Things to do in Agra

Things to do in Agra

Agra is mostly popular for its main attraction, the Taj Mahal. However, there are many other great things to do there that many people often skip. Do yourself a favor and spend a day or 2 exploring all of the other great things that Agra has to offer. 

In this post, you will find our favorite things to do and plenty of tips for your trip to Agra. We stayed for 2 days in Varanasi. 

How to get there 

Train: There are several trains a day from Delhi and Jaipur to Agra that take around 2 hours. You can book tickets at the origin train station or online. 

Flight: Agra airport is almost exclusively served with flights from Jaipur, which can be very cheap and take 55 minutes.

Car or Uber: You can take a Uber from Delhi or Jaipur to Agra or directly to the Taj Mahal this takes around 3 hours. 

Another option is to book a tour from Delhi, including transfer to Agra, Taj Mahal visit, and often one or to other sites in Agra. 

We got there by car from Jaipur.

Where to stay 

We stayed at the Howard Plaza the Fern. This hotel is only about a 20-minute walk from the Taj Mahal. Our room was incredible, the staff members were very friendly, and the free breakfast every morning was great! 

Akbar’s Mausoleum 

Emperor Akbar was the third and one of the most successful rulers of the Mughal Empire. The Mughal Empire occupied a majority of the North Indian subcontinent in the 15th century. 

Akbar was crowned King at the age of 13 and continued to rule for the next 60 years, the maximum any Mughal ruler has ever ruled. Emperor Shah Jahan who commissioned the Taj Mahal was Akbar’s grandson. 

The exterior gates are made of red stone which was a typical choice during this time. The entrance is decorated with beautiful Persian stones half of which have been stolen. 

Akbar’s Mausoleum is at Sikandra, 10 km from Agra’s city center. You can get there by tuk-tuk. Akbar’s Mausoleum is open from dusk – dawn daily and the entrance fee is 30 rupees for Indians and 310 rupees for foreigners.

Tomb of Itmad – Ud Daulah

Nicknamed the Baby Taj. This is the tomb that Empress Noor Jahan built for her parents. She was the wife of Emperor Jehangir and a key part of Mughal history’s evolution by ruling Jehangir’s throne behind the curtains. She was one of the first in Mughal history to commission intricate marble work instead of red stones. 

The tomb of Itmad – Ud Daulah is open from dusk – dawn daily and the entrance fee is 30 rupees for Indians and 310 rupees for foreigners. You can get there by tuk-tuk. 

The Taj Mahal 

The Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan as a memorial for his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14th child in 1631. The death of Mumtaz left the emperor so heartbroken that his hair is said to have turned grey virtually overnight. 

Construction of the Taj Mahal began the following year, although the main building is thought to have been built in 8 years, the whole complex was not completed until 1653. Not long after it was finished, Shah Jahan was overthrown by his son Aurangzeb and imprisoned in Agra Fort, where for the rest of his days he could only gaze out at his creation through a window. Following his death in 1666, Shah Jahan was buried here alongside his beloved Mumtaz. 

In total, some 20 000 people from India and Central Asia worked on the building. Specialists were brought in from as far away as Europe to produce the exquisite marble screens and pietra dura made with thousands of semiprecious stones. The Taj Mahal was designated a World Heritage Site in 1983 and looks nearly as immaculate today as when it was first constructed. 

Read our post about the Taj Mahal here

The Taj Mahal is open every day from 6 am – 7 pm except Friday it’s closed for prayer. The entrance fee is 1100 rupees for foreigners. You can get there by tuk-tuk. 

Mehtab Bagh

This garden across River Yamuna from the Taj complex gives one of the best views of the Taj Mahal without crazy crowds. It’s the perfect spot to watch the sunset. 

Mehtab Bagh is open daily from dusk – dawn and the entrance fee is 25 rupees for Indians and 300 rupees for foreigners. You can get there by tuk-tuk. 

Agra Fort 

Agra Fort is one of the finest Mughal forts in India. The architecture of the fort will take you across different eras of the Mughal Empire. 

Construction of the fort along the bank of Yamuna River was begun by Emperor Akbar in 1565 on the site of an earlier fort. Further additions were made, particularly by his grandson Shah Jahan, using his favorite building material; white marble. 

The fort was primarily built as a military structure, but Shah Jahan transformed it into a palace, and later it became his gilded prison for eight years after his son Aurangzeb seized power in 1658. We were amazed by the beautiful courtyards! From the fort, you have a beautiful view of the Taj Mahal. 

You can hire a tour guide to learn more about the history and architecture of the fort or you can read in before and after your visit like we did. If you want to take a tour guide beware of all the fake ones that will start approaching you as you reach the ticket counter. Ask to see their Government-issued tour guide ID and check for its validity. 

Agra Fort is open from dusk – dawn daily and the entrance fee is 50 rupees for Indians and 650 for foreigners. You can get there by tuk-tuk.  

Kinari Bazaar 

The narrow streets behind Jama Masjid are a crazy maze of overcrowded lanes bursting with colorful markets. Here you can find clothing, shoes, fabrics, jewelry, spices, marblework, and snack stalls. Walking these streets is an experience in itself! 

The Kinari Bazaar is open from 11 am – 9 pm from Wednesday – Monday. You can get there by tuk-tuk. 

Try Petha

Agra is famous for this sweet which is difficult to find anywhere. Petha is made from ash gourd vegetables also known as winter melon. The most famous shop is Panchi Petha. 

Rooftop Bars 

After a busy day of exploring you can chill out, soak up the sun and views on one of the many rooftop bars in Agra. We recommend the Join Us rooftop bar. We had a delicious Paneer pasanda there. 

Take a day trip to Fatehpur Sikri

This magnificent fortified ancient city, 40 km west of Agra, was the short-lived capital of the Mughal empire between 1572 and 1585, during the reign of Emperor Akbar. Earlier Akbar had visited the village of Sikri to consult the Sufi saint Shaikh Salim Chishti, who predicted the birth of an heir to the Mughal throne. When the prophecy came true, Akbar built his new capital here, including a stunning mosque, still in use today, and three palaces, one for each of his favorite wives; one a Hindu, one a Muslim, and one a Christian.

The city was Indo Islamic masterpiece but was erected in an area that supposedly suffered from water shortages and so was abandoned shortly after Akbar’s death. 

Fatehpur Sikri is open from dusk – dawn daily and the entrance fee is 50 rupees for Indians and 610 rupees for foreigners. You can get there by Uber from Agra or you can take a guided tour. 

What are some of your favorite spots in Agra? Let us know in the comment section below! 


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