Friday , October 15 2021
Agra The Taj City
Agra The Taj City

Agra: The Taj City

Agra is popularly known as Taj City or Taj Nagri. It is located on the bank of river Yamuna. It is one of the most famous districts of Uttar Pradesh. It ranked 24th in the list of best tourist spots in India. Since Agra was one of the most important cities under the Mughals, it witnessed a lot of historical activity. The Taj Mahal, which is one of the seven wonders of the world, made Agra a popular tourist spot among Indians as well as foreigners. Due to this reason, a large number of tourists visit Agra every year.

Brief History

  • In Mahabharata, Agra was referred to as Agravana. It is believed that the golden age of the city began with the arrival of Mughals in India. Agra was the capital of the Mughal Empire between 1556-1648. It was then called Akbarabad & was founded by the Sultan Sikander Lodi in 1504. He was ruler of Delhi Sultanate. After him, Agra went in hands of his son – Sultan Ibrahim Lodi. He was defeated by Babar in the first battle of Panipat in 1526. It was marked as the rise of the Mughal Empire.
  • Babur was the founder of the Mughal dynasty. He made the first formal Persian garden, Aram Bagh (Garden of Relaxation) on the bank of river Yamuna. Between 1540-1556, Sher Shah Suri had established his Sur Empire in Agra. It was eventually reconquered by Akbar in the Second Battle of Panipat in 1556.
  • Emperor Akbar divided the emperor into 12 subahs, Agra is one of them. Akbar raised the towering ramparts of the Red Fort. He was making Agra a centre for learning, arts, commerce, and religion. Akbar also built a new capital city of Fatehpur Sikri, around 35 km from Akbarabad. Jahangir, his successor, made beautiful places & gardens. After that, Shah Jahan gave Agra its most prized monument, the Taj Mahal. It was built in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. It took 20 years to complete Taj Mahal.
  • Shah Jahan shifted the capital of Agra, Akbarabad to Shahjahanabad (Delhi) in 1648. Then his son Aurangzeb moved the capital back to Akbarabad, and took over the sultanate. Aurangzeb imprisoned his father in Agra Fort.
  • After the decline of the Mughal Empire, the city came under the influence of the Marathas and was renamed Agra. And finally British East India Company took over the land in 1803.

State/district/capital

Present Agra is a famous district of Uttar Pradesh. It is located in the north-central part of India. Uttar Pradesh is the 4th largest state of India in terms of land with an area of 2,43,286 sq. km. The capital of Uttar Pradesh is Lucknow. Agra is ranked number 4 on most visited tourist spots in Uttar Pradesh.

Population

Uttar Pradesh is the most populous Indian state with the population of 241 million people. Population of Agra according to census 2011 is 15.8 lakh out of which 8.4 lakhs are Male & 7.3 lakhs are female.

Language

The official Language of Agra is Hindi. Braj Bhasha is also spoken by local people.

Weather

  • Summer Season: May to June
  • Average Temperature: 28°C to 40°C
  • Monsoon Season: July to September
  • Average Temperature: 26°C to 34°C
  • Autumn Season: October to November
  • Average Temperature: 20°C to 34°C
  • Winter Season: December to February
  • Average Temperature: 8°C to 23°C
  • Spring Season: March to April
  • Average Temperature: 20°C to 25°C

When to visit Agra?

The best time to visit Agra is from November to February. The weather during this period is pleasant & cool. It is also the peak time for tourists so you will find a large crowd. And if you do not like hot summer & humid monsoon, this is the best time for you. You can enjoy & explore the tour with pleasant days and chilly nights.

How to reach Agra?

Agra is well connected to the cities like Delhi, Jaipur, Mathura, Lucknow, Kanpur, Kolkata, Chennai by air, road & train. If you are planning to visit Agra and wonder the best way to reach the city, Here’s the ways you can consider :

By Air

  • You can only board the flights of Air India to reach Agra. The nearest airport to Agra’s Kheria Airport is Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi. The flight takes less than an hour to reach Agra.
  • Neighbouring airports include Gwalior airport, Jaipur airport, Kanpur airport and Lucknow airport. There are scheduled flights from Bangalore to Agra and other cities. You can reach Agra by air from international cities from the above airports. There are regular flights from international countries like New York to New Delhi. You can find other international flights to New Delhi as well.

By Road

The roads are well maintained & well connected to Agra and all the major cities and other tourist destinations of North India. You can reach Agra by taking a Road trip or by Bus.

