Agra is world renowned for being the home of the iconic Taj Mahal and while many travelers will make the journey to this Indian city just to marvel at the marble walls and landscaped gardens of the country’s most instantly recognizable sight, there are many more great places to visit in Agra too.
After gazing in awe at the spectacular Taj Mahal, stay around in the city for longer to explore the rest of the sites in Agra.
This is a city with an incredibly rich history and in Agra you can find sprawling forts, resplendent tombs and exquisite palaces alongside a vibrant culture, lively markets and excellent cuisine.
To help inspire you to venture beyond the Taj Mahal, here are the best places to visit in Agra.
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Best Places in Agra to Visit Besides the Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal aside, there are some great places to visit in Agra. Inside the city you can find a huge array of sights that are equally as important as the Taj Mahal. Outside the city, you can find some impressive ancient attractions and wonderful wildlife reserves.
The second most famous of the many places to visit in Agra is Agra Fort. After the Taj Mahal, this is one of the most well known and visited attractions in the city.
The sprawling fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and for centuries it was the residence of the Mughal Emperors, who ruled vast swathes of India from Agra and built many of the iconic sights that you see here today.
Most of the fort can be traced back to the 16th century, but there have long been fortifications in this strategic spot in Agra. The fort is known for its distinctive red walls, built high from sandstone.
The complex is enormous and you can easily spend hours exploring all of the hidden passageways and strolling through the grounds.There are several gateways into the fort, and the walls run alongside the river, offering sweeping views over the water.
Our top recommended tours of Agra Fort:
- Agra Fort Entrance Ticket
- Taj Mahal, Agra Fort & Jahangir Palace Tour
- Sunrise Taj Mahal & Agra Fort Tour by Car
- Private: Same day Taj Mahal And Agra Fort Tour By Car
Within Agra’s red fort, you can find the beautiful Jahangir Palace. The ornate designs and intricate architecture are wonderful to see, while the history behind the palace is equally as intriguing.
The palace was built for Emperor Jahangir in the 17th century and this was where the Emperor’s wives would live and spend most of their time.
Perhaps the most famous resident was Nur Jahan, an Empress who wielded as much power as the male rulers themselves.
Our top recommended tours of Jahangir Palace:
Also found within the red walls of the vast Agra Fort is the Khas Mahal. This distinctive marble palace was where Shah Jahan, the ruler who ordered the design and construction of the Taj Mahal in honor of his wife, was held for years when he was overthrown by his own son.
From the tower, he would have been able to see the most iconic legacy of his rule in India, the minarets of the Taj Mahal itself. The Khas Mahal is a monument to both the opulence of the Mughal rulers and the strife of their power plays.
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Mehtab Bagh is one of the most peaceful and serene gardens to be found in the city. It’s one of the best places to visit in Agra because from here, you can see the resplendent glory of the Taj Mahal without any of the crowds.
This wonderful green garden was built far before the Taj Mahal was designed, but from the almost symmetrical placement of the Taj Mahal across the river, you would think otherwise.
Get here early for great photo opportunities of the Taj Mahal in the morning light and mist over the wide river.
The gardens were initially built by the famous Emperor Babur before the Taj Mahal was constructed decades later by a successor to the throne.
Legend has it that the Emperor Shah Jahan who built the Taj Mahal was also planning to build a second Taj Mahal-esque building in the Mehtab Bagh gardens where he would be entombed after his death.
The so-called Black Taj Mahal is one of Agra’s most enduring fables.
Our top recommended tours of Mehtab Bagh:
- Mehtab Bagh Admission Ticket with Optional Transportation
- Taj Mahal Private Sunrise & Sunset Tour
- Exclusive Agra Tour With Lunch
- Private Day Trip By Train : Taj Mahal, Agra Fort & Mehtab Bagh
Tomb of Itimad-ad Daulah
One of the best places to visit in Agra is the Tomb of Itimad-ad Daulah, the lavish resting place of the father of Nur Jahan, an important empress.
The mausoleum is also known colloquially as the Baby Taj because the resplendent marble facade and distinctive design are thought to be a preamble to the even more extravagant Taj Mahal which followed a few decades later.
