Agra (Uttar Pradesh)
Agra is a part of the state of Uttar Pradesh, in the northern region of India. It is a part of the great northern plains and is situated on the west bank of river Yamuna. Agra was the seat of the imperial Mughal court during the 16th and 17th centuries, before the capital was shifted to Delhi. The city, strategically located on the banks of the Yamuna and along the Grand Trunk Road, flourished under the patronage of the emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan, attracting artisans from Persia and Central Asia, and also from other parts of India, who built luxurious forts, palaces and gardens. Of these, the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort and Akbar's abandoned capital of Fatehpur Sikri have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. With the decline of the Mughals, Agra was captured by the Jats, the Marathas, and finally by the British, early in the 19th century.
Agra Quick facts
Agra Geography and Climate
Geography : Agra is situated 27.18° N 78.02° E, on the bank of Yamuna river. It has an average elevation of 171 metres (561 feet). On the north it is bounded by Mathura, on the south by Dhaulpur, on the east by Firozabad, on the south-east by Fatehabad and on the west by Bharatpur. Agra is the third biggest city in Uttar Pradesh.
Best time to visit Agra
Agra can be visited throughout the year, but one must avoid the extreme hot summers (April-June) and rainy season (July-Sept). The most suitable time to visit Agra is in winters.
The Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort and Akbar's abandoned capital of Fatehpur Sikri in Agra have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Agra is famous as being home to one of the Seven Wonders of the world - the Taj Mahal. Agra fort is also known as Lal Qila, Fort Rouge and Red Fort of Agra. The Agra Fort has won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in the year 2004.
Agra Near Getaways
Agra Cantonment : Agra Cantonment Railway Station is one of the major railway stations of Agra. This station connects Agra with different cities of India. Several trains stop daily at this station. This station is the gateway to the city of Taj Mahal, the amazing marble dome, which is breathtaking. This railway station in Agra witnesses a profound rush of tourists, both foreign and domestic.
It is a part of the great northern plains and is situated on the west bank of river Yamuna. Agra is 204 km south of Delhi.
How to reach Agra by Road
There is a regular bus service from the adjoining cities of Agra. Buses from cities like Delhi, Mathura, Gwalior, etc. provide the means of transportation from and in to the city. Taxis also provide transport facilities from the same destinations as buses.
How to reach Agra by Rail
Agra city has its railway station grounded at Agra Cantonment. There are numerous trains from Delhi that connect Agra with a total journey time of three hours. Taj Express is a special train that runs from Delhi to Agra. Other trains include Shatabdi Express and the Intercity Express. The rails connect Agra with the major cities like Delhi, Gwalior, Bhopal, etc.
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How to reach Agra by Air
There are regular flights from other cities of India especially Delhi, its closest metropolis and an International gateway. The domestic airport of Agra is located some 11 kms from the centre of the city. Domestic flights from Varanasi, Delhi and Khajuraho connect Agra with the rest of the country.
Agra Festivals and culture
Taj Mahotsav :(18-27 Feb) Taj Mahotsav is organized annually for ten days during February. It is an event to lure the tourists and acquaint them with the legendary skills of Indian master craftsmen and the finesse of Indian fine arts. It also showcases the rich heritage of India.
As the city of Agra was an important city of Mughal dynasty, you would certainly experience the touch of the Mughal culture in the hearts of Agra localities. Most of the people use Hindi, Urdu and English in Agra. Men usually wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers while women enjoy wearing traditional salwar kameez or traditional sarees. Agra is a safe home for different religions like Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism and Buddhism. Every religion in Agra enriches the cultural and traditional values of the city. While walking on the streets of Agra you can enjoy the roadside magic shows and folk dance performances. Taj Mahal alone attracts millions of tourists each year. It has become an integral part of the culture of Agra. The city becomes more colourful during the Taj Mahostav (18-27 Feb) - the Taj Festival. A large number of dancers and singers gather at one place to perform here..
Agra Religious Places
Jami Masjid : It is situated at the beginning of a very busy and popular street/centre in Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk and is built by Shah Jahan's favourite daughter, Jahanara in 1648. The Masjid-i-Jahan Numa, commonly known as Jama Masjid of Delhi, is the principal mosque of Old Delhi in India. It is one of the largest and best-known mosques in India. Masjid-i-Jahan Numa means "the mosque commanding a view of the world", and the name Jama Masjid is a reference to the weekly congregation observed on Friday (the yaum al-jum`a) at the mosque. People of other religions are not allowed in between 12-30 and 2-00pm. One is allowed to enter the mosque bare-footed, head covered and wearing lungi, - these are the norms visitors have to follow and are available on payment.
