A Complete Agra Travel Guide: All you need to know before visiting in 2023

Agra is one of the most visited cities in India for a reason. Home to the iconic Taj Mahal, a magnificent wonder of the world, it is a former capital of India that welcomes millions of tourists every year, eager to visit the country’s most famous monument. Though there is plenty more to experience for those willing to stick around for more than a day.

Boasting a plethora of Mughal tombs and gardens, the historically rich city of Agra is an integral part of India’s Golden Triangle. With three UNESCO World Heritage Sites and dozens of lesser known landmarks under its belt, there is plenty to captivate visiting photographers, travellers and historians to this part of Uttar Pradesh.

So, if you are planning to visit Agra and are wondering what else is there to see beyond the Taj Mahal, then worry not. I spent four days there in October 2021, and am happy to share up-to-date information to help you plan your dream Agra trip. In this guide, you’ll find everything from where to stay to what to see in Agra and much more.

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Where is Agra?

Located on the banks of Yamuna river, Agra is a city in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is approximately 210 km south of India’s capital city, New Delhi, and 240 km east of Jaipur in Rajasthan. If grouped together, these three cities make North India’s Golden triangle, the most popular tourist route in the country. 

If you only have a limited number of days to explore this region, then doing the Golden triangle circuit is a great way to get an insight into the world of maharajas and Mughal emperors. Travelling through these three neighbouring states, you will see some of India’s most beautiful architecture, and taste delectable cuisines. 

But should you have more time on hand, the heritage arc of Uttar Pradesh, including Agra, Lucknow, and Varanasi is also worth checking out. Lucknow is situated at a distance of around 335 km from Agra and has been on my bucket list since so long!

How to get to Agra?

Being one of the top bucket list destinations in India, Agra is well-connected to other Indian cities by an extensive rail and road network. There is also a domestic airport in Agra, but it is usually more convenient to fly to New Delhi or Jaipur due to more frequent flight options.

From those cities, you can take a taxi to Agra or hop on a train. Agra has several train stations, out of which Agra Cantonment (Agra Cantt) and Agra Fort are closer to the city centre. The Gatimaan Express from Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station in New Delhi only takes 1 hour and 40 minutes to reach Agra Cantonment. You can find more information about trains to Agra here.

Alternatively, you can also take your own car or book a private taxi and reach Agra at your convenience. The roads connecting Agra with both New Delhi and Jaipur are in good condition and the drive is pretty smooth and easy. Depending on how early you leave and the route taken, you can get from Jaipur to Agra in approximately four to six hours.

My friend and I booked a taxi from Savaari car rentals for this trip. They are an online cab aggregator in India that provides affordable chauffeur driven taxis in various cities across the country. Their expertise regarding road trips in India is really valuable, especially when going to off-beat places. I used their service to go from Kolkata to Odisha as well and loved that their quoted price includes tolls, state tax and GST so there are no surprises in the end. Check prices for their Jaipur to Agra cab here.

Although trains to Agra take less time to reach, it may make sense for you economically to book a taxi when travelling in a group. But if on a tighter budget, there are also frequent buses that go to Agra daily. You can check the timing and prices for buses to Agra on redBus.

CG’s tip: Almost all train and bus stations have taxi stands nearby. You can hail a ride to your accommodation from there or book a taxi online.

Best time to go?

Although the Taj Mahal looks marvelous throughout the year, the best time to visit Agra is during the winter months from October to February. Summer in North India is uncomfortably hot, followed by months of downpours that make it difficult to freely roam around and explore as desired.

Also keep in mind that during the winter season, the weather changes fast and can affect visibility to only a few meters at dawn. If you want clearer mornings and dreamy sunrises, then head to Agra either between October to mid-November or mid-February to early March. But, if you are looking to create moody pictures, then peak wintertime would be good as well.

I visited in the last week of October and had beautiful sunrises and sunsets throughout. There was a little fog by the Yamuna river during one sunrise towards the end of my trip, but it cleared quickly as I took hundreds of pictures of one of the seven wonders of the world sitting in front of me.

CG’s tip: Regardless of which month you plan to travel to Agra, just note that the Taj Mahal remains closed to the general public every Friday for religious reasons. However, all the other landmarks can still be accessed. 

How many days are enough?

