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Area: 87 sq.km
Nearest rail head: Agra Cantt
Nearest Airport: Kheria Airport
How to reach: By flight, train or bus from Delhi
Months open: All round the year
Best time: October to March
Agra is one of the most robust and important Mughal forts in India. Being a UNESCO World Heritage site, it is famous for its mosques, public and private audience halls, fairy-tale palaces, towers, courtyards and evening sound and light show that recreates the fort's history. Placed on the banks of river Yamuna in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Agra is a famous Mughal City. A perfect holiday destination, the city has a glorious past and rich history. It is a haven of Mughal architecture, art and culture. Agra is home to three World Heritage Sites. This medieval city has made an amazing progress in its hospitality and infrastructure. The city is popular for Peetha and Dal Moth which are two of the most popular local renditions. Shopping in Agra can be a delight for Shopaholics who like to possess souvenirs.
Tombs, monuments and gardens
The Taj Mahal: The Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful buildings ever created. The exquisite marble structure in Agra, is a magnificient monument which symbolises the love of a husband for his favourite wife. It also is an eternal testament to the artistic and scientific accomplishments of a wealthy empire. Agra’s other Tombs: Agra has two significant tombs designed in the impressive Islamic-> before the Taj Mahal but have subsequently been overshadowed by it. One of them is the tomb of Emperor Akbar, widely considered to be the most influential Mughal emperor. It was completed in 1614 and is situated in Sikandra, on the northwest outskirts of Agra on the road to Mathura. The tomb of Itmad-ud-daulah was the first to be made out of white marble and is often referred to as the "Baby Taj". It's located in a small garden beside the Yamuna River. Mehtab Bagh: You can clearly see the Taj Mahal from across the river bank. Mehtab Bagh, the "Moonlight Garden" is a place that offers a view to remember. This 25-acre Mughal garden complex is situated directly opposite the monument and was indeed built before the Taj, by Emperor Babur. The garden fell into ruin but has been beautifully reconstructed. The place is open until sunset. You can also get a close-up view of the Taj Mahal for free by walking down the side road upto the river bank. Fatehpur Sikri: Fatehpur Sikri is situated west of Agra and is a popular side trip. This historical destination, now deserted city was founded by Emperor Akbar in 1571, when he decided to move his capital there. The capital was short-lived, and relocated back to Agra after a short while.
Things to do:
Go on a Mughal Heritage Walk: The Mughal Heritage Walk is a community-based tourism initiative that was started by the Center for Urban and Regional Excellence to help villagers make an income from tourism and improve their living conditions. This 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) walk is by villagers who have been trained as tour guides. It takes place on the riverside opposite the Taj Mahal, goes via the Kachhpura village, and ends at “Moonlight Garden”, Mehtab Bagh. You could visit several lesser-known monuments of the Mughal Era in a rural setting, interact with the village communities, and enjoy a fabulous view of the Taj Mahal as well. Check out Sheroes’ Hangout: Tucked away between the shops opposite The Gateway Hotel on Fatehabad Road is groovy graffiti-filled cafe that's a must-visit in Agra. The remarkable and inspiring Sheroes (She+Heroes) Hangout is completely staffed by women who are survivors of horrific acid attacks in India. The café was inaugurated in December 2014 and was founded by a Delhi-based NGO called Stop Acid Attacks. The idea is to raise awareness of this dreadful issue and give the victims confidence to show their faces in public after the tragic incidents. The place serves tasty food and beverages, the cafe has an exhibition space and and ever-expanding library for you to relax and read while you eat. Visit the Agra Bear Rescue Center: The Agra Bear Rescue Center houses sloth bears that used to be held captive and forced to dance, is operated by Wildlife SOS. The center is open on all days from sunrise to sunset and is 16 kilometers before Agra inside the Sur Sarovar Bird Sanctuary. Visitors can access an enclosed viewing area and watch a short educational movie. If you want to get closer to the bears, you'll need to pay for tickets for a private guided tour which must be booked in advance and is recommended. Wildlife SOS also operates an Elephant Conservation and Care, in a place called Mathura near Agra, where you can spend time with rescued elephants.
How to reach here:
By Train: You can easily reach Agra by a train from Delhi. Agra has four railway stations, Agra Cantt is the most important one. By Flight: Kheria Airport of Agra has regular flights to and from Delhi. The airport is around 7km from the center of Agra. By Road: You can take a taxi from Delhi to Agra or also take a private/state-run A/C bus to your destination.