This magnificent fortified ancient city, 40km west of Agra, was the short-lived capital of the Mughal empire between 1571 and 1585, during the reign of Emperor Akbar. Akbar visited the village of Sikri to consult the Sufi saint Shaikh Salim Chishti, who predicted the birth of an heir to the Mughal throne.
Liberally sprinkled with British Raj–era buildings – including the famous Residency – and boasting two superb mausoleums, the capital of Uttar Pradesh plays a somewhat unwarranted third fiddle to Agra and Varanasi, but caters well to history buffs without attracting the hordes of tourists that sometimes make sightseeing tiresome.
The village of Vrindavan is where the young Krishna is said to have grown up. Pilgrims flock here from all over India and, in the case of the Hare Krishna community, from all over the world. Dozens of temples, old and modern, dot the area. They come in all shapes and sizes and many have their own unique peculiarities, making a visit here more than just your average temple hop.
This nondescript town is in fact in Uttar Pradesh. The town is famous for its link to the Rani of Jhansi, a key player in the 1857 War of Independence, and it is commonly used as a gateway to Orchha, Khajuraho and Gwalior. If you're here, check out Jhansi Fort, built in 1613 by Maharaja Bir Singh Deo of Orchha.