Road trip
  • The city is at a distance of approximately 240 kms from New Delhi. If you are driving Delhi to Agra then you can take NH-2 route. The distance from Jaipur is approx 230 kms and can take NH-11 route. The distance from Gwalior to Agra is 120 kms & NH-4 connects it to the city. The distance from Lucknow is approx 330 kms, And you can take Lucknow – Expressway, which takes 3 & half hours via NH-2.
  • The Delhi-Agra Taj Expressway has also reduced travel time to the Taj city. It takes 5 & a half hours. It makes the driving highly pleasurable.
By Bus

Agra has excellent transport connection by state buses to several cities like Delhi, Gwalior, Kanpur, Lucknow and Jaipur. On an average, It takes 4 to 5 hours to reach Agra by bus.

By Train

  • It is very easy to reach Agra by train. If you are planning to visit Agra by train, then there are three major railway stations you can consider. These are: The Agra Cantonment, Agra Fort and Raja ki Mandi. Agra Cantt is the major railway station located in the southwest of the Taj and Agra Fort. The monuments are located at a short distance from the station.
  • Agra Fort Railway Station is one of the oldest railway stations in India. You can find trains to cities like Kanpur, Gorakhpur, Kolkata, Patna, Ratlam, Nagda, Raja Ki Mandi, Idgah and Billochpura.
  • Delhi, Jaipur, Gwalior, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai are well-connected to Agra by regular trains. The regular trains like Punjab Mail, Malwa Express, Bhopal Express and UP Sampark Kranti leave from Delhi. Luxury trains like the Royal Rajasthan on Wheels and the Palace on Wheels stop at Agra. You can also find the Buddhist Special Train. Agra City and Yamuna Bridge are some of the other small stations where one can find trains for other routes.

From the railway station, tourists can hire a taxi, take an auto-rickshaw or book a cab to reach your stay.

Stay to prefer

Agra is a very beautiful city rich in historical monuments. So for exploring the best of Agra, you must prefer a good location for your stay. Here’s the some of best Area in Agra for Sightseeing:

Near the Fatehabad Road

This is a very preferable place to stay. The area is busy and noisy. You can find good places to stay, eat, and shop. The hotels are within 2 km by auto-rickshaw to the Taj Mahal. And some places are also at a walking distance.

Near the Taj East Gate Road

The Taj Mahal is arguably the most romantic monument on the earth. It is a popular destination for romantic couples. It provides views of the Taj after dark. The area can also be explored by chartered horse-carts or rented bicycles.

Here are some of the hotels you will find for comfortable staying in Agra.

  • Best Luxury Hotels: The Oberoi Amarvilas, Hotel Clarks Shiraz, ITC Mughal, Hotel Radisson, Agra Homestay.
  • Best Moderate Hotels: Hotel Plaza, The Fern, Crystal Sarovar Premiere Agra, Good vibes hotel, The Hangout Hotel Agra.
  • Best Cheap Hotels: Hotel Seven Hills Tower, Hotel Taj Resorts, Atulyaa Taj.

Transportation in Agra

Bus

Buses are available for all major destinations in the City. It has two main bus terminals. These are Idgah Bus Stand and ISBT, in the centre of the city & 8 km away from Taj Mahal.

Local Rickshaw & taxi

Auto-Rickshaw & taxes are freely available to all destinations

Top Places to visit in Agra

UNESCO World Heritage site in Agra

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world. It is made up of white marble and was built between 1631-1648 by Sahjahan in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaj Mahal. The beauty of Taj Mahal is the center attraction for tourism in Agra.

Agra Fort

Agra Fort was built in the 16th century by emperor Akbar. It was made up of red sandstone. Agra Fort is a symbol of power, strength and resilience. It shows the glimpse of Mughal era.

Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri city was founded in 1571 by the emperor Akbar. This city is about 40 kms away from Agra. It is a city rich in red sandstone monuments. The city has amazing architecture. It is home to Jama masjid, Buland Darwaza, Tomb of Salim Chishti, Jodha bai palace, etc

Spiritual Places

Moti Masjid

It was constructed with pure white marble, Moti Masjid takes its name from the fact that it appears to be made of pearls. Built between 1648 and 1654 by Emperor Shah Jahan for royal members of the court, its construction is a testament to the rich craftsmanship of the Mughal era. The mosque consists of 12 arches, an intricately designed and decorated prayer chamber, seven bays and three bulbous domes at the helm.

Guru Ka Taal

Guru Ka Taal Gurudwara is one of the most revered places in the city for the Sikh community. Known for its beautiful architecture, Guru Ka Taal has been built at the spot where Guru Teg Bahadur (the 9th guru of the Sikhs) laid down arms to the Mughal king Aurangzeb. The Gurudwara has historically held great importance for the Sikhs, and hundreds of devotees visit every year to pay homage to the Guru Teg Bahadur.