Agra Fort : Situated on the west banks of Yamuna, Agra Fort was built by Emperor Akbar between 1565 and 1573. Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Agra, India. The fort is also known as Lal Qila,
Agra Entertainment and Night Life
Visit the famous Tajmahal -the seventh wonder in the world, built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan. Visit the Agra Fort containing the Pearl Mosque, the Halls of Public and Private Audience during the tour. Also visit the Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daullah built by Empress Noorjahan in Agra.
If you happen to be in town on a full-moon night, do make an effort to watch Taj Mahal that night. The experience is breathtaking. Several night clubs, bars, and pubs entertain the fun seeking crowd. Some of the most frequented places are the Mughal Bar, Le Bar, Downtown Club Bar and the Downing Street Bar. Movies, Coffee shops and dining are other options on how to spend your beautiful evening in the city.
Kidding around Agra
Keetham Lake : (23 kms from Agra) Keetham Lake or better known as Sur Sarovar is found in Surdas Reserved Forest. The lake has an impressive variety of aquatic life and water birds. Believe it or not, Keetham Lake is a picturesque lake that can literally take you over the edge as far as relaxed excursions are concerned. With fishes and water birds this place emanates an air of tranquility and a heavenly impression. Van Vihar Wildlife Sanctuary, 50 km from Agra is also a tourist spot.
Agra tour is considered incomplete without shopping at the markets near the Taj Mahal. It is a paradise for the lovers of leather goods and sweets. There are many leather industries in Agra.So leather goods are available in large variety. Agra is famous for handicrafts such as inlay work on Marble , Leather work, Footwear, Brassware, Carpets, Jwellery, Zari and Embroidery work. It is also well known for Petha, Dalmoth and Gajak. The main shopping areas are the Sadar Bazar, Kinari Bazar and Munro Road.
Famous To Eat at Agra
The most recognised area is Kinari Bazar : The city of Taj Mahal is also famous for 'Petha' (a kind of sweet). The petha is a popular sweet, made out of pumpkins cooked in sugar syrup. It comes in the shape of cubes, and can be kept without refrigeration for quite some time. In winters the gazak, sweet bars made of sesame and jaggery, keeps the body warm and can be a good snack to keep handy.
Agra Museum and Hill Stations
The museums of Agra are wonderful places for aspiring architects and the art lovers. The museums of Agra have a special regard for architecture due to the influence of wonderful structures in its plains.
Gardens and Parks at Agra
The city is provided with super cool gardens and parks. These lush green gardens which are provided with pools and fountains are great doctors for a spiritual being. The fragrance of flora, colorful flowers, cool shades, murmurs of water and Rambagh or Aram Bagh ("Garden of Rest"): This is believed to be the earliest Mughal garden, laid out by Babur, the first Mughal emperor,in 1526. The garden also served as his temporary burial place before his body was taken to Kabul to be interred. The spacious walled garden, divided by walkways that lead to a raised terrace with open pavilions overlooking the river, was further developed by the empress Nur Jahan.
Lake at Agra
Yamuna river : Yamuna, according to the legends, was the daughter of Surya, the Sun God, and sister to Yama,the God of Death. This river is considered as sacred river in India. The river Yamuna, a major tributary of river Ganges, originates from the Yamunotri glacier near Banderpoonch peaks (38o 59' N 78o 27' E) in the Mussourie range of the lower Himalayas at an elevation of about 6387 meters above mean sea level in district Uttarkashi (Uttranchal).
Agra Travel Tips
While travelling in Agra in Summer, Sunscreen lotion ,loose comfortable cotton clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses are essential.t. While travelling in Winter, woollen clothing or warm clothing is essential . In some religious monuments such as mosques, women may not be allowed to enter. At mosques and Hindu temples, footwear needs to left at the entrance. Make photocopies of your passport, visa, airline tickets and credit card and keep these in a safe place
Agra Tourist Offices
The Government of India Tourist Office 191, The Mall, Agra, Uttar Pradesh # 363377, 363959 Tourist Information Counter Agra Cantonment Railway Station, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, # 2368598 UPTDC, Near Clarks Shiraz, 64, Taj Road, Agra, Uttar Pradesh # 2360517
The following are the list of of State bank ATMs in New Delhi: Adb Najafgarh Village, Najafgarh A.D.B., New Delhi, Delhi - 110043 Ansari Nagar, Ansari Nagar New Delhi, New Delhi, Delhi - 110029
Must do at Agra
A visit to 'Taj Mahal' is a must ,as it is considered as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Not to do at Agra
Avoid the extreme hot summers (April-June) and rainy season (July-Sept) to visit Agra.