Agra’s magnificent white marble Taj Mahal stands like a bulbous beacon, drawing tourists like moths to a wondrous flame. Despite the hype, it’s every bit as good as you’ve heard. While Agra itself is a sprawling, bloated and polluted industrial city that few travellers seem to have a good word for, the Taj is not a stand-alone attraction. The legacy of the Mughal empire has left a magnificent fort and a sprinkling of fascinating tombs and mausoleums, while the Yamuna River provides a suitably sacred backdrop. The Mughal emperor Babur established his capital here in 1526, and for the next century Agra witnessed a remarkable spate of architectural activity as each emperor tried to outdo the grandiose monuments built by his predecessors.
The city has a lively but chaotic chowk (marketplace) and plenty of places to stay and eat, but the hordes of rickshaw-wallahs, touts, unofficial guides and souvenir vendors can be as persistent as the monsoon rain.
Many tourists choose to visit Agra on a whistle-stop day trip – made possible by the excellent train services from Delhi. However, Agra’s attractions are much more than can be seen in a day, and if you have the time you can enjoy several days’ sightseeing with side trips to Fatehpur Sikri and Mathura.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009
Tips & articles
4 April 2013
‘Helloooooo!’The eerie cry seems to issue from the wall of the tomb. In any other context it would be creepy...