Taj Mahal – CC by 4.0/THARUN
Located on the banks of the Yamuna River, Agra is one of the largest cities in Uttar Pradesh state of India and a major tourist destination, thanks to the presence of Mughal era buildings. You can find UNESCO World Heritage Sites here like the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. This city has also served as the capital of India in the past during the Mughal rule and hence has a great number of historical gems waiting to be discovered.
A walk through history in Agra
1. Mankameshwar Temple: Ancient Temple in Agra
This is one of the ancient temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that the shiva linga here was founded by Lord Shiva himself and this makes it a very special place of worship for Hindus. This temple is known to locals but is not very popular among the tourists. You can visit the temple and seek the blessings of the almighty and even shop and enjoy the delicious street food around in the sprawling markets of Agra.
Photo credits: @hoshangshah
2. Guru Ka Tal: One of the Oldest Reservoirs in Agra
This is the very place where Guru Tegh Bahadur offered voluntary arrest to the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. Guru ka Tal is today a historical Sikh pilgrimage site dedicated to him and you can find thousands of Sikh devotees visiting this site every year to pay homage to the guru for his sacrifice. This 400 year old structure served as a reservoir in the past and is covered with stone carvings. The history lover in you will get intrigued by the towers of the reservoir that have stood the test of time. Today, this place even has a Gurudwara.
Guru ka Tal – CC by 4.0/Wikijib
Guru ka Tal – CC by 4.0/Wikijib
3. Mama Chicken: The Best Dhaba in Agra
If you’re looking to have typical Agran cuisine, there’s no better place than Mama Chicken. This is the typical Indian style dhaba with cozy interiors where you can sit back and relish your dish in peace. Quick service and mouthwatering food will make you an instant fan of this place. Don’t forget to try the Tandoori Momos and Seekh Kebab here!
4. Mehtab Bagh: Best Place to See Taj Mahal
This 365 year old garden is the last Mughal garden built around the Taj Mahal and is perfectly aligned with it too on the opposite bank. You can visit the garden and view the architectural masterpiece across the Yamuna River. You can walk on the white plaster walkways and enjoy the gentle breeze of airy pavilions too. The garden also has pools and fountains along with fruit trees and plants.
Mehtab Bagh – CC by 3.0/g.kaustav
Mehtab Bagh – CC by 3.0/Narender9
5. Jawab Masjid: Red Sandstone Construction at its Finest
Located inside the Taj Mahal grounds, Jawab Masjid is a red stone mosque which looks exactly like the mosque to the left of Taj Mahal. You can notice the symmetry right from the moment you see them and this is the very reason why it is named the “Jawab” Masjid, which means ‘answer’. The red stone construction gives it a very archaic feel too.
Jawab Masjid – CC by 4.0/Basheer2010a
CC by 2.0/Brian Gratwicke
6. Jahangir Mahal: Akbar’s Great Palace
Located inside the grand Agra Fort, Jahangir Mahal was built by Akbar and is one of the oldest surviving buildings built by him. You can see a monolithic bowl here called the Hauz-i-Jahangiri which was used as a container for fragrant rose water during the Mughal era. This was the very palace that was used by Nur Jahan as her residence till her death.
Jahangir Mahal – CC by 3.0/Hans A. Rosbach
CC by 4.0/Saumya Pareek
7. Agra Fort: One of the Biggest Forts in India
This UNESCO World Heritage Site will amuse you with its sheer massiveness. Spread over 94 acres, this fort served as the residence of Mughal emperors when Agra was made the capital of India. This heavily fortified city has walls so high that you will find it difficult to see their top! You can find many buildings from Mughal era inside the fort and can also visit the enormous four main gates that lead into this fortress.
Lahore Gate – CC0 by MaxPixel
Inside Agra Fort – CC by 3.0/Vinayaraj
8. Taj Mahal: A Wonder of the World
Built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, Taj Mahal is a mausoleum built completely from ivory-white marble. Prepare to be stunned by the beauty of the entire complex and the construction of this 400 year old engineering marvel. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most iconic treasures of mankind and it is perhaps the finest example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India’s history. You can stroll in the sprawling gardens here and view the grand structure from all sides or even enter it and pay respects to the late queen.
Taj Mahal – CC by 4.0/Suraj rajiv
Being an old capital of India, Agra holds so many monuments and structures from the past that you will fall short of time when visiting this great city. This is one city that you need to explore for long to find its soul.