Most travellers visiting Agra mainly come to see the Taj Mahal on a day trip from New Delhi. But, in my opinion, that is equivalent to barely scratching the surface. Not only does the Taj Mahal have a distinctive charm at different times of the day, there are also several viewpoints nearby that shouldn’t be missed to admire it from other perspectives.

Being a historically significant city during the Mughal era, there are also SO many other landmarks worth checking out in Agra that a few hours in the city can never be enough. If you are planning to see most of these sights, then spending 2-3 full days is highly recommended.

However, if you only have time for a day trip, then I recommend doing a guided tour from New Delhi to make the most of your time in Agra. This private one leaving at 2:30 am allows you to still catch the sunrise at Taj Mahal, followed by a delicious breakfast and a visit to Agra Fort. Alternatively, this one leaves a bit later and covers Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Baby Taj and a buffet lunch in Agra.

How to get around Agra?

I usually love walking and getting around a new city by foot, but if I am being completely honest, then Agra isn’t ideal for that. The roads are chaotic and if you are not staying super close to the Taj Mahal, then using a transport to go from one place to another is more feasible.

Depending on your budget, there are auto-rickshaws (tuk-tuks), taxis, and public transport available throughout Agra. Online cab aggregators like Uber and Ola work seamlessly too and cost almost the same as hailing an auto-rickshaw from the street for one-way rides. You can also hire the latter for approximately INR 800 for a day of exploring. Just remember to haggle if getting a rickshaw from the street.

CG’s tip: Between both the cab companies, I found Ola to be working more efficiently in Agra. I went out for sunrise every morning and Ola cabs would come in a couple of minutes even at 4 am. Uber sometimes took longer.

Where to stay in Agra?

From affordable guesthouses and hostels, to some of the most luxurious hotels in all of India, Agra has no dearth of places to stay. Irrespective of what your preferences, budget, and purpose of the trip may be, you can undoubtedly find an appropriate property to base yourself in, without a hassle.

I stayed at the ITC Mughal for the first three nights of the trip and then moved to The Oberoi Amarvilas for the last one to celebrate my birthday. ITC Mughal is for you if you are looking for a reasonably-priced luxury property that is on the top of their game when it comes to safety protocols for the pandemic. Their sanitization protocols impressed me exceedingly throughout the stay!

But, if you are in Agra for a special occasion, or just want to experience the best, then look no further than The Oberoi Amarvilas. Situated only 600 metres from the Taj Mahal, all rooms there provide an unobstructed view of the Taj (!) while the interiors pay homage to Mughal architectural elements. Pair this with delectable food, outstanding amenities and extremely warm staff and you will know why the property is so highly rated and loved. You can check hotel prices and availability in Agra here.

For those of you interested in low and mid-range accommodations, there are many options in Taj Ganj, Rakabganj and Fatehabad Road areas. Taj Ganj is super close to the Taj Mahal, but this neighbourhood can feel a bit unpleasant and congested. On the flip side, places like Hotel Kamal and Hotel Saniya Palace located there come with rooftop restaurants overlooking the Taj that make it better. 

Alternatively, Hostels like Moustache are always a popular and safe choice among backpackers.

Best places to see in Agra?

Agra has a wealth of incredible places to offer. From the world-famous Taj Mahal, to lesser known spots like Akbar’s Tomb at Sikandra, there are plenty of incredible monuments to entice both domestic and international travellers. Here are some sites that you should unquestionably add to your Agra itinerary:

Taj Mahal

Where do I even begin with this one? Built to immortalise the undying affection of a man for his wife, the Taj Mahal is an iconic symbol of love and India’s most recognisable monument. It was built in 1630 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his third (and favourite) wife, Mumtaz Mahal who died giving birth to their 14th child. 

Containing tombs of both Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan himself, Taj Mahal is an architectural masterpiece and a World Heritage Site. If you could only visit one place in India, then by all means, don’t even think twice before heading here. The monument’s perfect symmetry is so compelling that you have to see it in person to understand why it is often regarded as the most beautiful building in the world. 

Apart from the white marble mausoleum, the Taj Mahal complex also houses Taj Museum, Charbagh, a mosque, a reflective pool and a guesthouse. Most travellers visiting Taj Mahal stop at the reflecting pool at the front, trying to jolt each other for the iconic shot with the mausoleum. While it is a really picturesque spot, I would advise you to head to the mosque on the west and spend more time there instead. You’ll be surprised to see how less crowded it is!

