1.2 Official guides
1.3 Audio guides
1.4 Taj Mahal
1.5 Agra Fort
1.9 Other sights
The Taj Mahal
Agra's top two sights by far are the incomparable Taj Mahal and Agra Fort.
₹1,100 for foreigners for a ticket for the Taj Mahal and ₹ 650 for Agra Fort. (Oct 2018) The Taj Mahal entry fee includes disposable shoe covers necessary to enter the mausoleum, water bottle & ride in a battery operated shuttle to and from parking area.
Official guides are available for Agra for ₹1200 for a half day (including Taj Mahal & Agra Fort). Ask at your agent for details. Any guide that charges less than that is probably an unlicensed tout. Most unlicensed touts have fake IDs and focus more on taking you shopping rather than on presenting accurate information.You can book a local Govt. approved guide by logging www.tajtourguide.com or online search.
In April 2011 the Archaeological Survey of India introduced an official self-guided audio tour (₹105 in English & foreign languages or ₹63 in Hindi & Indian languages) which allows visitors to experience the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort at their own pace with authentic and accurate information. The official audio guide booth is near the monument ticket counters. Apps for self-guided tours are also available for iPhone and Android.
Grand Entrance Building to the Taj Mahal Complex
Gate to the Taj Mahal Complex showing intricate work and Quranic passages in Arabic
Agra Fort, as seen from the Taj Mahal
Entering the palace within Agra Fort
The Taj and the Yamuna River from the ramparts of Agra Fort
The antechamber to Akbar's tomb at Sikandra
Red Taj, tomb of William Hessing at Roman Catholic Cemetery, Agra
The Taj Mahal is closed every Friday
27.1750278.042161 Taj Mahal. is an immense mausoleum of white marble, built between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife. Taj Mahal means Crown Palace; one of the wife's names was Mumtaz Mahal, Ornament of the Palace. The Taj is one of the most well preserved and architecturally beautiful tombs in the world, one of the masterpieces of Indo-Islamic architecture and one of the world's great heritage sites.
The Taj Mahal has a life of its own that leaps out of marble once you understand that it is a monument of love. The Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore called it a teardrop on the cheek of eternity, while the English poet, Sir Edwin Arnold, said it was Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passions of an emperor's love wrought in living stones.
Although it is one of the most photographed edifices in the world and instantly recognisable, actually seeing it in person is awe-inspiring. Not everything is in the photos. The grounds of the complex include several other beautiful buildings, reflecting pools, and extensive ornamental gardens with flowering trees and bushes, and a small gift shop. The Taj framed by trees and reflected in a pool is amazing. Close up, large parts of the building are covered with inlaid stonework.
There is an apocryphal tale that Shah Jahan planned to build an exact copy out of black marble on the opposite side of the Yamuna river. His plans were foiled by his son, Aurangzeb, who murdered three of his elder brothers and then overthrew and imprisoned his father to acquire the throne. Shah Jahan is now buried alongside his wife in the Taj Mahal.
Because the Taj is white, your camera may underexpose your photos. Overexposure by 1 or 2 stops is recommended.
The Taj is open from 06:00 to 19:30 every day except Friday. Entry costs ₹250 for Indians and ₹1,100 for foreigners. Get there as early as possible to beat the crowds, and plan to visit the Taj at least two different times during the day (dusk and dawn are best) in order to experience the full effect of changing sunlight on the amazing building. Note that entry to the monument closes 30 minutes before sunset. It is also utterly stunning under a full moon.
To buy tickets, you can go to the south gate, but this gate is 1 km far away of the entrance and the counter open at 08:00. At the west and east gate, the counter open at 06:00. Alongside the ticket counter, you can also purchase a self-guided audio tour (allows two to a device) for ₹100 in English and foreign languages and ₹60 for Indian languages.
The Taj is located in the middle of the city. Expect a queue to get into the grounds. There are three gates: The western gate is the main gate where most tourists enter. A large number of people visit on weekends and public holidays and entry through the western gate may take hours. The southern and eastern gates are much less busy and should be tried on such days.
