Agra is a city that boasts home to the greatest testament of love – The Taj Mahal, one of the eight wonders of the world. Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial for his late wife, Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal’s unrivalled beauty brings scores of tourists from across the world to admire its exquisite beauty; very few leave disappointed. Besides the Taj Mahal, Agra is rich in historical monuments such as the sandstone Red Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Luxurylaunches along with the Concierge team at the Oberoi Amarvilas brings you a list of things to do when visiting this city of love. Relive the era of Emperors and Princes whilst exploring this great city…. and who knows you might rediscover love as you get immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of this enchanting place.
Top day trip – visit Mehtab Bagh for excellent views of the Taj Mahal
Enthrall yourself with the perfect view of the Taj Mahal at sunrise and sunset from Mehtab Bagh, a centuries old garden located across the river Yamuna. Watch in awe as the Taj Mahal changes from a pinkish hue in the morning to sparkling white at noon and a golden glow at night when lit by the moon.
Must try dish – Petha, a sugary sweet delicacy
Petha, is a popular sweet that slipped out of the royal Mughal kitchens and spilled into the streets of Agra. A soft, translucent, chewy, candy-like sweet, Petha comes in various varieties – from dry to dipped in sugar syrup (chashni). Another specialty of the city is Dalmoth, a traditional savory dry snack made from fried lentils, nuts, spices, and oil.
Best One Stop shop – Kalakriti
Kalakriti Emporium is a handicraft gallery and showroom displaying a unique collection of sculptures, paintings, marble inlay, carpets and wood. The place also hosts cultural events, concerts, traditional dances, plays and exhibitions that give a glimpse into the richness and heritage of the Mughal era.
Best local secret Agra is very famous for – buy marble inlay work!
An Agra shopping speciality is Pietra Dura items, made from marble inlaid with precious or semi-precious stones; a technique used on the Taj Mahal. These items may be jewellery boxes, figurines, pictures, coasters, even furniture. Make sure to bargain for a good price.
Best place for local shopping – Sadar Bazaar
Located very close to Agra Cantt Railway Station as well as the Taj Mahal, Sadar Bazaar is a popular shopping destination. A renowned wholesale market that sells everything from food, clothes, electronics, handicrafts and more. Another place where you can put your bargaining skills to the test.
Best family activity – old Agra bazaar walking tour
Take a stroll inside the little known bazaars of the city where the old ways of life continue uninterrupted. You will come across streets and alleys dotted with shops selling spices, sarees, sweets, and arts & crafts. The exotic order of spices and tea shops doing brisk ‘chai’ business makes for an experience that will linger on.
Best cultural secrets – Ram Barat festival
Agra celebrates many Fairs and Festivals and the most famous of these is the Ram Barat. This is a grand event celebrated with great pomp and splendor in Agra just before Dussehra. A major fair is organized in the locality and thousands of people visit the venue to attend the staged royal wedding of the divine deities of Lord Ram and his brothers. There is a lot of gaiety and religious fervor as devotees go about decorating chariots in preparation for the wedding.
Best restaurant for a celebration – Esphahan at The Oberoi Amarvilas
The Indian speciality restaurant, Esphahan, is demure with soft lighting and intimate seating arrangements. Mughal inspired frescoes ornament the walls and a musician plays soft traditional music from the stage. The menu features perfectly marinated kebabs, traditional Mughal curries and soft Indian flat breads, served on traditional, burnished metal plates. Esphahan is open every evening for dinner. There are two seating’s at 6:30 PM and 9 PM. The restaurant has a smart casual dress code and welcomes children above the age of eight years.
Best cocktail with a view – Mumtaz, signature cocktail
Mumtaz, the signature cocktail served at The Bar of The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra is a blend of fresh pomegranate seeds, orange pulp, watermelon chunks and fresh basil leaves in Bacardi Superior. Sink into the silk upholstered sofas or take a stool beside the bar or enjoy a game of chess with the mother of pearl inlaid board and marble counters. Sip on an aperitif, single malt, champagne cocktail or signature iced tea and marvel at the view of the Taj Mahal.
Must see museum – The Taj Mahal Museum
Admire the delicate and impeccably designed art work in the Central Museum on the western side of the Taj gardens. The museum houses a large number of original Mughal miniature paintings, including a pair of 17th-century ivory portraits of Emperor Shah Jahan and his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.
Best activity / Excursion – Taj Mahal at night
History comes to life and time comes to a standstill as you witness the epitome of love bathed in a golden glow. Night viewing at the Taj Mahal is allowed only on five nights in each month; two days before the night of the full moon, the actual night of the full moon, and two days after the night of the full moon from 8:30 P.M. to 12:30 A.M.