Home of multiple UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Mughal legacy, Agra tops the list of anyone visiting India. Agra tour packages are extremely popular among domestic as well as international travelers. This historic city is an epitome of craftsmanship of the highest class. While the Taj Mahal undoubtedly remains Agra’s most iconic monument, the Agra Fort, Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah and Fatehpur Sikri are equally revered by art and history lovers. Visit these stunning landmarks that are an integral part of India tours as well as Golden Triangle Tours. Get a glimpse into the country’s artistic legacy and witness the towering achievements of the Mughal regime.
- Taj Mahal
- Agra Fort
- Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah
- Fatehpur Sikri
1. Taj Mahal
In 1632, Emperor Shah Jahan had ordered the construction of the great mausoleum Taj Mahal in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. The massive and beautiful complex is now a universally admired architectural masterpiece and a gem in the crown of the Mughal dynasty. This sophisticated amalgamation of Mughal and Persian architecture is a part of a 555-acre complex that houses towering minarets, intricate tombs, picturesque waterworks, and beautiful gardens. One of Agra tourism most precious offerings, the Taj Mahal is a sight to behold at any given time.
Red sandstone walls border the complex with the one facing river Yamuna being open. The river in its backdrops adds unending charm to the great symbol of love. The morning sighting of the Taj is particularly sought-after as the rising sun adds another dimension to the overall appeal of the mausoleum. The white marble structure is at its radiant best and offers marvelous views to click memorable pictures. The sunset and night views of the Taj are also highly recommended. The latter can be savored on five nights of the month that comprise of the full moon night and two days prior to it and after it.
2. Agra Fort
The majestic Agra Fort was the power center of the Mughal till 1638 as it was their capital before it was shifted to Delhi. Resembling a walled city, the fort reflects great artistry through its four gates and several complexes. The semicircular fort is spread over 94 acres and lies parallel to the Yamuna River. Its gates that are as high as 70 feet create make a colossal presence in the city. Taj Mahal and Agra Fort are separated by mere 2.5 km and the fort’s red sandstone and marble complex beautifully compliments the former’s beauty.
Much has been documented about the gates of Agra Fort and rightly so. Such is the mastery involved in creating these gates, that one wonders the level of craftsmen working in that era. A water gate called the Khizri gate is situated in front of the river while the sophisticated Delhi gate, considered a masterpiece of Emperor Akbar’s due to its inlay work in white marble, is located on the western end. Some of the main features of Delhi gate include an inner gateway, guarded by two life-sized stone elephants, which is called Hathi Pol and a wooden drawbridge. Ghazni gate and Amar Singh gate are the other two gates while the Bengali Mahal is also a classic example of great artistry. Now split into Akbari Mahal and Jahangiri Mahal, the Bengali Mahal is made of red sandstone.
3. Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah
Built between 1622 and 1628, The Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah is often called the ‘Baby Taj’ as it is regarded as an initial draft of the Taj Mahal. It was Emperor Jahangir’s wife Nur Jahan who had commissioned this structure as a tribute to her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg. The mausoleum continues to be an important part of Agra tours as it allows one to see a transition between two phases of Mughal architecture and its rulers’ choices. Monuments like Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi and Akbar’s tomb in Sikandra had massive usage of red sandstones with marble embellishments and reflected the first phase while the Taj Mahal reflects the second phase with more emphasis on using white marble and an inlay technique called pietra dura.
Located on the eastern banks of the Yamuna River, the complex consists of some beautiful gardens and outbuildings. It is also filled with walkways and watercourses that add a quaint appeal to the structure. The walls of the mausoleum are its main feature reflecting usage of white marble and décor with semi-precious stones. These stones are jasper, cornelian, onyx, topaz, and lapis lazuli that are molded into images of wine bottles and cypress trees. There are also more extensive decorations like vases with bouquets or cut fruits.
4. Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri is a marvelous historic city that was founded as the Mughal capital by Emperor Akbar. It served as the Mughal capital from 1571 to 1585 and continues alluring people from all corners of the globe. A great merger of Indian and Islamic architecture, the city sits on a rocky ridge and houses several amazing complexes. Religious as well secular structures can be found here including the likes of Jama Masjid, Birbal Bhawan, Jodha Bai Palace, Pachisi Court, Panch Mahal, Buland Darwaza, Anup Talao, Ibadat Khana, Diwan-i-Khas, and Diwan-i-Aam. The white marble-encased tomb of Salim Chishti, a revered Sufi saint, is one of the main attractions here. This is a single-storey monument that was built around the central square and houses the grave of the great saint.
Exploring Fatehpur Sikri is like getting transported into the Mughal era. Its complexes remind us of the once buzzing capital that flourished under the great emperor. Apart from the aforementioned structures, there are the like of Hiran Minar, Daftar Khana, Darogha’s Quarters, Hakim’s quarters, Caravan sarai, and Mariam-uz-Zamani’s Palace that are also worth visiting. The entire complex is surrounded by a 6 km long wall on three sides while the fourth side is bordered by a lake.