Located 209 km from Delhi and 236 km from Jaipur, Agra is home to a star attraction: the Taj Mahal.
For every first-time visitor to India, Agra is the highlight of their trip to the sub-continent because it plays host to one of the ‘New World’ Seven Wonders of the World – the iconic Taj Mahal. But there is more to Agra than the Taj and visitors should consider spending some time exploring the city and its surrounding areas to fully appreciate everything that it has to offer.
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, Jehangir and Shah Jahan, attracting artisans from Persia and Central Asia, and also from other parts of India, who built luxurious forts, palaces, gardens and mausoleums.
Home to three generations of one of the most dynamic dynasties in the medieval world, their talent and wealth immortalized in stone and marble, Agra is home to the finest examples of Mughal architecture in India, of which the Taj is simply the most famous. The beauty of these buildings will bowl you over, but knowing something of the dramatic history that played itself out on these stages makes the entire Agra experience come alive. To learn more about the history of the Mughal empire and the successive rulers of Agra, read our page on the History of Agra.
Unfortunately, many tourists choose to visit Agra on a whistle-stop day trip from Delhi. However, in order to soak up the fascinating history of this town and its UNESCO World Heritage Sites, you should ideally set aside two full days here and hire the services of a good guide. And, if your budget can stretch that far, there’s only one place to stay: the palatial Amarvilās, where every room has a view of the Taj.
Click on one of the sections on the right for more information about Agra.
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