Best Places to Visit in Agra
The Taj Mahal is an icon of India and one of the world’s top tourist destinations, attracting millions of tourists to the city of Agra each year. This breathtaking landmark is as incredible as you can imagine. But while most travelers are probably itching to escape the hustle and bustle of Agra and the weary crowd as soon as they leave the Taj Mahal, you should consider staying a little longer.
The Taj Mahal is just one of many spectacular sights in Agra. Here you can explore the historic Agra Fort, experience the impressively beautiful Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah, visit one of India’s largest mosques in Fatehpur Sikri, and visit the Taj Mahal.
Note for animal lovers: Agra is home to two compassionate wildlife programs (Agra Bear Rescue Facility and Elephant Conservation and Care Centre) that invite visitors to learn about some of India’s most popular animals.
Don’t let other tourists convince you that there isn’t much to see in Agra other than the Taj Mahal. Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Agra and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in Agra
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Agra:
1. Taj Mahal
You’ve seen it in history books, postcards and social media posts. But now that you’ve traveled to India, you finally have a chance to see this to-do list destination in real life.
The history of the magnificent building dates back to the 17th century. Mughal emperor Shah Jahan was heartbroken after his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal died in childbirth and decided to pay her respects with a white shrine. Construction took more than 20 years and required a workforce of around 20,000 people.
It’s never a bad time to visit the Taj Mahal, but it’s worth arriving early – the building seems to glow at sunrise. Visitors can enter the UNESCO World Heritage Site through the west and east gates. Once inside, discover the Ornamental Gardens with calm water features reflecting the Taj Mahal. Then, stroll to the Taj Mahal to admire its perfect symmetry and white marble, as well as its delicate floral carvings and semi-precious stone carvings.
The tour around the Taj Mahal complex continues at the Khaoban Mosque and Jawab to the west of the Taj Mahal, a building designed to reflect the mosque and maintain symmetry on the east side of the main structure.
Address: Dharmapuri, Forest Colony, Tajganj, Agra
Official website: https://www.tajmahal.gov.in/
2. Agra Fort
The Taj Mahal isn’t Agra’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site – the city is also home to Agra Fort, a centuries-old red sandstone fort that was once home to the Imperial City of successive Mughal rulers. Traveling here is like walking around a city within a city. Agra Fort’s most extraordinary building is the Jahangir Mahal, a massive palace that blends striking Hindu-inspired features with Central Asian architectural elements. Inside, visitors can see the gilded Central Courtyard, where the women of the royal family once spent their days.
Visitors can also visit a number of other notable structures, including Anguri Bagh, Khas Mahal, Musamman Burj and Diwan-i-Khas. While there is so much to see, a trip to Agra Fort will take at least a couple of hours. A great afternoon stop after a morning at the Taj Mahal.
3. Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah
On the banks of the Yamuna River sits another beautiful building in Agra: The Tomb of Itimad-Ud-Daula. The mausoleum contains the remains of Mirza Gias Beg and his wife, a Persian official who served the Mughal Empire.
Legend has it that the jewel box-shaped tomb was actually the inspiration for the Taj Mahal, earning it the nickname “Taj Baby”. At each corner of the red sandstone and marble structure is a 13-metre high hexagonal tower.
However, what is most notable about this attraction is that it is the first to use pietra dura, an iconic Indian inlay technique that uses semi-precious stones to create decorative floral patterns on the marble. You will see exquisite geometric patterns reminiscent of the Taj Mahal, depictions of vases and cups, and delicate bouquets of elegant floor-to-ceiling structures.
Despite its natural beauty, the Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah has far fewer tourists than other tourist destinations around Agra, making it the perfect place to see beautiful features without the crowds.
Address: Motibagh, Agra
4. Mehtab Bagh
The Taj Mahal appears to span the Yamuna River at Mehtab Bagh (Garden of Moonlight), a 300-metre-long square garden complex on either side. It is the only park in the area that remains among about a dozen Mughal-made gardens.
The park has beautiful blooming trees and shrubs – a marked improvement over the area in the mid-1990s when it was just a pile of sand. The Archaeological Survey of India is working to restore Mehtab Bagh and it has been planted with Mughal-era plants to help restore the site to its original glory.
The scenery blends perfectly with the gardens of the Taj Mahal, making it one of the best places to take stunning architectural sights (or photos) in Agra – especially at sunset. Outside the gates of the complex, you can buy Taj Mahal trinkets and other souvenirs from local vendors.
Address: Dharmapuri, Forest Colony, Nagla Devjit, Agra
5. Subhash Emporium
The beautiful landscapes around Agra will make any visitor fall in love with the marble pavements. If you’re dying to bring this craft home, head over to the Subhash Emporium. The boutique has had a prestigious reputation for decades and is Agra’s go-to place to buy stone handicrafts.