It’s equally as impressive, and you will also find that the Baby Taj is much less crowded and a lot quieter to experience than the Taj Mahal.
Our top recommended tour of Tomb of Itimad-ad Daulah:
Agra is a city of tombs and mausoleums and another impressive sight to see is Akbar’s Tomb. This grand, red, sandstone building is a stark contrast to the Taj Mahal.
Not only because of the color but because of the designs. It marks an architectural period that predates the opulence of the later tombs. Akbar’s Tomb was constructed before the Taj Mahal at the start of the 17th century.
Our top recommended tours of Akbar’s Tomb:
- Visit to Sikandra Mausoleum of Emperor Akbar the great
- Experience Agra (Land of Tombs) Built by Mughals
- Village Walk in Surroundings of Akbar Tomb
- Mughal Agra tour from Delhi
When you are tired of endless tombs and opulent pieces of architecture then head to the Kinari Bazaar to experience another side of life in the city.
This is one of the best places to visit in Agra, because at the Kinari Bazaar you can shop, haggle, eat and take in the vibrant, chaotic nature of day to day Indian living.
The Bazaar is a maze of colorful alleyways and shops which you can spend hours walking through. There is a huge array of goods to be found here and you might find yourself returning from the Kinari Bazaar with more than a few great value souvenirs.
Our top recommended tours of Kinari Bazaar:
- Old Agra Private Food and Walking Tour
- Extensive Agra Fort and colorful Kinari Bazaar Tour
- Agra Biking Tour: City Sightseeing and Traditional Markets
- A Walk Through Time: Touring Old Agra
A day trip away from Agra is the historic city of Fatehpur Sikri. This grand city was the mammoth project of the Mughal Emporer Akhbar, whose tomb is found in Agra.
He started construction of Fatehpur Sikri in order to build a new capital for his empire. Within decades though, the new capital was abandoned.
The huge palaces fell into disuse after Akbar passed away and the site became unlivable due to lack of water. The British repaired many of the buildings as they realized the historical importance of Fatehpur Sikri and today it’s one of the best places to visit in Agra.
Our top recommended tours of Fatehpur Sikri:
- Fatehpur Sikri Admission Ticket with Optional Transportation
- Private 5-Night Delhi, Jaipur, Ranthambore, and Agra Tour with Taj Mahal
- 5-Day Delhi Agra Jaipur Tour by Private Car
- Private Day Trip to Fatehpur Sikri And Abhaneri Stepwells From Agra To Jaipur
Keoladeo National Park
For a change of scenery when visiting Agra, head outside of the city to the stunning Keoladeo National Park. This protected wilderness is known as one of the best bird watching reserves in India and every year you can experience first hand some of the most incredible bird migrations in the world.
Species fly here from as far afield as Siberia during the winter to find warmer breeding grounds. The national park is one of the best places to visit in Agra as it’s just an hour down the road but a world away from the smog and chaos of the city’s streets.
Our top recommended tours of Keoladeo National Park:
- Full-Day Private Tour to Bharatpur from Agra
- Ranthambhore Tiger Tour of Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur
- Full Day Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary with Fatehpur Sikri
- Experience Keoladeo NP & Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary From Agra
Best Time of Year to Visit Agra
Agra can realistically be visited all year round, as most of the major attractions are found within the city and not necessarily weather dependent.
The north of India experiences very little rainfall and you will find that it’s dry and dusty. The short monsoon season is from June to September but despite the rainfall, you may find the streets and sights to be much quieter this season.
The peak season for travel to Agra occurs from November to March when the weather is coolest.
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How to Travel to Agra
Agra is found in the north of India, in the diverse state of Uttar Pradesh. The city is one of the largest and most visited in the country and it’s well connected to the rest of India.
The small airport has few flights available, aside from domestic routes to other large Indian cities such as Delhi.
Most travelers will fly into the capital, Delhi, on international flights, as the city has flights to almost anywhere else in the world.
From Delhi, it’s just 150 miles south to Agra, a journey which can easily be completed by bus or train. Getting around Agra is best achieved by hiring a local rickshaw driver for the day, just ensure that you agree on costs and the route beforehand.
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