Apart from Taj Mahal what else to see in Agra?

Hello all,

I am visiting Agra next month and one of my main interest is to see the top most wonder of the world. The Taj Mahal.
However I would like to know apart from Taj Mahal what else to see in Agra? Can someone point out must do, must see and must purchase things in the city of Agra for a foreign tourist coming here for the first time?

4 answers on “Apart from Taj Mahal what else to see in Agra?”

  1. raghav says:

    @Vini, some tips for Agra. Have a few on taxi as well that may interest you:

    Agra Tips:

    -Try to use the pre paid taxi booth at the exit of the train station, they have a price list for 4 hours service and other options. 4 hours is USD $ 10 (feb/04). Includes a taxi driver and the taxi for 4 hours. You could use this to go to the hotel, leave your bags and go to sikrit, red fort and then to the Taj.

    – If you get the pre paid, check the taxi number on the receipt.

    – As always, they will try to ask for more money, don?t pay attention to it, you already paid for the service, either walk away or explain that you paid.

    – NEVER use the telephone from the hotel, I paid GBP 15 for 5 minutes to London.

    – Taxi drivers get commission for taking you to the shops, they will try to convince you saying that the shops in agra are duty free, no taxes, better quality, etc?..is just not true. Prices in ?Emporium stores? are the same in agra and delhi. Emporium is the generic name for ?tourist shop?

    – If you decide to go to one of the emporium shops; As a rule of thumb, never pay more than 50% of what they ask. I bought a chess set for USD $ 100 (feb/04) and the initial price was more than 200, the same goes for sari?s ( good price for a 3 color, good quality sari would be Rupees 1,400 to Rupees 1,800 ( feb/04).

    – Don?t let them wrap the merchandise in the back of the store, after you bargained with them for 20 minutes, they will change the product and put a different quality one ( they did that with me). Stay with your merchandise and never loose sight of it.

    – Beware of Alabaster and ?Italian Marble? as they call it, is soft stone they try to sell it as proper marble and is just not worth a dime. You can scratch it with your fingers. Remember that airlines let you carry only 20 Kilos, so don’t buy a coffee table that weights 40 kilos.

  2. vini says:

    How easy would it be to get a day long taxi to visit all the mentioned places in a day’s time. Also can someone give a reliable taxi operator number?

  3. Bob says:

    Thanks a lot for a detailed reply 🙂

  4. indiantravel says:
    There are basically 4 historical monuments that may interest you in Agra
    1. Taj Mahal

    2.Agra Fort
    The fort had originally four gates, two of which were later walled up. Delhi Gate in the west is fortified by massive octagonal towers and faces the bazar and leads to the Lama Masjid in the city. Its architectural plan was imperviously devised to put the defenders in an advantageous position.

    Delhi gate is now closed for visitors. The Amar Singh Gate lies to the South and is defended by a square bastion flanked by round towers. It had a crooked entrance with dangerous trap points and a steep rise. Its Naubat Khana Court with pillared pavilions is an impressive structure. Visitors are allowed entry through this gate only.

    The construction of the Agra fort was started around 1565 when the initial structures were built by Akbar. Shah Jahan replaced most of these with his marble creations. Some however survived, among them are- Delhi Gate, Amar Singh Gate, Akbari Mahal and the Jahangiri Mahal.

    The fort is crescent-shaped, flattened on the east with a long, nearly straight wall facing the river. It has a total perimeter of 2.4 km, and is ringed by double castellated ramparts of red sandstone punctuated at regular intervals by bastions. A 9mt. wide and 10mt.deep moat surrounds the outer wall. An imposing 22mt. high inner wall imparts a feeling of invincible defensive construction. The route through the Amar Singh gate is dog-legged. The layout of the fort was determined by the course of the river, which in those days flowed alongside. The main axis is parallel to the river and the walls bridge out towards the city.

    Buildings inside the Agra fort

    This is the first notable building that the visitor sees on his right hand side at the end of a spacious lawn, as one enters through the Amar Singh Gate and emerges out of the passage. It was built by Akbar as women’s quarters and is the only building that survives among his original palace buildings. It is built of stone & is simply decorated on the exterior.

    The most important feature of the edifice are its ornamental stone brackets which support the beams. In front is a large stone bowl which was probably used to contain fragrant rose water. Ornamental Persian verses have been carved along the outer rim, which record its construction by Jahangir in 1611 A.D. This elegant, double storeyed palace reflects a strong Hindu influence with protruding balconies and domed chhatries.

