The best places to visit in Agra don’t require any introductions.

For decades, the magical allure of the Taj Mahal has drawn visitors from far and wide to Agra to witness the beauty and mystique of this masterpiece. It is the best of the Agra tourist places but it’s not on its own. Largely overshadowed by the Taj, its predecessor, the Agra Fort is perhaps the finest Mughal fort in India and is worthy of inspection.

Many tourists make the popular day-trip from Delhi to Agra and combine a visit to the Agra Fort with the famous Taj. However, to truly experience Agra and everything it has to offer, it is advisable to stay for a couple of days to soak up the atmosphere and visit some of the attractions nearby. Agra was the capital of the Mughal empire in India and as such several Mughal tombs and mausoleums are scattered around town. Most notable of these are Akbar’s mausoleum at Sikandra and Itimad-ud-Daulah. Further afield is Fatehpur Sikri which makes for a fabulous day trip from Agra to witness the abandoned city that Akbar, the first Mughal emperor in India made his capital during his reign.

When you’ve finished admiring the fine Mughal architecture in and around town, one of the best things to do in Agra is to take a tour of the bustling chowks (marketplaces). There are some nice trinkets to be had here but remember to bargain hard as this is prime tourist feeding ground. Show interest only if you want to buy something otherwise you will be hassled for a long time to buy it.

For every first time visitor to India, Agra is clearly one of the highlights of their trip to the subcontinent. The places to visit in Agra are few but they are some of the best in the world.

See below for the best places to visit in Agra.


1. Taj Mahal Agra

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One of the ‘New World’ Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal (Crown of the Palace) is the highlight of every first-time visitor to India. It was built by Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan out of intense love and as a lasting memory for his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal (Jewel of the Palace). Visit at sunrise or sunset for the best viewing experience of the Taj.


2. Agra Fort

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Largely overshadowed by the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort is one of the finest Mughal forts in India. This massive red sandstone fort was built on the banks of the Yamuna River in 1565 by Akbar, the first Mughal emperor in India. Further improvements were made by his successors; Shah Jahan built the impressive imperial quarters and mosque, while Aurangzeb added the outer ramparts. The fort was built primarily as a military structure, but Shah Jahan transformed it into a palace, and later it became his gilded prison for eight years after his son Aurangzeb seized power in 1658.


3. Tomb of Akbar the Great

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Located in Sikandra, 8 km (5 miles) from the township of Agra, the outstanding sandstone and marble Tomb of Akbar the Great commemorates the greatest of the Mughal emperors. The perfect symmetry is typical of Persian architecture, and the scale is huge; the gateway alone, featuring more than 20 panels inlaid with intricate geometric patterning, will stop you in your tracks.


4. Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah

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Located on the east bank of the Yamuna river, 4 km (2 miles) from the Taj Mahal, the exquisite Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah should not be missed. Also known as ‘Baby Taj’, it set a startling precedent as the first Mughal building to be faced with white marble inlaid with contrasting stones. Unlike the Taj it is small, intimate and has a gentle serenity, but is just as ornate.


5. Fatehpur Sikri

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Located 40 km west of Agra, Fatehpur Sikri was the short-lived capital of the Mughal empire for 14 years, during the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar. Fatehpur Sikri is visited along with Agra as a side trip from Delhi.


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