Read More: Best Taj Mahal Viewpoints in Agra

There are three gates that visitors can usually use to enter the premises when visiting, but at present, the South gate is not functional. Between the other two, the West gate is the busiest as most tourists and tour guides tend to avoid the East gate due to the longer walking distance between the vehicle drop-off point and the main entrance. However, in my opinion, it is the best one to use as it is the least crowded.

CG’s tip: Sunrise is the most beautiful time to visit the Taj Mahal. The crowds are relatively smaller and you will get to admire the monument as it ethereally reveals itself through the morning mist. Try to reach 30 minutes before opening hour to ensure you are at the front of the queue in time for opening. If visiting on a day trip from Delhi, you can accordingly book a sunrise tour for the same.

Opening hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes before sunset, every day except Friday. Taj Mahal is closed every Friday for religious reasons. There are also night viewings two days prior to the night of and the two days after the Full Moon, except during the month of Ramadan and on a Friday.
Entrance fee: INR 45 for Indians and INR 1050 for Foreigners. Entrance to the mausoleum is an additional INR 200 for both.

Agra Fort

Restored by Mughal Emperor Akbar, Agra Fort is the city’s second most impressive landmark and another World Heritage Site. It was primarily constructed as a military fortress in 1565, but was later transformed into a palace by Shah Jahan, who embellished it with white marble and precious stones during his reign. 

When visiting Agra Fort, make sure to take a moment to appreciate its impressive red sandstone wall that is nearly 22 m high in several parts. The interiors are equally stunning as well and there are also a few vantage points that provide an unobstructed view of the Taj. When Shah Jahan was overthrown and imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb, he spent eight years here gazing out at the river and admiring the Taj Mahal from a distance until his death.

Some of the places to not miss in Agra Fort are Jahangiri Mahal (Jahangir’s Palace), Khas Mahal, Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of private audience), Diwan-i-Aam (Hall of public audience), Sheesh Mahal (Mirror palace), Musamman Burj, Moti Masjid (Pearl mosque) and Nagina Masjid (Gem mosque). The area is enormous and you’ll need a few hours to see it all. There is also a light and sound show here every evening.

CG’s tip: Agra Fort can get really crowded on Fridays due to Taj Mahal being closed. If you are in Agra for more days, then plan to visit here the same day as the Taj. Alternatively, you can go early morning and enjoy it while it is still quiet. Just avoid going near closing time as the guards tend to rush people out from beforehand.

Opening hours: Sunrise to sunset, every day.
Entrance fee: INR 35 for Indians and INR 550 for Foreigners. Plus, a separate ticket for ADA Toll Tax upon arrival, which is INR 10 for Indians and INR 50 for foreigners.

Mehtab Bagh

Located directly across the Yamuna river from the Taj Mahal, Mehtab Bagh is a Mughal botanical garden that has one of the best viewpoints in Agra. If you are looking to get epic sunrise and sunset photos of the Taj Mahal without the crowd, then make sure to not skip this spot. The garden is perfectly aligned with the Taj and there are several photo points facing the monument.

Mehtab Bagh is also known as The Moonlight Garden and there is even a popular myth associated with this place. Legend says that Shah Jahan wanted to make an exact copy of the Taj Mahal for his own burial here, only with black marble instead of white. But the construction of Black Taj never took place as he was imprisoned by his son, who buried him next to Mumtaz Mahal inside the Taj Mahal itself. Whether this is true or just a myth remains unverified.

CG’s tip: Although Mehtab Bagh is just opposite the Taj Mahal on the other side of Yamuna river, getting there takes time. The garden is approximately 8 km from the Taj Mahal and you will need to hire an auto-rickshaw or taxi to get there. Nevertheless, the picture-perfect view of the Taj Mahal is worth it, especially at sunrise or sunset. 

Opening hours: Sunrise to sunset, every day.
Entrance fee: INR 20 for Indians and INR 250 for Foreigners. No ADA Toll Tax is charged here.

Tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah

Often known as the Baby Taj or the Bachcha Taj, the tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah is another Mughal mausoleum in Agra. It was built by Empress Nur Jahan for her father Mirzā Ghiyās Beg, who was known by his title I’timād-ud-Daulah, meaning pillar of the state. Completed in 1628, this mausoleum was one of the first Mughal structures to have ever been built entirely in white marble.

This tomb is situated in the centre of a Charbagh, with four usual enclosing walls and side buildings made of red sandstone. Out of these, the pavilion on the western side beautifully overlooks the Yamuna river. But what sets I’timād-ud-Daulah’s tomb apart from other monuments is the beautiful floral patterns depicted by stone inlays and mosaic work. It even served as an inspiration for the Taj Mahal, which was built for Mirzā Ghiyās Beg’s granddaughter Mumtaz.

CG’s tip: Being a lesser known monument in Agra, the tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah doesn’t see that many visitors throughout the day. I would suggest you to visit popular places in the morning and then visit here afterwards. Since it is located near Mehtab Bagh, you can easily club the two together too.

Opening hours: Sunrise to sunset, every day.
Entrance fee: INR 20 for Indians and INR 250 for Foreigners. Plus, ADA Toll Tax of INR 5 for Indians and INR 10 for Foreigners upon arrival.

Chini ka Rauza

Situated just 1 km north of I’timād-ud-Daulah’s tomb, Chini ka Rauza is another funerary monument in Agra. It contains the tomb of Shukrullah Shirazi Afzal Khan ‘Allami’, a Persian scholar and poet, who later became the Prime Minister of Emperor Shah Jahan. It also has a large garden and nice riverside views.

If you like exploring lesser known places and are in the area anyway, then definitely make a pit stop here. The exterior of this monument is covered in glazed tile work, which is one of the reasons to admire it. The interiors, on the other hand, feature paintwork and inscriptions from the Quran, both of which seems to be depleting to an extent.

However, seeing the dome from inside is still pretty impressive. Just don’t head here with high expectations as the structure isn’t maintained like other popular places in Agra. Some of the tile work on the outside is either falling off or has lost its colour due to the weather. Hopefully it can be restored to its former glory someday!

Opening hours: Sunrise to sunset, every day.
Entrance fee: Free.

Tomb of Akbar

Akbar’s tomb is another beautiful example of impressive Mughal architecture. It is a hidden gem that is the final resting place of Mughal Emperor Akbar. It is located in the town of Sikandra, about 40 minutes outside of the main city. Emperor Akbar planned and constructed most of the monument himself while he was still alive. But, it was completed by his son Jahangir, after his death.

The mausoleum itself is five stories tall and is made with red sandstone and white marble. It is surrounded by vast gardens, housing deer, monkeys, peacocks and other wildlife. If you love architecture and photography, then make sure to not give this picturesque sight a miss. The chhatri-topped minarets, painted interiors and detailed inlay work are really remarkable to see up close.

CG’s tip: Sikandra is en-route to Fatehpur Sikri from Agra. If you are planning to visit there, then you can make a stop at Akbar’s tomb on the way to save time. The tomb of Mariam Zamani, Akbar’s wife, is also situated close by in Sikandra itself. 

Opening hours: Sunrise to sunset, every day.
Entrance fee: INR 20 for Indians and INR 250 for Foreigners. Plus, ADA Toll Tax of INR 5 for Indians and INR 10 for Foreigners upon arrival.

Tomb of Mariam-uz-Zamani

Not too far from Akbar’s tomb lies another Mughal mausoleum in Sikandra. This is the final resting place of Emperor Akbar’s favourite wife, Mariam-uz-Zamani. It was built by their son Jahangir and is about a 5 minute driving distance from the tomb of Akbar. If you are travelling to Sikandra to see Akbar’s tomb, then you can make a stop here as well.

Mariam’s tomb was formerly an open baradari (pleasure pavilion) built by Sikander Lodhi in 1495 AD. The Mughals acquired it in the 17th century and reconstructed the exterior walls by introducing red sandstone to the edifice. Similar to other Mughal sites in Agra, this mausoleum is also surrounded by lush gardens. However, there isn’t much else to see at the site.

Opening hours: Sunrise to sunset, every day.
Entrance fee: INR 10 for Indians and INR 250 for Foreigners. ADA Toll Tax is not levied here.

