One of the seven wonders of the world, The Taj Mahal, has put Agra on the world map of travelers and tourists. Millions of people from all over the world come to Agra, to witness this beauty in all its glory. This magnanimous beauty is worth its praise, through different shades of the day; from morning till night. Although, the city has more to offer; from monuments and history to food and shopping avenues.
Agra is well connected via rail and road from major metro cities in India. It has a military airport which is seasonally open for commercial flights, although the connectivity via air is scarce.The city is a perfect blend to explore history and modern India. We have compiled a perfect two days rendezvous with the beautiful city, to explore Taj Mahal, the history with the city and many more other attractions.
If you are in Agra for only 2 days then you must plan a good iternary. You can visit the following places:
The ivory white marble mausoleum on the south bank of Yamuna river is a World Heritage UNESCO site. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, for his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal, to house her tomb. Later, it also houses Shah Jahan’s tomb, after his death.
The Taj Mahal opens at sunrise and closes at sunset. It typically takes about 2 hours for the entire tour. Although, the beauty of the Mahal is different at different hours of the day as well as from different places and angles. It appears to be gradually altering its colour with the changing light of the day. Sunrise is by far the best time to visit the Taj Mahal.
Watch the sunrise behind the eternal epitome of love and beauty and remember the odes of Shah Jahan for his beloved wife – Mumtaz Mahal. The best place to witness this magnanimous event is from the mosque inside the complex.
There is also a Taj Museum inside the complex which has three galleries with various exhibits related to the Taj Mahal. It is one of the most popular museums in Agra and almost the entire information regarding the Taj Mahal, the City of Agra and many other monuments in Agra can be availed from there. Try and complete the tour by 9 AM to avoid flocks of crowd.
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The Agra Fort is probably the most famous building in Agra after Taj Mahal. It was considered to be the main residency of the Mughal dynasty rulers, until Shah Jahan moved the capital to Delhi. It is the only fort in India, where all early Mughal Emperors once lived. It is also called as Lal Qila or Red Fort, for the same reason.
The fort just like Taj Mahal opens at 6 AM and closes at 6 PM. Being just 2.5 km from Taj Mahal, it is short 15-minute ride. After completing the Taj Mahal tour, one can straight head to the Agra Fort. It used to be a walled city, and so it is best to travel on foot on reaching the fort. The Amar Singh Gate, also called the Lahore Gate is used to enter the fort these days. There are three more gates, of which the Delhi Gate is considered to be the grandest of all and a true masterpiece of Emperor Akbar’s reign.
With a lot of significant history, the Agra Fort was inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The entire tour of the fort can be completed in about an hour.
After the Agra fort, you can choose to do some shopping in the nearby market. Souvenirs are a must to remember the great travel diaries you have. Agra has a lot of bazaars, but the best place to visit is Sadar Bazaar. Close to the Agra Fort, the market is filled with small marble replicas of Taj Mahal and other monuments, leather goods, handicraft items and other antiques, marble goods and wood inlay works for home decor.
You will surely be tired by now and thus, you can choose to eat at a nice restaurant. Saniya Palace Rooftop restaurant is a good place to go. It serves some local delicacies and delicious food. It also offers some pretty views of the TajMahal. Famous Restaurants in Agra for lunch are Dasaprakash, Esphahan, Shankar Ji, Pinch of Spice, Joney’s Place, Shankara Vegis, Jahanpanah, Lakshmi Vilas, Jhankar and few more.
Then, you can carry on with the sightseeing and check the beautiful Jama Masjid.
Also known as the Friday Mosque, the Jama Masjid is one of the largest mosques in India. Contributing to another spectacular structure by Shah Jahan, the entire monument is made of mixture of red sandstone and marble. Built in honour of the Emperor’s eldest daughter, Jahanara Begum Saiba, the then construction cost was one million rupees. Today, about 25,000 people can pray at a time at the mosque.
The Jama Masjid falls right opposite to the Agra Fort and can be easily reached by foot from there. It takes about half an hour to really appreciate the monument.
The tomb of Akbar, has a notable significance in the history of Mughal Architecture and is considered a masterpiece of its time. It houses the remaining mortals of the Great Mughal Emperor Akbar. The construction of the tomb was started by Akbar himself, which later on was completed by his son Jahangir. The get-way to the tomb leads to a beautiful garden, which leads to the emperor’s tomb. The entire tomb is a five stored pyramid, constructed with red sandstone and white marble, with beautiful geometric and floral patterns inlaid with colourful marble.
If you are tired, then you can head to the Salt café and bar in the TajGanj area. It is a beautiful place which serves some amazing delicacies with drinks. You can relax there after a hectic day of sightseeing. You can stay there until dinner as well. Apart from that, if you do not want to have dinner there then, you can try some local street food which is available in the Tajganj area only.
Agra is famous for its local breakfast. The kachoris are popular and are served with potato curry. You will find it in any area. Try that when in Agra.
Also known as ‘Baby Taj’ or ‘Jewel Box’, the tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah is situated on the banks of Yamuna river, around 3 km. from Agra Fort. It is a lesser known fact, that this was the first entire marble constructed monuments of India and is believed to be the inspiration behind Taj Mahal.
Just like the Taj Mahal, it offers a picturesque sight. You can go around the mausoleum and observe its intricacies, click pictures and rest in the gardens as you take in this beauty.
If you want to take a break from all the Mughal architecture and explore a bit of Hindu mythology, head to the Mankameshwar Temple, which is close to the Agra Railway Station. This temple of Lord Shiva, is considered to be one of the oldest temples of Agra
Earlier called as ‘Aram Bagh’, which means ‘garden to rest’, is one of the ancient Persian styled Mughal garden of Agra. It is believed, Emperor Akbar rested in the garden and waited for an auspicious time to enter Agra, after recapturing it; thus, getting the name from it. The garden has a Charbagh pattern, which means the garden is divided into four parts with the help of waterways and paths.
The entire garden is an architectural marvel of NurJahan, who was mother of Shah Jahan. The best time to visit the garden is in the afternoon, as the water channels provide cool breeze and allows you to rest peacefully, despite the scorching heat.
Head to Peshawari for lunch. They serve afghani and mughlai cuisines and is an absolute treat for non-vegetarian people. Even the locals love to dine here.
Situated on the other side of Yamuna river, this Charbagh provides exceptional view of Taj Mahal from a distance. Shah Jahan conceptualized this as a pleasure garden filled with moonlight, to view Taj Mahal from a distance and admire its beauty during sunsets and night falls with the Taj Mahal’s reflection in the river. It is also known as the Moonlight garden, as one can enjoy picturesque night view of the Taj Mahal, especially on Full Moon Days.
If you do not want to eat something heavy, then you can head to Bambino Café and Restaurant as well. They have some great fast food and street food options are avaialable.
After that you can go to some of the other attractions in Agra that will fill your soul with wander lust.
Agra fort hosts a light and sound show. Thus, it is wise to visit the beauty again in the evening. It surely looks wonderful
Just outside of the Agra fort, you will find a lot of chaat options. Agra is famous for its panipuri, bhel and several other things. You can surely indulge in that. Apart from street food you can also have dinner at other famous restaurants like Lakshmi Vilas, Pinch of Spice, Sky Grill Rooftop restaurants and others. You can then head back to your hotel to call it a night.
The entire travel itinerary is for two days and should be pre-planned, along with the hotel bookings and travel arrangements to these locations to ensure a hassle-free tour. It is advisable to stay close to Taj Mahal or Agra Fort to enjoy the local scenario, interact with locals, explore the city’s night life and reduce the travel time to reach these magnanimous locations.