Most people who come to India as tourists, head to Agra the first chance they get. This is, as you might have guessed already, because of Taj Mahal, one of the seven man-made wonders of the World. Come to Agra and check out not only this White marble wonder but also the historical monuments and the fine cuisine of this magnificent city.
Agra - Location
Agra is around 203 kms from Delhi, the capital of India and about 235 kms from Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan, which is a major tourist destination of India.
Agra -When To Visit
Agra is quite hot, in the summers the temperature can be anything between 22° C and 42° C, and in the winters it is usually somewhere between 4.2° C and 29° C. Though tourists come to Agra throughout the year, the best time is between Ocotber and March, when the weather is more pleasant.
Agra - History In Brief
Agra was founded by Sikander Lodhi, of the Lodhi dynasty in the 16th century. Agra received a lot of attention in Mughal hands, which explains the many monuments and forts in the city. After Mughlas, it was also under the rule of Jats, Marathas and finally it was under the British.
A tour package to Agra always includes a tour of the Taj Mahal. This symbol of eternal love was built by Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved Mumtaj. It is possibly one of the most famous monuments and is one of the reasons why tourists make a beeline to come to Agra.
You can also tour the Agra Fort, which was built by Emperor Akbar. The construction of the Fort started in 1565 and was finished in 1571. Inspired by both the Hindu and Islamic styles of architecture, the fort is made of red sandstone and is a beautiful synthesis combining the best elements of both styles of architcture. Your holiday package will also take you to the Itmad-ud-Daulah Tomb, which was built by Mughal Empress Noor Jahan. This place is very popular with tourists for it is quite like the Taj Mahal and is truly a beautiful structure. While you are on your tour of Agra, you can also visit the tomb of Akbar, which many insist has a very unique architecture, which is a mix of many different styles. And of course, a tour to Agra cannot be complete without a tour of Fatehpur Sikri. Also known as the 'City of Ghosts', it was built by Akbar, the great Mughal Emperor. Though the city is not necessarily in a very good shape yet by looking at it, one can still imagine the splendor and magnificence of the former capital.
Agra - Excursions
Travel to Sur sarovar or Keetham lake, which is great place to enjoy outdoor activities. Here one can go fishing or enjoy a picnic with their children and loved ones. Firozabad can also be visited, which is famous for its factory shops that sell glassware at a reasonable price. If you are really out to explore the wonderful places, then you can travel to Vrindavan, which is famous for its Govind Dev Temple and Krishna Balram Temple. Vrindavan can either be reached by train or road. You might want to visit the Keoladeo Ghana National Park, which was formerly called the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. The National park is at a distance of 55 kms from Agra, so it can easily be visited while you are enjoying a holiday in Agra. The national park, besides being home to several kinds of birds, also has jackals, cats, hyenas, antelopes and even reptiles. While you are in Bharatpur also check out the historical places such as the Bharatpur Fort or the Loha Garh, besides a Government Museum.
Agra - Getting There
The airport is the Kheria airport, which is located at a distance of 7kms from the city center. There are many railway stations in Agra but the important ones are the Raja ki Mandi and the Agra Cantt. Stations. You can board the Shatabdi and Taj Express from New Delhi, which is a fast way of reaching Agra. There are also other important trains such as, Udyan Abha Toofan Express, Nizamuddin Intercity Express, Kerala Express and Ahmedabad-Gorakhpur Express, which connect Agra to other major cities in India.
Reaching Agra by road is no problem. The city is very well connected and one can get there by either taking a bus or hiring a cab.
The Taj Mahotsav, which is organized from February 18 to 27, is a celebration one should not miss. The Sheetla fair is also worth attending, and it is held during the months of July and August. The Kailash Fair is held in honor of Lord Shiva and it is held in the months of August and September.
Agra - Shopping
The tourists to Agra can buy semi-precious stone jewelry, leather items such as belts, shoes etc, and also lots of handicrafts. One can also get paintings and souvenirs to take back home.
Agra - Cuisine
Agra is a great place to try Mughlai cuisine and various kinds of kebabs and gravies. Also try pulaos, kheer and the famous petha, which one should not forget to try. There are lots of restaurant and eateries in this city, so perfect for those who live for Gastronomical delights.