Agra, the city of Taj Mahal has always been a popular destination among many tourists in the country. It is also a very popular travel destination among many foreign travelers. But there are many things to see in Agra other than the Taj Mahal.
Some of the most popular places of tourist interest in and around Agra are:
Situated 26 miles west of Agra, this place is dedicated to the holy Sufi saint, Sheik Salim Chisti. It is believed that Mughal Emperor, Akbar, went on a pilgrimage to this saint as he did not have any heir to the throne. Returning from the pilgrimage, he was blessed with a son who was later known as Jahangir. This is when Akbar decided to make this city dedicated to the saint.
Built in the 1569, this place was the Mughal capital from 1571 to 1585 but was abandoned later as Akbar realized the water supply in the area was scarce. Now this site has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Owing to its beautiful architecture and stone carvings, this place is sure to enthrall any traveler. The elaborate palaces flanked by harems, formal courtyards and reflecting pools. The main attraction for tourists is the The Panch Mahal and Buland Darwaz. Both these structures are known for their excellent depiction of Mughal architecture. Even the giant chess board, where human figures were used as chess pieces, will surely leave the traveler with awe and wonder.
You can easily take car or bus from Agra, which can be reached through the Indian railways. Checking the Indian rail schedule will give you a better idea about the connectivity to Agra. Indian railways is a great way to reach this historic destination if your want to explore the other splendors on the way.
Red Fort of Agra or Agra Fort
At the time when the Indian land was submerged in the struggles of power, Mughal power was symbolized by the construction of Agra Fort or Qila-i-Akbari. Being a symbol of strength, power and resilience, this place stands in its full grandeur near the gardens of Taj Mahal.
Founded by Emperor Akbar in 1565, this fort is situated on the right bank of River Yamuna. Walls are made of red sandstone, which look grand and priceless in the morning sun. Delhi Gate is known as the grandest entrance of the fort. The Delhi Gate will lead you to Hathi Pol or Elephant Gate. But as this place has been taken up the army, the entrance for public is from the Amar Singh Gate.
Comprising the Jahangir Palace and Khas Mahal, this place is marked with different types of carvings that are characteristic to Mughal architecture. Apart from this also have some very beautiful mosques. The Diwan-i-Khas surely provides the traveler with the feel of the by gone days. Inside the fort, you will see many grand structures like Shish Mahal and octagonal tower of Muhammam Burj. Many buildings in the fort are made of pure marble, which is an epitome of Indo-Muslim art that is strongly marked with Persian influence.
Agra offers some of the best monuments and structures in India. With different styles of architecture depicted in the buildings, this gives the travelers a sure shot insight into the beautiful heritage of Indian art.