Once inside, expect long queues to enter the Mausoleum. There are two lines depending on the type of ticket that you've purchased. At the base of the monument, turn to your right for general (Indian) entry and turn to your left for high-value (foreigner) tickets. The general line can wrap around the building several times by the afternoon, whereas the foreigner line is typically empty. Helpful guards can direct you if you get lost.
Mosquito repellent is advisable in the warmer months.
There are night viewing of Taj Mahal sessions on the nights of a full moon and the two days before and after (so five days in total). Exceptions are Fridays, the Muslim sabbath, and the month of Ramadan. Booking has to be made 24 hours in advance from the Archaeological Society of India office situated at 22, Mall Road, Agra. Tickets cost ₹510 for Indians and ₹750 for non-Indians. The hours for night viewing are 20:30 to 21:00 and 09:00 to 21:30. A visitor must arrive 30 min prior to viewing hours for a security check at the Taj Mahal ticket kiosk at the East Gate. The night view is likely not worth spending the money as the visitors are kept far from the Taj Mahal (nearly 200 metres away) and there is not sufficient light for viewing or photography.
27.17958378.0212972 Agra Fort. is similar in layout to the Red Fort in Delhi, but considerably better preserved, as much of Delhi Fort was razed by the British after the Mutiny. As much a palace as a defensive structure, it is also constructed mainly from red sandstone, and much white marble in the palace section of the fort.
Emperor Akbar, king at 14, began consolidating his empire and, as an assertion of his power built the fort in Agra between 1565 and 1571, at the same time as Humayun's Tomb in Delhi. Emperor Shah Jahan added to the fort and ended up a prisoner in it. The fort has a beautiful view of his masterpiece, the Taj Mahal, on a clear day.
You can get to the fort by Rickshaw from Taj Mahal for around ₹25-30. Entry to the fort is ₹600 plus a levy of ₹50 if you have not already paid for the Taj Mahal.
There are left luggage services at Agra Fort where you can store your bags at no cost. A fine of ₹5,000 applies if you lose your luggage ticket. Eating is not allowed.
There are also audio guides available at Agra Fort which you can rent for a cost of ₹100 in English and other foreign languages (German, French, Spanish) or ₹60 in Indian languages such as Hindi or Bengali.
27.1799578.041693 Mehtab Bagh (directly across the Yamuna River from the Taj Mahal, the trip takes about 30 minutes from the centre of town by autorickshaw and will cost about ₹200). These botanical gardens give you an opportunity to view the Taj without the crowds of tourists. Alternatively, walk past the entrance and straight to the sandy banks of the river: the view of the Taj is every bit as lovely (perhaps more so, since the barbed wire fence surrounding the gardens will be behind you), although you may have to deal with aggressive touts. Don't forget to take a round trip by auto rickshaw. Entrance to the park is ₹100 for foreigners.
27.205578.03854 Ram Bagh (Aram Bagh). The first Mughal gardens, built by the first Mughal Emperor Babar, 500 m North of the Chini Ka Rauza.
27.222878.009255 Soami Bagh (10 km north of Agra). The white marble samadhi of the Radha Soami religion. Construction started in 1904 and is not expected to be completed until sometime in the next century. Visitors can see pietra dura inlaid marblework actually being worked on. Soami Bagh is 2 km north of Agra and can be reached by bus or cycle.
27.2204278.03076 Balkeshwar Temple (At Balkeshwar, at river side of Yamuna). A temple of Lord Shiva.
27.2375277.935547 Kailash Temple (at Sikandra, at the river Yamuna). A Lord Shiva Temple.
Mahakal And Mahakali Temple (At Sikandra railway crossing on Sikandra Bodla road).
27.1836678.017538 Mankameshwar Temple (At Rawatpara, near Agra Fort railway station. Near the raja ki mandi; a simple cycle rikshaw can take you there for a fare of 20 INR.). Listen to the aarti as some claim it purifies your soul. It is the most visited temple by locals, and during festive seasons its so crowded disrupting the traffic in the nearby areas.
Prithvinath Temple (At Shahganj. On road to Jaipur.).