Bageshwarnath Temple

Located in close proximity to St. John’s College and the Sales Tax Office in one of Agra’s poshest areas, Bageshwarnath Temple is a relatively less known religious site in the city, but comes alive during Shivratri when it is illuminated with bright lights and attracts long winding queues of devotees lining up to pay their respects. Needless to say Lord Shiva is the primary deity worshipped here.

Jama Masjid

Jama Masjid of Agra also known as ‘Friday Mosque’ built in the 17th century. It is one of the largest mosques built by the Mughals in India. Jama Masjid is dedicated to Saha janah favourite daughter Jahan Ara Begum. It is built mainly of red sandstone and white marble. It has a fountain at the centre.

Soami Bagh

Soami Bagh Temple is devoted to Radha Soami. It was initially begun in the early 1900s & the work has been carried out for over 100 years and it remains incomplete. Made up of white marble, this is created to promote the unity of mankind. And the idea to combine all faiths & religion is left incomplete. Still, it is a very beautiful place to visit.

The Spiritual Museum

The Spiritual Museum is a magnificent creation of Brahma Kumaris. The main aim of the museum is to share the experience of God’s love. Hence, this famous tourist place in Agra is devoted to spiritual love and wisdom. It is an ideal place for spiritual seekers and culture buffs as well. It will give you a quality spiritual time. It is located near the Taj Nagari Phase 1. The Museum is open for all days.

Natural Attractions (Baghs)

Anguri Bhag

Built by Shah Jahan in 1637, Anguri Bagh is flanked by the Khas Mahal on its east and red sandstone walkways on its other three sides. As the name suggests, Anguri Bagh was known for its rich harvests of grapes and flowers and was also the central area of the zenana.

The garden was meant to be a private area of relaxation for the royal ladies. It is made up of a concrete platform with a fountain in the middle.

Opening-Closing Time: 6 am to 5:30 pm (Daily)

Entrance Fee: Rs. 20 (Indians), Rs. 300 (foreigners – a discount of Rs. 50 can be availed by foreigners if they holding a Taj Mahal ticket for the same day).

Location: Within Agra Fort.

Aram Bhag

In the early 20th century, Aram Bhag was expanded into a Palace to the designs of Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob. Maharaja Sawai Man Singh (second) made Rambhag his principal residence and added a number of royal suites in 1931. Even during summer, cool winds are blowing due to the nearness of river Yamuna.

Soor Sarovar Bird Century

The best time to visit Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary is during winter as guided by local fishermen. The boats are costly as they charge around 3200 INR for a whole round. There were no food facility available during this period on the main island, but it was said to us that they serve typical Gujarati food on island during winters.

Paliwal Park

K.D. Paliwal Park also known as Hewitt Park is located in the heart of Agra, India. It is spread over an area of around 70 acres. It also has a small lake and has a vast variety of trees.

Activities do in Agra

  • Enjoy the beauty of Wonder Of the World – Taj Mahal.
  • Witness The Light show & Sound show at Agra Fort.
  • Enjoy the beauty of Fatehpur Sikri
  • Take a trip to Jahangir Mahal.
  • Know the history of Agra at Taj Museum.
  • Discover the beauty of Jama Masjid.
  • Take a walk to Khas Mahal.
  • Visit the Shilpgram.
  • The Dance drama show at kalakriti centre.
  • The water world – amusement water park
  • Go on the shopping
  • Taste the Mughlai cuisine & Taste local food

Fairs & Festivals

Here are some most famous festivals and fairs of Agra. The fairs like Taj Mahotsav, Bateshwar fair, Kailash fair, Ram-Bharat are celebrated with great enthusiasm.

Taj Mahotsav

Taj Mahotsav is one of the most famous festivals in Agra. This festival is celebrated in the month of February for a maximum 10 days. The festival is organized by Uttar Pradesh tourism to promote the art and craft. The festival has amazing events like Ghazal and poetry, Camel and elephant rides etc. The festival is very enjoyable for children as well as adults.

Bateshwar fair

The town Bateshwar is located at a distance of 7 kms from Agra. This town is known for its culture and spirit. It has 108 temples of Hindu gods and goddesses. The Fair is organized in the months of October / November. It is dedicated to lord shiva.

Ram Bharat

Ram Bharat is a very popular fair, organized before Dussehra. The Ram Bharat festival is related to the great marriage of lord Rama and Sita. The fair is celebrated every year. The fair includes a traditional play called Ramleela. In this play Lord Ram fights a battle with Ravana to bring his beloved wife Sita. In the Ramleela, teenager’s play the character of RAMAYANA.

Kailash fair

It is 12 km away from Agra. Kailash fair is held in a Kailash Temple. The temple is devoted to lord shiva. This fair is celebrated in the month of August/September.