    To the right of Jahangiri Mahal is Akbar’s favourite queen Jodha Bai`s Palace. In contrast to other palaces in the fort, it is rather simple. Through the slits in the wall one can see the Taj. A better place to take photographs is further on.

    These formal, 85m square, geometric gardens lie to the left of the fort. During Shah Jahan’s time the beauty of the gardens was considerably enhanced by decorative flower beds.

    The curved chala roofs of the small pavilions by the Khaas Mahal are based on the roof shape of Bengali village huts constructed out of curved bamboo, designed to keep off heavy rain. The shape was first expressed in stone by the Sultans of Bengal. Originally gilded, these were probably ladies’ bedrooms, with hiding places for jewellery in the walls. These pavilions are traditionally associated with Shah Jahan’s daughters-Roshanara and Jahanara Begum.

    Situated in between the golden pavilions is the Khaas Mahal. Built entirely of marble by Shah Jahan, the palace demonstrates distinctive Islamic-Persian features. These are well blended with a striking range of Hindu features such as chhatries. It is considered to be emperor’s sleeping room or’ Aramgah’, The Khaas Mahal provides the most successful example of painting on a white marble surface.

    On the left of the Khaas Mahal is the Musamman Burj built by Shah Jahan. It is a beautiful octagonal tower with an open pavilion. With its openness, elevation and the benefit of cool evening breezes blowing in off the Yamuna river, this could well have been used also as the emperor’s bedroom. This is where Shah Jahan lay on his death bed, gazing at the Taj. Access to this tower is through a magnificently decorated and intimate appartment with a scalloped fountain in the centre. The inlay work here is exquisite, especially above the pillars. In front of the fountain is a sunken courtyard which could be flooded and in the Sheesh Mahal opposite are further examples of decorative water engineering in the hammams.

    Opposite to the Mussaman Burj and just below the Diwan-e-Khaas hall is the Sheesh Mahal or the Glass Palace. It is believed to have been the harem dressing room and its walls are inlaid with tiny mirrors which are the best specimens of glass-mosaic decoration in India. The Sheesh Mahal is composed of two large halls of equal size, each measuring 11.15m x 6.40 m. Both are connected in the centre by a broad arched opening and on the sides by two narrow passages.

    To the right of Sheesh Mahal is Diwan-e-Khaas, the Hall of Private Audience. Presently entry is not allowed inside Diwan-e-Khaas but the fine proportions of the building can easily be appreciated. The marble pillars are inlaid with semi-precious stones in delightful floral patterns.

    To the right of Diwan-e-khaas is the Hammam-e-Shahi or the Shah Burj. Foreign travellers who visited Agra during the reigns of Jahangir and Shah Jahan have described these apartments as the Ghusal Khana (bathroom). It was not the Turkish bathroom as is generally but erroneously supposed. It was really an “air-conditioned” apartment, attached to the residential quarters and was used as a summer retreat. Business of very confidential nature was conducted here.

    Opposite to the Diwan-i-Khaas is the Macchhi Bhawan, the Fish Enclosure. The emperor sat on the white marble platform facing this enclosure. It once contained pools and marble fountains which were carried off by Jat Raja Surajmal to his palace at Deeg. Around the Macchi Bhawan were the imperial offices.

    3.Sikandra fort
    It is only 13 km. from the Agra Fort, the last resting place of the Mughal emperor Akbar. Akbar was the greatest of the Mughal emperors and one of the most secular minded royalties of his time. He was the heir to a long tradition of oriental refinement, a great patron of the arts, literature, philosophy and science.

    A visit to Akbar’s monument opens before one, the completeness of Akbar’s personality as completely as the Taj Mahal does of Mumtaz Mahal’s. Akbar’s vast, beautifully carved, red-ochre sandstone tomb is set amidst a lush garden. Akbar himself planned his own tomb and selected a suitable site for it. To construct a tomb in one’s lifetime was a Tartary custom which the Mughals followed religiously. Akbar’s son Jahangir completed the construction of this pyramidal tomb in

    4. Itmad – Ud – Daula
    To the north of the fort and across the river yamuna are several fine examples of mughal architecture. The itmad -ud -daula was build by the empress Noor Jehan as a memorial to her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg, is beautifully ornamented with pietra dura inlay and lattice work marble screens.

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