Almost everyone knows Agra as the home of one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Taj Mahal is a poetry in marble which has drawn millions of romantics from all over this world each year. But is Taj Mahal the only attraction of Agra? Should you drive to Agra or hire an outstation cab to go to Agra from Delhi just for Taj Mahal?
Today we will try to answer your questions regarding the scenic beauty of Agra and other tourist attractions which are mostly overshadowed by the marble mausoleum. Agra is a cornucopia of middle age architectural specimens which represent the changing trend of architecture in India. It houses marvelous forts, mysterious palaces and awe inspiring monuments which exemplify the effect of religion on Indian architecture.
Here are a few wondrous architectural beauties which should be included in every traveler’s itinerary of Agra:
Fatehpur Sikri: Built by Akbar in the year 1569, this served as the capital of the Mughal Empire between 1571 to 1585. This was the home of the Navaratnas or the 9 jewels of Akbar’s court. This represents Mughal architecture in its prime. This is a beautiful blend of Middle Eastern aesthetics with north Indian embellishments.
Agra Fort: one of the most visited places in Agra right after Taj Mahal; this is also a fine specimen of Mughal architecture. This was built during the times of Akbar in 1565. However when Shah Jahan ascended on the throne this fort was reformed into a palace. Currently this imposing structure with red sandstone exterior has marbled rooms with pietra dura inlay. The fort guards other architectural gems like the Pearl Mosque, Diwan-e Aam, Diwan-e Khaas, Shish Mahal and Musammam Burj.
Jama Masjid: One of the most famous masjids in this country, the Jama Masjid of Agra was built in 1648 under the rule of Shah Jahan. It is an imposing structure made out of red sandstone and marble. The Masjid is known for detailed calligraphic inscriptions on marble interspersed with black stones.
Moti Masjid: This was built by Shah Jahan for his court members. It has 12 arches which face the north, south and east. The main entrance is on the east and the prayer chamber is adorned with multiple intricate designs. In reality this is one of the few mosques with Hindu elements which decorate the parapet.
Akbar’s Tomb: This is another prime tourist attraction of Agra which was built in memory of Akbar, the third Mughal king of India. The work was initiated by Akbar himself in the early 1600s and bears a striking resemblance to Taj Mahal in both architecture and floresque designs. The tomb is located in the suburbs, merely 8 km away from the city center.
Other secluded beauties like the Jodha Bai ka Rauza, Sikandara Fort, Guru Ka Taal and Mehtab Bagh can also be seen on the same day if you have your own vehicle or cab to take your from one site another. Otherwise most tourists and travelers settle on just the Agra Fort for the day.