Note: All the above-mentioned entrance fees are as per the online ticketing charges. The prices will be slightly higher if you purchase them via cash, when or if the ticket counters open up (more on this below). You can book online tickets to any of these on the official website here.

Taj Nature Walk

Located a few metres away from the East Gate entrance of Taj Mahal, it is a peaceful park providing walking trails and beautiful viewpoints. If you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Agra, then take a stroll through this 70 hectare green belt and enjoy glimpses of Taj Mahal every now and then.

Taj Nature Walk is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Including an array of birds, you can expect to come across peacocks, peahens, hyena, and more here. Some people also like to go here for a picnic, but in general, it is not a busy attraction. For the best experience, visit here in the morning or evening hours when the weather is pleasant.

CG’s tip: The entrance to Taj Nature Walk is on the Taj East Gate Road. You may be asked for an ID when visiting, so make sure to carry one with you. Taking a reusable water bottle is also recommended as there is no place to buy it once there.

Opening hours: Sunrise to sunset, every day.
Entrance fee: INR 20 for Indians and INR 100 for Foreigners.


If you are in Agra for longer, then there are also some other landmarks that you can check out. Taj Mahal itself has plenty of viewpoints, especially for those willing to walk around the nearby areas in pursuit of different perspectives. My personal favourite is the chhatri situated close to Dussehra Ghat, and from the boat ride on Yamuna river. 

Agra also enjoys local markets which are an experience in themselves. If you don’t mind the constant honks, large crowds, haggling, etc., then visit the narrow lanes of Kinari Bazaar near the Taj Mahal. The enormous Jama Masjid is also located there. Sadar Bazaar is another famous market in Agra.


Day trips from Agra?

Even though there is a lot to see in Agra itself, there are also remarkable destinations outside it that you can explore when there. The roads are in good condition and you can easily do a day trip to see other gems of Uttar Pradesh. Here are some places that I would recommend checking out:

Fatehpur Sikri

Situated less than 40 km from Agra, Fatehpur Sikri is a 16th century city that was built predominantly in red sandstone by Emperor Akbar. It was founded as the capital of the Mughal Empire and later abandoned after just 15 years due to multiple reasons. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is a must visit for every architecture lover.

Combining Hindu and Muslim elements, Fatehpur Sikri is one of the finest examples of Mughal architectural splendour. The city is surrounded by a large fortification wall and there are several entryways to access the premises. Known as the Gate of Magnificence, the Bhuland Darwaza at Fatehpur Sikri is the highest gateway in the world at a height of 54 metres.

Other must-see attractions at Fatehpur Sikri include The Jama Masjid, which is one of the most beautiful mosques in India. The Palace of Jodha Bai, Panch Mahal, Anup Talao, Diwan-I-Khaas, Diwan-I-Aam, and the Treasury are wonderful too. Just try to visit early in the day so you have enough time to go around and see everything at a relaxed pace. You will easily need a couple of hours here.

CG’s tip: Fatehpur Sikri is divided into two parts: the mosque, and the palace complex. Most taxi drivers will try to drop you close to Bhuland Darwaza, which is the entrance to the Jama Masjid. But, I suggest visiting the palace area first.

Bhuland Darwaza is surrounded by many hawkers, beggars and young children that roam around freely pretending to be guides harassing tourists in the name of charity. Just head to Diwan-I-Aam or Jodha Bai entry gates and visit there later to have a quick visit of the mosque. 

Opening hours: Sunrise to sunset, every day.
Entrance fee: INR 35 for Indians and INR 550 for Foreigners. An additional ADA Toll Tax of INR 10 for Indians and INR 50 for Foreigners is also charged upon arrival. The Jama Masjid complex at Fatehpur Sikri can be visited free of cost.

Bharatpur

Located about 25 km from Fatehpur Sikri lies Bharatpur. It is an Indian city in the state of Rajasthan that has an array of beautiful palaces, forts and temples to offer. I would typically suggest to stay here overnight to be able to explore it properly, but if you are short on time, then it can be a great addition to your Fatehpur Sikri day trip from Agra too. There are many tours that cover both places.

The most popular site to not miss in Bharatpur is the Keoladeo National Park, formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. It is a World Heritage Site where you can spot over 350 species of birds, especially during the winter season. The landscape is really beautiful and you can choose between covering the trails on foot, bikes or a cycle rickshaw. Boating is also available there.

