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Things to Do in Agra

Crowded, congested Agra, a city of some 1.5 million people in Northern India, often lands a spot on any first-time visitor’s itinerary for one reason: the magnificent Taj Mahal. While the gorgeous white marble mausoleum and the nearby Agra Fort offer reason enough to visit, few take the time to linger and appreciate the historical significance of a place where one Mughal emperor after another left behind grand architectural wonders as testament to the dynasty’s wealth and power.

The first historical mention of Agra dates back to the 11th century, though the great Mughal capital wouldn’t reach its “Golden Age” until the early 16th century when the capital was officially moved from Delhi to Agra. Ironically, Shah Jahan, the man behind the city’s biggest claim to fame, was also responsible for shifting the capital back to Delhi, setting in motion Agra’s decline.

Like the Taj Mahal, many of Agra’s other historic sites take the form of tombs and mausoleums. For example, the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah, often billed as a mini Taj Mahal, was considered one of the most innovative works of its time and likely served as an architectural inspiration to Shah Jahan. While less ornate, the Akbar’s Tomb is no less impressive.
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Korai Village
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Visitors to Agra who want to experience the culture, color, traditions and diversity of real India, not just the iconic Taj Mahal, will find all of this and more in Korai Village.

Travelers can escape the tourist route and venture into old world India as they wander the dirt roads of this picturesque village. Learn about local life, interact with villagers, and gain an insider’s look at the rituals of daily life for dozens of families living here.

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Hall of Private Audiences (Diwan-I-Khas)
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The pièce de résistance of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Fatehpur Sikri, a carefully preserved former Mughal capital established by emperor Akbar in 1570, Diwan-I-Khas (which translates to the "Hall of Private Audiences") is a beautiful red sandstone structure. It was once adorned with murals and Persian poetry, but today only traces remain.

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Mehtab Bagh (Moonlight Garden)
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Directly across the Yamuna River from the Taj Mahal, Mehtab Bagh (Moonlight Garden) offers a stunning perspective on Agra’s most beloved monument. While the views are the big draw of this 16th-century garden, it’s also worth a visit in its own right for its elegant landscape design and quiet ambiance.

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Kalakriti Cultural & Convention Center
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Not far from the Taj Mahal, Kalakriti Cultural and Convention Center is best-known as the venue that stagesMohabbat the Taj, a theatrical performance that tells the story of the Taj Mahal’s origins. There’s also a large shopping emporium filled with jewelry and handicrafts from Agra and across India.

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Fatehpur Sikri
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Built by Emperor Akbar in the 1570s, the UNESCO-listed Fatehpur Sikri—which means “City of Victory”—was the capital of the Mughal Empire for about 10 years. Today, a well-preserved collection of monuments, palaces, temples, and mosques remains, in a uniform red sandstone architectural style.

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