor would relax to have a magnificent view of the expansive court. The lower rooms had jewellery and treasury objects.
Towards the east, there was a luxurious chamber that acted as a bath area for the royalties. The southern part has a reception area and an open terrace. The inscriptions on the black throne date back to around 1602.
UNESCO hails Diwan-I-Aam as a heritage monument or location. It’s a beautiful place located in Agra city, and when visiting places of Agra, it should be in your bucket list. Emperor Shah Jehan could have public participation with his subjects. He would listen to their concerns and offer solutions. The architectural design is stunning, and there are lots of books written in honour of this legendary place.
23. The Oberoi Amarvilas
The Oberoi Amarvilas is yet another splendid hotel in Agra with impressive views of the Taj Mahal. It features an outdoor pool where you can swim and relax after a long day touring the area. The blue pool is surrounded by beautiful pieces of furniture, such as lounge chairs.
There are a courtyard and beautiful marble hallways. The architect is breathtaking, and restaurants serve Indian and Italian cuisines.
For royalty treatment, you can have a treat and pampering at the spa and steam rooms. The good news is that it’ll take you less than half an hour from the Cantonment Railway Station in Agra. Also, the streets are free of the usual traffic jams in busy towns and cities. Here you’ll find only cows, shuttle buses, and cyclists. Amazingly, there is free Wi-Fi for the guests, and it offers some of the most reasonable rates in Agra. Nightlife offers soothing music and vibrant decor.
The rooms are executive with natural lighting and luxurious columns, paintings, and statues. You’ll get the best comfort and a splendid view of the Taj Mahal.
If you’re looking for some classic adventure, Agra district is the place to be. It has a lot of historical buildings with traditional architecture that dates back many years ago. You can book cheap flights and visitors from all walks of life visit this historical site. Other than that, there are beautiful gardens and luxurious hotels where you can relax and have a taste of Indo-Islamic cuisines.
If you’re a nature lover, you can walk along the pathways and view the exotic wildlife. Undoubtedly, the Taj Mahal is the most outstanding monument of this historical site and the places to visit in Agra. Hopefully, you’ll get to enjoy your visit to Agra and indulge in various activities.