One of the most historic cities of India, Agra should be on the list of travellers planning a quick getaway from Delhi this monsoon. Pulsating with a glorious past, it is home to three World Heritage Sites, popular local cuisine and is a shopper’s paradise.
Start off by exploring the Taj Mahal – a beautiful white marble mausoleum built in the 17th-century by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in fond memory of his wife, Mumtaz. Then there’s the Agra Fort – spread across 94 acres – a red sandstone structure which is undoubtedly, one of India’s finest examples of Mughal architecture. Lying parallel to Yamuna river, Agra Fort is situated 2 kilometres northwest of the Taj Mahal.
On the northern side of Yamuna, Mehtab Bagh is a quaint garden with a rich assortment of flora, where you can sit back, relax and soak in the best view of the Taj Mahal. Even Sikandra – the tomb of Akbar – is an architectural masterpiece combing Hindu and Muslim designs, truly reflecting Akbar’s secular philosophies.
Among the delicacies, Petha from Panchhi Petha at the Hari Parvat crossing is a must try. Available in a variety of flavours, right from paan to kesar, the store also has the tasty dal moth on its menu. Deviram Sweets at Mahatma Gandhi Road is famous for its Bedai – a popular breakfast item of Agra. It is a type of ‘kachori’ served hot with spicy potato gravy.
If you’re planning to stay in Agra, there are accommodations available for all kinds of budget. You could spend a comfy night at the Taj Hotel and Convention Centre that has a refreshing rooftop infinity pool with magical views of the Taj Mahal. You can have a captivating candlelight dinner at their restaurant Daawat-e-Nawab that offers authentic classics like kebab, biryani, tikkas and tandoori favourites and a wide assortment of Indian breads.
If you are on a budget trip, you can check into Bedweiser Backpackers – a dainty hostel with quirky decor. There’s a great collection of books and music to help you unwind after a long day.
Some of the best places to shop in the city are Sadar Bazaar for leather goodies; Shoe Market for a variety of shoes at reasonable prices and Kinari Bazaar for home decor items such as handicrafts, textiles marble, glassware and much more.