Agra, a city in northern India’s Uttar Pradesh state, is home to the iconic Taj Mahal, a mausoleum built for the Mughal ruler Shah Jahan’s wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in childbirth in 1631. Set behind a reflecting pool inside a courtyard defined by 4 minarets, the imposing main building features a massive dome and intricately carved white marble inlaid with precious stones.
Popular Tourist Attractions in Agra
One of India’s most popular tourist destinations, Agra holds an important place in history as it is home to many architectural wonders from the Mughal era. Each famous site has a story of its own that both tour guides and locals love to talk about. To truly experience Agra like a local as well as a tourist, we have put together a guide to eight famous places everyone should consider having on their travel itineraries.
Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Mehtab Bagh, Itmad-ud-Daulah's Tomb, Fatehpur Sikri, Akbar Tomb, Jama Masjid, Moti Masjid
Agra is a beautiful city, which is visited by a crazy number of travelers from all around. Fair and festivals in Agra are quite colorful. If you visit the Mughal City during the celebrations, it is an ideal time to get a sneak-peak into the culture and traditions of the region. Following are some of the most popular fairs and festivals in Agra:
Taj Mahotsav: One of the most famous festivals in Agra, Taj Mahotsav is an annual event, which is organized in the month of February for 10 days. Close to the Taj Mahal, the Crafts Village or Shilpgram is the venue of the festival. The festival is organized by Uttar Pradesh Tourism to promote the art and craft of the region, made painstakingly by local craftsmen. The festival is a display of art, crafts, culture, traditional variety of food, and folk performances. Ghazal and Mushairas (poetry) performances is the other highlight. For children, there are camel and elephant rides.
The festival welcomes the spring season with zeal. The Mahotsav starts with a grand procession that has decorated camels and elephants, folk artists, accompanied by drumbeaters. Some of the best attractions at Taj Mahotsav include Chikankari from Lucknow, handmade carpets from Badohi, wood carvings from Saharanpur, silk from Varanasi, blue pottery from Khurja, Sapera dance from Rajasthan, Nautanki from Uttar Pradesh, Lavani from Maharashtra, and so on.
The town of Bateshwar is located at a distance of just 70 km from Agra. It is named after the presiding deity, Bateshwar Mahadeo. This town is known for its cultural as well as spiritual significance as it has 108 temples of several Hindu gods and goddess. An annual fair is organized here in the months of October/November, dedicated to Lord Shiva. During this month-long event, thousands of devotees of the Lord take a dip in the holy waters of River Yamuna. Livestock and Cattle Fair is a part of this fair. The festivities can be seen in Agra too.
Organized before Dussehra, Ram Barat is the special marriage procession of Lord Ram, which is organized every year in Agra. It is a part of Ramleela, which ends on the day of Dussehra, when Lord kills Ravana. At a special venue the palace of the Goddess Sita, Raja Janak, ‘Janakpuri’ is set-up. One of the highlights is the bedecked ‘jhankis’. This venue becomes the base for the fair, which is visited by thousands of devotees of the Lord who come to witness the royal wedding.
The procession of Ram Barat commences from Lala Channomalji Ki Baradari, traversing through the lanes of the city, to arrive at Janakpuri venue. The idol of Lord Rama, along with his brothers on elephants, is kept on special chariot decorated with silver leaves. Their bejeweled headgears look fabulous. The role of female characters are played by the local teenaged boys.
Organized at a location, just 12 km away from Agra, Kailash Fair is held at Kailash temple for paying homage to Lord Shiva. The festival is organized in the month of August/September for celebrating the appearance of Lord Shiva as a stone lingam. Devotees from nearby places attend this fair.
Agra is well connected by air with almost all the major cities of India. A number of airlines both, government as well as private have regular flights connecting the state with rest of the country.