Cuisines to taste in Agra

Petha

Petha is a popular sweet of Agra. Agra is known for its Pethas. This sweet is made from white pumpkin and flavoured with nuts, spices and various other flavours such as angoori petha, chocolate petha etc.

Bhalla

Bhalla is like aloo tikki of Delhi. It is basically fried mashed potato served with chickpea, curry, chutney, dahi and spices. Every bite of Bhalla gives a burst of flavours in your mouth.

Mughlai delicacies

As Agra been a capital of Mughals in their era, so Mughlai cuisine has a special mark in Agra. Mughlai cuisine has a great variety of dishes to offer. It mostly includes flavoured meat with dried nuts.

Bedai

Bedai is a puffy kachori with spice stuffing inside. It is a breakfast meal & generally served with spicy aloo sabzi and dahi.

Jalebi

Jalebis are popular in every part of northern India. jalebis are made out of fermented batter, dipped in saffron-sugar syrup. And Jalebis are everybody’s favourite.

Paratha

Parathas are made from wheat with different stuffing from grated potatoes, grated cauliflower to carrots etc. It is the ultimate breakfast dish.

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken is one of the most famous street foods in Agra. It serve with green mint chutney.

Paneer tikka

Agra’s paneer tikka is like Hyderabadi Biryani. Both are superstars of their own city. It is cooked using coal and doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients. Tikka serves as an excellent starter. It is served with chutney.

Dalmoth

Dalmoth is basically a Namkin. This dry snack is made with spicy fried lentils & loads of nuts and raisins. It best goes with Jalebi, Pethas & tea.

Shawarma

Again a very famous dish of Agra, shawarma. It is served with green and white mint sauces. This is a chicken-filled roll.

Souvenirs to buy in Agra

Taj Mahal souvenirs

You must buy the Taj Mahal souvenirs as a token of memory. It’s made of marble, glass, crafts, etc. They look very beautiful with fine works of Taj Mahal in the form of souvenirs. These souvenirs are easily available in the premises of Taj Mahal complex and in main markets.

Carpet & Rugs

Agra is famous for Authentic Carpets & Rugs. You can find the design of Mughal architectural styles. These colourful rugs & carpets look very attractive and an excellent choice for decorating your homes. You can find decorative mats, wall hangings, carpets, etc. You can shop them available Near Taj complex, Shilpgram crafts village, Sadar Bazaar, Kinari Bazaar, Munro Rd etc.

Jewelry items

Agra is known for his heavy & authentic design jewellery. You will be surprised to see detailed works of stones in the jewelry. The gemstones of Agra are very popular after Jaipur. The must take jewellery include sapphire rings, diamond necklaces, ruby etc. For jewelry, you can visit Fatehabad Road. There you can find the stores which are well known for selling jewelry in Agra. Some other markets for jewelry are Raja Ki Mandi market, Kalakriti market etc.

Handicrafts

These are one of the most bought things in Agra. The Mughals are very fond of crafts & we can see it’s glimpse in the handicrafts. This reason makes Agra the home of craftsmen. You can find different styles of handicrafts like flower pots, marble soap stones, glasses, statues etc.You can find the Shops near the Taj Mahal complex.

Silk textiles or Sarees

Silk textiles are very famous in Agra. You can find all different types of silk saris and textiles like pure silk, velvet silk, Banarasi silk etc. You will be delighted to buy these beautiful sarees. The Subhash Bazaar of Agra is very popular & known for best silk saree & other items.

Embroidery textiles

The popular embroidery of Agra includes Zari embroidery, silk embroidery, chain stitch embroidery etc. Most of the Embroidery work in Agra is done by hand. The work makes you insane & the designs on saris or textiles look very fine and attractive. The famous shopping places you can look for embroidery textiles are the Embroidery Palace, Subhash Bazaar, and Gems and Art Gallery etc.

Sweets

Agra’s sweets are popular in whole India. They are very delicious. The most popular sweet item in Agra is the Panchhi Petha and it’s different flavors are Angoori Petha and Chocolate Petha. Other famous sweet items of Agra are Gazak. Foreigner tourists also take these to home.You can find the sweets at Station Road and Sadar Bazaar market.

The Marble Replicas

The marble replicas of Agra are very famous. And are very pretty. You can have different marble crafts like vases, ornamental boxes, statues, plates, tabletops etc. These are excellent things to gift your loved ones. The articles are made of white and pure marble. The marble replicas is available at Marble Cottage and some other markets in Agra

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About Preeti Gupta

I am a student. A reader by heart & writer by the soul. Love traveling. Currently pursuing Bachelor of Science from DU. Moreover, engaging the audience through my writing is my current passion.

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