Agra is best known for the Taj Mahal, but the metropolis has much more to offer. In the sixteenth and seventeenth, the city was interspersed with Delhi, the capital of the Mogul empire, and it is therefore full of historical treasures reminiscent of the once powerful kingdom. When you are in Agra, you should definitely not skip these 5 sights.
THE 5 MOST BEAUTIFUL SIGHTS IN AGRA
1. The Taj Mahal
Every year millions of tourists travel to Agra, all with the same goal: to see this wonderful wonder of the world with their own eyes. The building is unbelievably beautiful and impressive and my visit to the Taj Mahal is definitely a highlight of my time in India. Because it attracts so many tourists, it can be very busy. If you want to avoid the crowds, it is best to stand at the entrance well before dawn, so that you can be one of the first to enter and take photos without other people on it .
2.Tomb of Itimad-Ud-Daulah
This mausoleum, on the banks of the Yamuna River, is also called Baby Taj, because it served as inspiration for the construction of the Taj Mahal. The tomb was built between 1622 and 1628 for Mirza Ghiyath Beg, the Persian father-in-law of the Mogul ruler Jahangir and one of the most powerful men in the empire. The building is entirely made of white marble and is decorated with beautiful motifs and semi-precious stones.
The tomb is not as beautiful as the Taj Mahal, but due to the detailed decorations, the structure is certainly worth a visit. We were there at 8 o’clock in the morning and spent the whole time there on our own. Only when we left half an hour later did other tourists come in. So if you want to enjoy the building in peace, it’s best to come as early as possible.
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3.The Agra Fort
This walled fortress was built by Emperor Akbar in the sixteenth century to protect himself and the new capital Agra. In the complex you will find different courtyards, with fairy-tale palaces, mosques and other buildings. Because of its impressive architecture and historical value, the Agra Fort has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1983.
I have seen countless forts in Delhi and Rajasthan, but Agra Fort is definitely one of my favorites. There are so many beautiful buildings in the complex and when you walk through the many courtyards, you really get a clear picture of how powerful and rich the Mogul civilization was. In addition, there are signs everywhere with a clear explanation, so that you know exactly what you are looking at. I think it is definitely a must-see and if you are in doubt between Agra Fort and Red Fort in Delhi, I would choose 100 percent for the first.
This square garden complex is located opposite the Taj Mahal, across the Yamuna River. The park was used as a pleasure garden by Mogolheerser Shah Jahan, where he could quietly enjoy the view of the tomb he built. Legend has it that he wanted to build a replica of the Taj Mahal on this site, but then of black marble. However, it never happened because he was captured by his own son. There is also a stone foundation in the garden, but it is not clear whether these are indeed the foundations of the black Taj Mahal.
Nowadays the park is a quiet place where you can escape from the bustle of the city. But the main reason to visit it is of course the fantastic view of the Taj Mahal. Unfortunately we had very bad weather that day, so the view was really to cry, but on pictures of others it looks beautiful, especially around sunrise and sunset. Because of the fog and rain I could not take a picture of it; The photo below was made in the Taj Mahal complex.
A short hour and a half drive from Agra you will find Fatehpur Sikri, the former capital of the Mogolvorst Akbar. The gigantic complex was built in the mid-sixteenth century and contains palaces, mosques and shelters for servants and soldiers. It took years to build “The City of Victory”, but due to a shortage of drinking water the city was abandoned after a few years. According to historians, the abandoned city is a masterpiece in terms of design and architecture and since 1986, Fatehpur Sikri has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The complex is indeed beautiful and impressive, with the absolute highlight being the Jama Masjid, one of the grandest mosques in India. What I found really a big disadvantage are the hundreds of people who want something from you, especially at the mosque. In Agra the locals are intrusive, but here it was really a lot worse. At the same time, I would not want to miss this experience again. I think Fatehpur Sikri is definitely recommended, but you have to be prepared to non-stop the people away from you.