The Taj Mahal is where the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, wife of Shah Jahan, the Mughal monarch lies. The monument is said to have taken 22 years to get completed.
The Taj Mahal is open from sunrise to sunset and is closed on Fridays. If you are interested in viewing the Taj in moonlight, you may have to buy tickets for night viewing. You will be allowed in for only 30 minutes at night.
If you can tear your eyes off the Taj, there is also the impressive Agra Fort built by Mughal Emperor Akbar in the 16th century. The fort was later converted into a palace during the era of Shah Jahan. A mere 13 km away from Agra’s Fort is Sikandra, where Emperor Akbar’s tomb lies.
The site is not exactly located in Agra, but is 35 km away. It was intended to be Emperor Akbar’s capital but was abandoned later on. There is a great gateway called the Buland Darwaza, built by Emperor Akbar, an imposing structure made of buff and red sandstone.
There are several other monuments within Agra, like the I’timad-ud-Daulah or the mini Taj, built by Empress Noor Jahan. You can also visit Mariam’s Tomb, the tomb of Mariam, wife of Emperor Akbar. Don’t miss Mehtab Bagh, which are beautifully laid out gardens. You can get a great view of the Taj from here.
Shopping in Agra
Once you have visited the monuments, don’t miss out on the shopping opportunities in Agra. You can get some good zardozi work (embroidery), marble and stone carvings, Mughal carpets, and other handicrafts. Also shop for some nice Agra Petha and Gajak, two snacks everyone is going to ask you once you get home! Dalmoth is also a traditional snack of Agra, and is known across the country. The Kinari Bazar in Agra is home to plenty of gold and silver jewellery shops.
Nature walk – an offbeat experience
For an offbeat experience, you can go on a long nine-km trail called the Taj Nature Walk, which is a birdwatcher’s paradise.