Hey guys, we recently travelled to this amazing city, Agra. It was on our bucket list for quite sometime and I’m so happy we could finally make it. Agra, no doubt is known for the iconic Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world and we were taken aback to see it’s sheer grandeur. But you know there is much more to this city than just the Taj Mahal. So let me take you to all these beautiful places through this article and show this charming old city.
It was a 3 nights and 4 days road trip from Delhi to Agra and how we loved every bit of it. From having chai at roadside Dhaba to eating snacks while listening to the music and having fun along the way. The roads are super smooth, thanks to Yamuna expressway. It takes around 3.5 hours to Agra from the capital. Don’t forget to stop at Shiva Dhaba for some amazing chai. You’d spot big hoardings of this place all along the highway once you reach outskirts of Delhi.
We were quite thrilled to see this old city. Upon reaching, we checked into our hotel ‘Crystal Sarovar Premiere’ and after resting for about half an hour we were all set to explore the city.
I was overly delighted to see this place. Firstly because there was hardly anyone and secondly because of it’s picturesque settings! It’s also known as little Taj or baby Taj Mahal and the same marble is used for building the Taj Mahal. It was built by Noor Jahan, Jahangir’s wife for her father Ghiyas Beg. The timings are from 6am to 6pm, ticket for Indian citizens is Rs 20 and foreign tourists Rs 250.
Want to see the clear view of the Taj Mahal without the crowd? Well, this is the place where you can admire the Taj Mahal without any jostling and nudging of the crowd and take those ultimate shots. It’s situated opposite of the Taj Mahal, come here either at sunrise or sunset to get some magnificent shots. The timings are from 6am to 6pm, ticket for Indian citizens is Rs 20 and foreign tourists Rs 250.
When we arrived in Sikandra, 10 km from Agra, we were awestruck by the tomb. It’s very grand and beautiful. It is said, Akbar himself started the construction of his tomb and later on was completed by his son Jahangir. You can spot deer, monkeys and peacocks roaming around the gardens here.
The tomb is made with beautiful red and white sandstones, and the intricate entrance with carved designs is sure to take your breath away. The best time to go is either in the morning or late afternoon. The timings are from 6am to 6pm, ticket for Indian citizens is Rs 20 and foreign tourists Rs 250.
Not very far from Akbar’s tomb lies his wife Mariam’s tomb. Mariam-Uz-Zamani’s real name was Jodha Bai, aRajput princess who married the great emperor Akbar. It’s a beautiful tomb and there weren’t many people when we visited which made our visit really amazing, we spent about an hour here.
This tomb was built by their son Jehangir. The actual grave is located in an underground chamber which isn’t open for public. The timings are from 6am to 6pm, ticket for Indian citizens is Rs 20 and foreign tourists Rs 250.
Gurudwara Guru Ka Taal
This historical gurudwara is also located in Sikandra, it’s dedicated to the ninth guru of sikhs, GuruTeg Bhadur ji. Like any other gurudwara, it’s immensely serene and beautiful. We had guru ka langar and after spending some time here we left for our hotel. I don’t know why but there’s something about gurudwaras that calms your mind and soothes your soul!
Got up around 5 am in the morning and after getting ready we left to see this architectural marvel. We reached there around 6:30 am and took the electric cab to the security and passes gate after parking our car. There weren’t many people so we could get in pretty quickly. Moreover, we had booked the tickets online which saved us from the long queues. So, the moment I saw the Taj Mahal, I was awestruck! It is breathtakingly gorgeous and truly a masterpiece.
There’re two identical red sandstone mosques on either sides which are perfect to take some amazing shots with the Taj in the background. Many people aren’t even aware of these spots and don’t really come to this side, so straight away go to one of these mosques for some amazing photos.
Do not plan your Taj trip on Fridays as it’s closed for prayer, also avoid weekends because of the heavy rush. It opens up an hour before sunrise and close 45 minutes before sunset. The ticket costs Rs 45 for Indian tourists, Rs 1050 foreigners and Rs 200 extra to see the main mausoleum for both Indian and foreign tourists.
After spending about three hours we came back to our hotel, had sumptuous breakfast, spent some time in the hotel and headed for our next place of interest in the evening. I’ll write another article covering the Taj Mahal in detail, so stay tuned.
We arrived at this place in the evening only to find it swarming with people. So, I’d advise you to go in the morning to avoid the crowd. We had booked the tickets online from Archaeological Survey of India’s website just like we did for the other monuments which saved a lot of time. Agra Fort is also called the Red Fort, don’t confuse it with the Delhi’s Red Fort though!
This amazingly grand, a world UNESCO heritage site, was initially a military fort but later became the main residence of the Mughal Emperors. It is said that the tyrant son of Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb imprisoned him and had put him under house arrest in this fort. Shah Jahan spent his last days on the tower’s balcony staring forlornly at the Taj Mahal which he built for his beloved wife Mumtaz. The timings are from 6am to 6pm and the ticket for Indian citizens is Rs 35 and Rs 550 for foreign tourists.
We were so loving our everyday adventures that didn’t realise it was time to go back. On our last day, we got up in the morning and went to the terrace for a swim session followed by delicious breakfast at our hotel.
Food to try
Jalebi and Bedai
It’s a popular food item which you shouldn’t miss trying when in Agra. Go to Deviram sweets in the morning to taste this delicacy, you won’t get it in the evening. Bedai is a kachori served with aalu sabzi. Jalebi is a popular Indian sweet dish which needs no introduction and together they’re a super combo in Agra.
You can also try street food like Bhalla, Chaat and a lot more at Chat wali gali in Sadar Bazar. Chimman Lal poori wale is another very popular and old shop you must go to for lip smacking poori aalu near Jama Masjid, Kinari Bazar. Do, check out Mama Chicken Franky House for some delicious food. It’s super crowded and there’s no place to sit but its worth checking out.
Did you even go to Agra if you didn’t try the famous Petha? Probably not! So check out this sweet dish made from the white pumpkin, it’s super yummy!
It’s a delicious, crunchy namkeen, mixed with dry fruits and goes well with your evening chai. Both Petha and Dal moth can be bought from Panchi Petha in Agra.
When shopping in Agra, you can’t miss buying miniature marble Taj Mahal, right? Check out the handicraft market in Gokulpura for buying marble items and souvenirs. Go to Sadar Bazar for Leather shopping, clothing, footwear and accessories. Most of the bazars are shut on Tuesdays, so plan your shopping accordingly.
Have you been to this beautiful city and did you go to these places? Did you try the delicious food here? Do share your experience with me, I’d love to know.
(This trip was before the lockdown, all precautions and safety measures were taken.)
Take care, stay home stay safe.