27.1432678.044199 Rajeshwar Temple (At Village Rajpur. On road to Shamshabd.).
Rawli Maharaj Temple (At Collectrate crossing, beside the railway track). Very old temple.
27.1784178.0148910 Shyam Ji Maharaj Temple (At Bijlighar).
27.1974178.0101911 Akbar's Church (Church of Akbar). Akbar's Church dates back to 1598 and was built under the patronage of Emperor Akbar by Jesuit Fathers from Goa. Akbar's son Jahangir helped in the further expansion of the church. However his son Shah Jahan demolished the church in 1635, only to rebuild it a year later. Again in 1758 the church was looted by Persian invader Ahmed Shah Abdali. In 1769 the church was rebuilt. In 1835 the church went through further extension.   (updated Aug 2017)
27.1979578.0093612 Cathedral of Immaculate Conception (Roman Catholic Cathedral of Agra) (Near Akbar's Church). Cathedral of Immaculate Conception (Roman Cathedral of Agra) is near the Akbar's Church. Constructed in 1848 it dominates the nearby Akbar's Church. It is built in Baroque style. (updated Aug 2017)
27.2152877.9441213 St John's Church (Near Mariam's Tomb). Oldest Protestant church of Agra. (updated Aug 2017)
27.2008978.0342914 Chini Ka Roza (Chini Ka Rauza). A memorial dedicated to the Prime Minister of Shah Jahan, Allama Afzel Khal Mullah Shukrullah of Shiraz, notable for its dome of blue glazed tiles.
27.192978.030815 Itmad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb. Empress Nur Jehan built Itmad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb, sometimes called the Baby Taj, for her father, Ghias-ud-Din Beg, the Chief Minister of Emperor Jahangir. Small in comparison to many other Mughal-era tombs, it is sometimes described as a jewel box. Its garden layout and use of white marble, pietra dura, inlay designs and latticework presage many elements of the Taj Mahal. ₹300 for foreigners.
27.2112277.9676316 Gurudwara Guru ka Taal (at Delhi-Agra Highway, between Transport Nagar and Sikandra), ☎ +91 562 260 1717, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
27.1820478.0161517 Jama Masjid. A large mosque attributed to Princess Jahanara Begum, built in 1648 during the reign of the father Shah Jahan. Notable for its unusual dome and absence of minarets.
27.2152977.9420318 Mariam's Tomb (West from Akbar's Tomb on Agra-Delhi highway). Constructed by Jahangir in the memory of his mother Mariam Zammani. The grave is made of white marble. Though this building is in a ruined condition, yet it has in its vicinity, a Christian Mission School and a church. It is also said; Akbar himself made that it in the memory of his Christian wife.
27.2176577.9503619 Sikandra (10 km north of Agra on the Agra Delhi highway). Open from sunrise to sunset. The tomb of Akbar lies here in the centre of the large garden. Akbar started its construction himself but it was completed by his son Jehangir, who significantly modified the original plans which accounts for the somewhat cluttered architectural lines of the tomb. Four red sandstone gates lead to the tomb complex: one is Muslim, one Hindu, one Christian, and one is Akbar's patent mixture.
27.210178.005120 Roman Catholic Cemetery. Roman Catholic Cemetery in Agra predates the Taj Mahal. It dates back to the time of Akbar (ruled 1556 - 1605). The earliest grave dates back to 1611 and is of an Armenian named Khwaja Mortenepus. The star attraction of the cemetery is the tomb of William Hessing (1740 - 1803), a Dutch commander of Agra Fort under Maharaja Daulat Rao Scindia. The red sandstone tomb was constructed by his wife and is designed along the lines of the Taj Mahal, but not an exact copy. It is often referred to as the Red or Baby Taj. The Ellisa Memorial, Tomb of General Perron's children and many of the other tombs are built in Islamic style. Also, many of the Armenian graves have epitaphs in Persian. (updated Aug 2017)
City Walks: Other than the monuments visits, one can also stroll in the local markets in old city area. Its a nice experience to have a a walk in one of the oldest parts of the city.