CG’s tip: Bharatpur and Fatehpur Sikri both fall on the way on the Jaipur-Agra route. If you are travelling between Jaipur and Agra by road, then you can visit either of them or both, depending on how much time you have. For Keoladeo National Park, I would recommend having a few hours in hand.

Opening hours: Keoladeo National Park is open from 6:30 am to 5:00 pm in Winter and 6:00 am to 6:00 pm in Summer. 
Entrance fee: INR 75 for Indians and INR 500 for Foreigners. Prices for vehicle hire at the Keoladeo National park are separate.

Mathura

For those interested in spirituality and Hindu culture, the city of Mathura is another option for a day trip from Agra. It is located approximately 57 km from Agra and is popular for being the birthplace of Lord Krishna. Offering landmarks like sacred temples and serene ghats, Mathura is unlike most other cities in India.

Known as the holiest place in the city, the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple is one of the must visit sites in Mathura. There are large celebrations here during the festivals of Holi and Janmashtami. Other notable landmarks in Mathura are Vishram Ghat, Kusum Sarovar, Kans Qila, Jama Masjid, Krishna Balaram Mandir, Goverdhan Hill and more.

Your trip to Mathura can also be combined with a visit to its twin city of Vrindavan. The town of Deeg is also an easy drive from both Mathura and Bharatpur.

Vrindavan

Located around 15 km from Mathura, Vrindavan is another holy city situated on the banks of the Yamuna river. It is a Hindu pilgrimage site that is known for being the city where Lord Krishna spent a considerable amount of his childhood. There are numerous temples dedicated to Lord Krishna in Vrindavan.

Shri Banke Bihari Mandir is one of the most popular temples to visit in Vrindavan. It is also the main centre of celebration of the Holi festival in Vrindavan, where events take place for a whole week. The shrine at Banke Bihari Mandir is one of the most admired in all of India.

Other places to see in Vrindavan include Prem Mandir, Govind Devji Temple, ISKCON Vrindavan, Radha Raman Temple, Nidhi Van, Keshi Ghat, and more. You can drive to Vrindavan yourself, use public transport or book a private guided tour. This one from Agra takes you to both Mathura and Vrindavan.

Where to eat in Agra?

Indian food is one of my all-time favourites, so I love travelling within India and tasting local delicacies of different regions. Here are some places that I would recommend for good vegetarian food in Agra:

Bellevue: Bellevue is an all-day dining restaurant at The Oberoi Amarvilas, serving Indian and International cuisines. It has both indoor and outdoor seating, where the latter overlooks the hotel’s beautiful, lush gardens and the pool area. From hand rolled pastas to chaat boxes containing mouth-watering street food, you can expect to find great quality no matter what you order. Their Thai Stir Fried Tofu and Vegetable Krapow were my personal favourite!

Esphahan: Esphahan is a speciality tandoor dining restaurant serving Mughal cuisine at The Oberoi Amarvilas. You can order Thalis or multiple course set menus here and enjoy a delicious dinner while listening to live music. My friend and I went with the traditional Indian Thali option and loved everything. The Dal Esphahani and Pistachio Kulfi were a delight!

Peshawri: Peshawri is another North Indian fine dining restaurant in Agra. It is located inside the ITC Mughal and serves dishes that are cooked in traditional clay pots or tandoors. Some of the dishes were not available during our visit as the restaurant had just re-opened that night itself, but we had Dal Bukhara, Kebabs and lots of butter Naan. Their bread was so good that I could eat just that on its own!

Sheroes Hangout: Sheroes Hangout in Agra is a café with a cause. It is a colourful place that is run by acid attack survivors who welcome customers with utmost love and big smiles. Their mission is to raise awareness about these attacks and empower other victims to continue living life in public. The menu at Sheroes Hangout doesn’t have any prices and customers are requested to pay what they deem right. Please remember to pay fair and support them in whatever way possible.

Other than these, we mostly ate our weight in breakfast buffets and decent looking all-day dining places close to where we were. If you happen to be in the Taj Ganj area, then you can also check out rooftop restaurants like Hotel Saniya Palace that are known for their view of the Taj Mahal. The food is mostly simple, but worth a visit for the viewpoint.

What to buy in Agra?

