Things to do in Agra
Agra is one of the most populous city of Uttar Pradesh. It is a major tourist destination because of its many magnificent Mughal era buildings like the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. It is also an important part of the Golden Triangle tourist route along with Delhi and Jaipur. This former capital of Mughal Empire is mainly popular for the Taj Mahal and this is the reason that most of the tourists miss out many other interesting activities or places. Next time while planning a trip to Agra, don’t forget to explore more of this amazing city. Here’s a list of the top ten things to do in Agra:
1. Spend a day with villagers at Korai Village
Take a break from the usual sightseeing and try out something new by spending a day with the villagers. Korai Village is located at a distance of 8 Km before Fatehpur Sikri. Here you can explore the rural area of the city by interacting with the villagers and learning about their simple lifestyle. You can also visit their huts and can see how they cook their food in the traditional village style. Don’t forget to meet the village wizard Mohammad who is popular among tourists for his tricks.
2. Take a forest walk inside the Taj Nature Park
Here is another chance to see the Taj Mahal while walking amidst a beautiful park made by the Social Forestry Division of Agra. It is spread over 70 hectares of land and is just 500 meters away from the east gate of the Taj Mahal. You’ll be walking through a 9 km trail amidst various species of birds, wildlife, trees and shrubs. In some places, elevated photo points are made from where one can click a shot of the Taj Mahal. It almost touches the right bank of the River Yamuna and is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.
3. Buy Leather Goods at Sadar Bazaar
Sadar Bazaar is a popular local street market of Agra. Located at West of Khari Baoli near Agra Cantt Railway Station, Agra Fort and Taj Mahal, the bazaar is famous for the leather work, shoes and handicraft items. Marble inlay items like coasters, vases, table tops, boxes and other gift items can also be bought from here. It is open daily (except Tuesday) from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Don’t miss out on the local street foods like chaat (especially bhalle) and pani-puri from the evening stalls.
4. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner at Joney’s Place
Located on the Miyan Nazir Road, Tajganj, Joney’s Place restaurant offers delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner. Try out the North Indian style breakfast of puris and cholley, a grand lunch with a glass of refreshing banana lassi. Diners can choose from a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian curries, macaroni, pancakes, sandwiches, pasta and even falafel and hummus. The malai kofta and the toasted tomato and cheese sandwich are highly recommended. It is open daily from 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
5.Go to Marble Cottage for Marble Inlay Handicraft Items
Located at Jasoria Enclave, Fatehabad Road, Marble Cottage, Agra is a famous factory cum small retail shop of Marble Inlay Art and handmade products. Established in 1974, now with its team of 15 highly skilled craftsmen, it creates magnificent objects in marble. You can choose from variety of things like Taj Mahal replicas, White Marble Table Tops, White Elephant, Marble Inlay Photo Frame, Chess Boards, Candle Holders, Marble Jewellery Boxes and Marble Animal Figures. Beautiful carpets and rugs are also available here.
6.Visit Sur Sarovar Bird Sanctuary
It is located 20 Kms from Agra on the Delhi-Agra Highway (NH2). Spread over an area of 7.97 square kilometres, it was declared as a National Bird Sanctuary in 1991 by U.P. Forest Department. The place also houses a beautiful man-made lake known as Keetham Lake that is a perfect spot for relaxation. It is estimated that more than 106 species of migratory birds come to this sanctuary every year. One can also see a variety of fishes and aquatic birds. Some of the aquatic birds inhabiting Keetham Lake include Darter, Purple Heron, Black necked Stork, White Ibis, Little Gerbs and Paddy Bird.
7. Attend the Taj Mahotsav Festival at Shilpgram
Taj Mahotsav is an annual 10 day festival that is held at Shilpgram. This festival celebrates the rich crafts, arts and culture of India. Around 400 artisans from all over the country come together and showcase their unique crafts. Stone/wood carvings from Tamil Nadu, Chikan work from Lucknow, Bamboo work from the North East, Paper Mache work from South India and Kashmir, brass wares from Moradabad and Pottery from Khurja can be found here. Get a slice of the folk dances and taste varieties of lip-smacking Indian dishes. At Fun Fair, kids can enjoy joy rides like merry-go-round, Train-rides and Ferris wheel.
8.Have a look at Hammams of Fatehpur Sikri
Hakim’s Hammam of Fatehpur Sikri is the largest surviving Hammams (domed bath house) of Mughal India. It is a majestic structure with exquisite stucco work and golden paintings that occupies an area 105 metres by 78 metres. It is assumed that the Hakim’s bath house was used by Akbar and other royal family members. The water required for the baths was supplied by a well which is situated in the south-east corner. The building has a dressing room, a room for steam bath and two large rooms which were probably used for massage therapy.
9.Take a bite of Mughlai Food at Only Restaurant
Located at 45, Taj Road, Only Restaurant is the best place to try Mughlai food in the city. The interiors of the restaurant are pretty appealing with bright tablecloths and bamboo walls. The menu offers Mughlai, Chinese and Continental cuisine. Live music programmes are also held every evening. It is open daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. A must go place for foodies!
10.Watch the romantic musical drama ‘Mohabbat-The Taj’
The Sanskritik Natyashala of Kalakriti Conventional Centre organises ‘Mohabbat-The Taj’, a series of musical play that depicts the love story of Shahjahan and Mumtaz. The place can seat up to 585 people and has a 70 mm wide backdrop screen. They have created the world’s largest replica of Taj Mahal in Makrana marble which is carried by a hydraulic lift on the centre of the stage. The regal costume of the artists, the magnificent jewellery and the language of the songs of the play are worth seeing as they take you back to the Mughal era. Daily live shows are held at 6:30 p.m.By Anita Bhandari
Best SeasonOctober to March