Synonymous with Taj Mahal, located on the banks of the river Yamuna is one of the most populous city in Uttar Pradesh, Agra. Agra has a rich cultural lineage due to its fame as the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1556 to 1658. Agra is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites notably the Tāj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpūr Sikri, thus justifying its status as a major tourist destination not only in India, but also across other countries.
Agra experiences semi arid climate which means that during summers, the day time temperatures are in the range of 46 to 50 deg C. However, the nights tend to become cooler, making the heat bearable. There are limited monsoon rains in this region. Winters are usually accompanied by thick fogs. However, winter months, that is, October to March is the best time to visit Agra. Also, the city of Agra is very well connected by rail and road. There is an array of accommodation available in the city to suit the needs of travelers from all walks of life.
Agra is an explorer’s delight with Mughal architecture splendours scattered in the city. The one that tops the list of every tourist is Taj Mahal. Listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the world and rightly so, this magnificent marble mausoleum commemorates Shah Jahan’s love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Taj Mahal, with verses of the Koran inscribed on it is the final resting place of queen Mumtaz. It is believed that this UNESCO Word Heritage Site took nearly 22 years to complete. Tourists should note that the Taj Mahal is closed every Friday.
Another important destination thronged by Agra tourists is Agra Fort. It is said that this fort and the Red Fort in Old Delhi are replicas. The construction of this mammoth structure started during 1565. Built in red sandstone, the construction of Agra Fort began in 1565.
Numerous temples such as Kailash Temple, Mankameshwar Temple etc are also popular tourist destinations in Agra. For shopaholics, spend some time in Sadar Bazaar for some local shopping and souvenirs such as jewellery, small boxes and plaques with inlay work. Agra is also famous for its leather goods.
When in Agra, make it a point to relish on local flavors. Agra is famous for its Petha and Dalmoth (traditional spicy namkeen). It is a good idea to begin your day with spicy berahi and sweet jalebis, a common Agra breakfast. Chaat lovers will find a chat thela at every nook and corner in the city. Pan is another local speciality of Agra which tourists shouldn’t miss.
On the whole, the city of Agra is a delight for travelers who love exploring historical relics. Though summers tend to get a tad harsh, it is best visited during winter months. It is advisable to book all your arrangements beforehand. Ultimately, Agra is all about indulging in local flavors and an excellent destination for the diehard traveller!