Agra is known for many things, out of which Petha is the most popular. It is an Indian soft candy made from white pumpkin. Most sweet shops in Agra sell Petha and there are often numerous flavours available. If you like sweets, then make sure to try this local delicacy or bring back some for your loved ones. You can get Petha near the Taj Mahal, at bus and train stations, and in local markets and speciality stores. 

Another souvenir that you can buy from Agra are marble replicas. From a Taj Mahal miniature to products like trays, vases, or boxes, you can find many items inlaid with semi-precious stones in ornate floral designs that are commonly found in Mughal architecture throughout Agra. There are many stores on Fatehabad Road that sell these.

Other products that Agra is known for are leather goods, silk sarees and textiles, rugs and carpets, handicrafts, and more. Have a stroll around Kinari Bazaar or Sadar Bazaar and you’ll probably find something interesting for yourself. Just note that Kinari Bazaar is closed every Tuesday. 

What to pack for Agra?

  • A camera! Taj Mahal is one of the most photogenic sites in the world, so you would be crazy to travel to Agra and not capture it. Whether you are comfortable using a smartphone or a professional DSLR or mirrorless camera, make sure to take one with you and snap some pictures. I recently upgraded to a Sony mirrorless!
  •  A wide angle lens. The monuments in Agra are designed in such a way that you’ll sometimes wish you had a wider lens to shoot the entire setting. Landmarks like Akbar’s Tomb are enormous in size, and if you want the iconic arch shot of the Taj Mahal then definitely carry this with you.
  • A zoom lens may also be useful if you are looking to get some detailed shots while in Agra. It would particularly come handy in places like Mehtaab Bagh where Taj Mahal would be a little further.
  • A hard drive because all those photos need to be stored somewhere now, don’t they? This may not apply to everyone, but I like to take a backup of my files every day and thus carry a hard drive on all my trips. Not only does it help to empty SD cards, but I honestly sleep better knowing my photos are safely backed up. This is the one I use.
  • Weather appropriate clothing. The temperatures in Agra vary vastly between the different seasons, so make sure to bring suitable clothing for your trip. However, for women, I suggest leaving tanks behind and bringing light maxis or similar if travelling in summer. Agra is still a conservative city.
  • If you are a female, then carrying a scarf to cover your bare shoulders when visiting masjids, temples and other religious sites is also a must. I personally take one or a light jacket with me on most trips around India as they can also be useful in crowded areas to avoid unnecessary attention.
  • A travel plug adapter that supports outlet types C, D, and M. If your devices are bought from outside India, then make sure to check this to have a seamless experience at your accommodation or check with your hotel for a spare. This one works in most places around the world.
  • A portable charger. Since you are going to be out and about all the time and using your phone for photos, directions, restaurant reviews, you may run out of battery quickly. A portable charge ensures you always have a working device with you!
  • Last but not the least, make sure to carry hand sanitizers and face masks. You can never have too much of these while travelling during these uncertain times.