Inside, you’ll find plenty of travel-friendly marble-clad souvenirs, such as floral coasters, animal figures, medallions, and candlesticks. The store also sells larger items such as lamps, table tops, and carved marble trays that can be shipped directly to your home.
Even if you don’t feel like shopping, it’s worth checking out Subhash Emporium for their fascinating presentation of one of the hottest things to do in Agra. Experienced craftsmen here will show you the art of placing small polished stones in solid marble – this can make the high prices of these products seem a little more reasonable.
Address: 18/1, Gwalior Road, Opp BSNL Office, Shahzadi Mandi, Agra
Official website: http://www.marbleemporium.com
6. Akbar’s Mausoleum
For nearly 50 years, Emperor Akbar the Great ruled the Mughal kingdom and tripled his empire to include most of the northern half of the Indian subcontinent. His remains (along with those of his two daughters) can be found in Akbar’s mausoleum, now one of Agra’s most popular tourist attractions.
The complex has a magnificent sandstone and marble tomb decorated with stunning marbles of various colours. The building is surrounded by Mughal gardens that are home to deer, antelope, monkeys and even some peacocks. If you are traveling with a compass, please get it from this site. You will notice that this tomb faces east – a stark contrast to almost all other Mughal tombs that point towards Mecca.
Address: Sikandra, Agra
7. Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri is just an hour’s drive from the Taj Mahal and is a day trip from Agra. The city was the capital of the Mughal Empire about 500 years ago and was built by Akbar as a tribute to the famous Sufi saint Sheikh Salim Chishti, who accurately predicted the birth of an heir. Shortly after the city was built, residents left the city because the water supply was too low.
Visitors can now explore the well-preserved ruins of this red sandstone ghost town surrounded by defensive walls. Check out Jama Masjid, a mosque and one of the first buildings built in the city. Next, discover the three palaces built for each of Akbar’s wives. They combine architectural styles from various religious styles to honor the individual spirit of women.
Finally, walk off the beaten path to Hiran Minar, a circular minaret covered in ivory where Akbar himself is said to watch for wildlife. Visit the Archaeological Museum near the Diwan-i-Am gate to learn more about this incredible site. It includes four galleries filled with treasures from the Mughal era and beyond, including gray clay pottery shards, terracotta lamps, miniature stone heads, jewelry molds, and more.
8. Agra Bear Rescue Facility
Between reverence for cattle and temples dedicated to certain creatures, India has a fascinating relationship with animals. But not every tradition is quad-friendly. Case in point: the dancing sloth bear.
For thousands of years, India’s Karandal community has hunted sloth bear cubs, squeezing fiery tongs and thick strings through their mouths and pulling strings, forcing them to put on painful ‘shows’ for paying spectators. India outlawed the brutal practice in 1972. However, the abuse continues – leaving animal rights activists like Wildlife SOS to save the afflicted bears.
At the Agra Bear Rescue Facility, you can see around 130 rescued dancing bears playing, foraging, and climbing trees. A visit to the center includes a guided tour by an expert who can shine a light on India’s endangered wildlife and conservation efforts. It was an insightful experience and all proceeds went to rehabilitation efforts.
Address: Inde, National Highway 2, Muranda, Agra
Official website: https://wildlifesos.org/locations/agra-bear-rescue-facility/
9. Jama Masjid
One of the largest mosques in India is located in the historical center of Agra, just opposite the Agra Fort. Still the city’s main mosque, Jama Masjid was built in the 17th century under the rule of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The striking red sandstone structure rises above a platform and features outstanding white marble finishes, blue ceilings and walls. Inside, visitors can see exquisite mosaic panels reminiscent of the Taj Mahal.
Friday prayers drew large crowds to Jama Masjid, but outside of that time, it was relatively empty. The mosque encourages visitors to keep quiet while visiting this holy place.
Address: Jama Masjid Road, Kinari Bazaar, Hing ki Mandi, Mantola, Agra
10. Chini ka Rauza
After visiting the Itimad-ud-Daulah Tomb, head 1km north to see Chini ka Rauza, a funerary monument containing the tomb of Afzal Khan Shirazi, who served as Prime Minister of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Although not as well preserved as other places in Agra, it is notable for being the first monument to feature the unique decoration of Indo-Persian tile, turquoise, yellow, green and orange glazed tiles.
As the building’s name suggests, each of its tiles was imported from China – an impressive feat when the monument was built in the 17th century. Step into Chini ka Rauza to see an array of detailed paintings and Islamic inscriptions. After visiting Chinika Lauza, you can walk south for 10 minutes to see the remains of the tomb of Sultan Pervez, brother of Shah Jahan.
Address: Katra Wazir Khan, Agra
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Agra. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Agra, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.