Agra is well connected by a good network of rail. It connects the state with almost all the places of interest in the country. But comparing to the railway option, the roadways are more preferable, as well as, recommended as the railway tracks are mostly meter gauge and hence time consuming.
The best way to visit Agra is by road. A good number of Government and private buses ply to the state connecting it with its nearby places of interest. Moreover, taxis and other vehicles are also available on hire from many places to the state.
Best Time to Visit Agra
Agra is in a sub-tropical place on the Indo-Ganges plains. Thus, it has long and hot summer from the month of April to the end of July. At this time, the temperature can go as high as 45 degree Celsius (113 degree F). Loo is the name given to the wind that blows during summer. Loo is very dry and would agitate the summer.
In Monsoon (July - September)
The monsoon usually starts at the end of July. But, some times, the monsoon would be delayed to the starting of August and ends by the end of September. During the monsoon season, the climate would be a little humid and the nights would be cold. The monsoon season would not be very wet and thus, you can also enjoy a rainy Agra if you wish.
In Winters (October - March)
Taj Mahal in rain would be a marvelling sight. From October, the temperature falls to 15 degrees Celsius (83 degree F). This is the time when tourists flock this land. Till February, this temperature would be maintained.
Tips For Visiting Agra
If you are planning a holiday trip to one of the world’s most famous tourist destinations – Agra, you should be sure what to carry in your travel bag. This includes clothing for different weather conditions, accessories and footwear for men and women. When you do not take the right clothing along it would not only spoil your trip but even keep you from enjoying to the fullest. So it is very important to know what clothing to carry along during travel. Read the clothing tips based on weather conditions, places you visit, etc.
India is a land of various cultures. If you holiday in major cities like Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi north-eastern states & the tiny state of Goa, you can be more relaxed about dressing. People are conservative in northern regions like Jaipur & Agra that house monumental tourist attraction spots. The below clothing tips will help make your trip to Agra comfortable, confident & memorable.
Skin show attracts unwanted stares. So make sure to cover knees & shoulders while in Agra.
Clothing for Religious Places : There are lots of spiritual places / places of workship to visit in Agra. While visiting temples people take off footwear, so wear sandals that you can easily take off and put back on fast while visiting temples. It is advisable for girls to carry a scarf to cover shoulders head etc.
During Summers (March to May) : Agra is a dry and arid land. Summers are extremely hot and dry. It is advisable to fill your travel wardrobe with mostly Cottons.
Men : Tees, Jeans, cotton trousers, kurtas, long trousers and full sleeved shirts.
Women : Knee length trousers, Capri’s, long shirts preferably cotton, kurtis, loose tops.
Footwear & Other Accessories : Women & Men must wear strong shoes or sports shoes to protect from dust, insect bites. Select strong footwear for lengthy sightseeing walks. Sneakers are a great option for girls. Wearing heels will mess up your travel trip for the day and may even leave you with sprains, so avoid wearing heels.
During Winter (October to Mid- February): As there is extreme weather conditions in Agra temperatures dip as low as 2 degrees centigrade. Carry warm clothing like sweaters, hooded jerseys, woolen scarves, etc. take clothing that keeps you the warmest. Avoid synthetics though it keeps you warm. Thick cottons are also good.
During Monsoons (June to Early October): Mild to moderate showers wet the dry and arid landscape of Agra. Avoid cottons as they are easy to get drenched in. Avoid Jeans too as it takes longer to dry and you can get wet inside. Always step out in water proof clothing like jeans that slides water, water proof hooded jerseys and raincoats / rain caps too.
Footwear & Other Accessories :
While a waterproof hooded jersey is great clothing for men and women, it is also advisable to carry a compact umbrella to keep safe in case of sudden showers. If not water resistant, Make sure to keep your watches and Smartphone inside a waterproof backpack or handbag. Wear shoes to cover and protect your feet from rain & mud like sports shoes or sneakers. They are comfortable to walk in, durable for rough terrain and lengthy walks for sightseeing.