Some things to know before visiting Agra

  • Entrance tickets for all the monuments in and nearby Agra must now be purchased online. There used to be functioning ticket counters at all the touristic sites before the pandemic, but that isn’t the case anymore.
  • You can now either buy your tickets for Agra monuments here before visiting or scan one of the QR codes displayed on the entrances and get an electronic ticket on the spot. However, sometimes the portal does not work efficiently due to poor connectivity so it is better to purchase from before with hotel WIFI.
  • Should the ticket booths open again soon, remember that in person tickets are more expensive. If you purchase tickets to monuments in Agra online (either before visiting or paying by card on arrival), then automatic discounts are applied to the final price. The deductions are not huge, but do make a difference when visiting many places.
  • On top of the entrance fee, the Agra Development Authority (ADA) also imposes a charge commonly known as ADA’s Pathkar or Toll Tax. It will already be included in the price of your Taj Mahal ticket, but you will be asked to pay it on top of your tickets at other landmarks. 
  • All foreign citizens visiting other monuments in Agra on the same day as the Taj Mahal do not have to pay the ADA Toll Tax again (make sure to show your ticket for the same if asked). However, you will not be exempted from it the next day. The ADA doesn’t levy any Toll Tax on Fridays so you can visit then to save money.
  • Some landmarks in Agra have a huge list of prohibited items that are strictly not allowed inside the premises. Before visiting any of these locations, make sure to check the list from beforehand to avoid wasting time in cloak rooms and security checks. For instance, visitors cannot carry any food, tobacco products, tripods, portable charges, pens, etc. inside the Taj Mahal.
  • Know the best time to visit popular places. Being regarded as the most beautiful building in the world, it is safe to say that the Taj Mahal gets REALLY crowded even at sunrise. I, fortunately, got lucky as India was still closed to international tourists at the time of my visit, but try going as early as possible.
  • Trust that the fog is real. If you are planning to visit Agra during the winter season in India, then expect that you may not be able to see the Taj Mahal clearly early in the morning. The visibility can get so low that you can stand just beneath it and still not be able to get a detailed glance!
  • You may come across articles online that claim there is nothing else to see in Agra apart from the majestic Taj Mahal. But in reality, this couldn’t be further away from the truth. Give the city more than a few hours and explore some other incredible structures from the Mughal era to see what else it has to offer.
  • There is also a lot of talk about Agra being a dirty and smelly place. Since this was only my first time properly seeing the city, I cannot argue if that is always incorrect, but I personally didn’t think the same was true from what I saw and experienced. Maybe it is due to the ongoing pandemic, or less number of daily visitors at the moment, but all the sights and areas I saw were clean.

Final Thoughts

That’s a wrap on a comprehensive Agra travel guide from me! I hope you found information in this blog post helpful in planning your trip to Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal. 

I tried to include everything I could think of, but if there is anything else I can help you out with, then please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. You can also DM me on Instagram or send an email. I love hearing from you and helping you plan your trips!

Happy Exploring,
Charu xx

Want to keep reading? You may like “Best Instagrammable Places in Jaipur” and “11 Best Instagram Spots in Bikaner” too.

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This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Suman

    Charu, I love how beautiful your pictures are and how detailed the guides. I started following you on Instagram after coming across your Agra posts and have been waiting for this guide. Thank you for covering every topic that was needed so thoroughly!

    1. Charu Goyal

      Thank you so much for joining me here and on Instagram, Suman. I am glad that you came across my pictures from Agra, thanks for all your kind words 💖

  2. Sharon

    Agra is incredible. I’m so glad I went before COVID. I hope to return one day. Thanks so much for the info. Your pictures are beautiful.

    1. Charu Goyal

      Thank you, Sharon. And yes, so good that you could visit India before the borders shut down. I hope that we can reopen properly soon and people can start returning!

  3. Terri

    I am blown away by your photos of these historic buildings.

    1. Charu Goyal

      The architecture in India is incredible, thank you Terri.

  4. Hels

    Beautiful photographs! I love the way the sun appears to set the marble on fire, Although when we visited at sunrise I looked half asleep. The nearby forts are equally magnificent. A really comprehensive post – so useful and visually appealing.

    1. Charu Goyal

      Me too! We were there for quite a few hours, so it was interesting to see how the marble changed colours under different lighting conditions. Our guide also made us observe some precious stones that illuminated due to the sun’s position, which was fascinating to say the least. Thank you for your kind words, Hels!

  5. Lyne

    Your photos are so beautiful! Agra looks amazing to explore, thank you for this great detailed guide!

    1. Charu Goyal

      It really is, Lyne! Have you thought about visiting someday?

  6. KarlaTypes

    Your pictures are incredible!!! Lovely post, thanks for sharing all the details with us 🙂

    1. Charu Goyal

      Thank you for reading, Karla! I am glad you liked it 🙂

  7. Kathryn

    Your photos are absolutely stunning! And that architecture!! Thanks so much for sharing such an incredible destination!

    1. Charu Goyal

      Thank you, Kathryn! Agra is truly special.

  8. Sara Essop

    Beautiful pictures! I visited the Taj Mahal a few years ago but I didn’t get a chance to go there at sunrise. I’d love to go back again some day!

    1. Charu Goyal

      You must. Although the Taj Mahal is beautiful at any time of the day, seeing it at sunrise is truly incomparable. I hope you get to experience that one day!

  9. Madhu

    Wow loved the pictures..so amazing .i remember Visitng long back during childhood..need to visit again

    1. Charu Goyal

      Thank you, Madhu. And yes, you must!

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