The Best Guide to Explore Agra and Taj Mahal

The Best Guide to Exploring Agra & the World’s Wonder, Taj Mahal

Of course, the crown jewel and main draw to Agra is the breathtakingly beautiful Taj Mahal. Words can’t do justice to seeing this spectacular white marble mausoleum in person. Whether you visit at sunrise when it’s bathed in a soft morning glow, or under the light of a full moon, catching your first glimpse of the Taj is a pinch-me experience you’ll never forget. But the Taj is just the beginning of Agra’s treasures. This city was once the regal capital of the powerful Mughal Empire, leaving behind an incredible array of forts, palaces, gardens and tombs.


Agra, in its entirety, is a story etched in stone– best known as the home of the iconic Taj Mahal, its allure extends beyond this magnificent monument. The city finds mention in the Mahabharata, one of the ancient Indian epics, where it is referred to as “Agravana.” Agra’s essence also lies in the lively streets, bustling markets, and the warmth of its people. It reflects the architectural splendor of the bygone Mughal era, in each one of its narrow winding lanes and ancient structures.

Best Places to Stay

Luxury/5 Star Picks

  1. Trident Agra
  2. Courtyard by Marriott Agra
  3. Radisson Hotel

Luxury Boutique Hotels

  1. The Oberoi Amarvilas
  2. ITC Mughal
  3. Ekaa Villa

Budget/Backpacker Options

  1. Hotel Seven Hills Tower
  2. Hotel Amar
  3. Hotel Sidhartha

Best Commute Options

Hire a Taxi!

To get the best out of your stay duration in Agra, the best way to commute around is via a private taxi. We recommend hiring one through a good travel agency (like Travelosei), or through your hotel. On an average it takes 18 mins to cover 10 kms of distance except for during rush hours (Morning 8:30-10:30, Evening 5:30-8:00); it will take about 30 mins to cover the same distance.

Although cheaper and visibly more in number than taxis, auto rickshaws can be frantic for those not used to it. It will give you the local Indian experience and can get you around the city pretty well. Having said that, you could consider hiring an auto rickshaw driver for the full day tour. But since they’re easily found outside any monument or popular place you visit, you might want to hire one every time you leave a place.

Must Visit Sights & Landmarks in Agra

For an utterly romantic experience, time your Taj Mahal visit for sunrise. As the first rays of the morning sun wash over the Taj, it seems to glow from within. It’s no wonder the Taj is considered a masterpiece of art and one of the seven wonders of the modern world.

Taj Mahal Tour

After the Taj, make sure to check out the unique vantage point from Mehtab Bagh, a gorgeous Mughal garden directly across the Yamuna River. From here, you can take in the full view of the Taj’s backside with the river in the foreground.

Next comes the Agra Fort, a 16th century UNESCO site that was the main residence of Mughal rulers. You can wander through grand courtyards and palaces like Diwan-i-Am, Diwan-i-Khas, and Jahangiri Mahal to imagine the days of royal opulence.

For more of such grandeur, set aside time to tour Fatehpur Sikri, an imperial walled city constructed by Akbar in the 16th century. Now an abandoned archaeological site, its sandstone palaces, tombs and mosques are remarkably preserved.

A tip for those looking for a more experiential travel- don’t just stick to the monuments. Part of the magic of Agra is exploring its lively markets and bustling streets. Browse colorful stalls for amazing handicrafts and souvenirs to take a piece of this historic city home with you.

Food & Restaurants in Agra

Fine Dining Experiences in Agra

For luxurious Indian fine-dining experiences, dine at the Oberoi’s Belluvue, Taj Bano at ITC Mughal & the Mughal Room at Hotel Clarks.

World Cuisines in Agra

Visit the Salt Cafe to try out a bunch of cuisines other than its famous Italian delights. For particularly Italian food, dine in at Little Italy in Hotel Howard The Fern. Try out Berco’s & the Wok Bar for pan-Asian cuisines. 

Coffee Shops & Bakeries in Agra

Walk in at Cafe Double Shot, Sheroes Hangout Cafe and Spiced Brew for some of the best coffee & snacks that Agra has to offer. For bakery-lovers, Satkar Pastries & MKOP cannot be missed.

Local Food Experiences in Agra

Agra is widely famous for its sweet, “petha”, and street foods ranging from Bhalla to Shawarma and a delectable range of Mughlai foods.

Flea & Street Markets in Agra

Close to the Agra Cantt. Railway Station, shop at the Sadar Bazaar for leather bags, handicrafts, sweets & a variety of garments. Kinari Bazaar is a wholesale market which cannot be missed. Also explore Subhash Bazaar & Raja ki Mandi.

Must Do Experiences in Agra

To experience the Taj Mahal at its best, visit right before the sunrise & the sunset. The way it soaks in the colors is so ethereal that it takes the common Taj Mahal experience to a whole new level. Watch the light & sound show at the Agra Fort and take a boat ride in the Yamuna River which flows right across the Taj Mahal for perspectives you wouldn’t have dreamt of! If you’re a fan of theater, watch a show at the Kalakriti Cultural & Convention Center.

Spas & Wellness in Agra

Take on a rejuvenating & luxurious spa experience in any of these spa centers: the Spa Hibiscus by Ramada, Heavenly Spa by Westin, Jiva Spa by Tajview & the Kaya Kalp. We recommend you to book the experiences with the respective hotels well in advance to avoid the walk-in hassles.

Lessons & Workshops in Agra

There are a bunch of Yoga classes & workshops held on a daily basis in Agra, mostly close to the Taj Mahal & the banks of the Yamuna River. You can explore and book the same over Tripadvisor.

Do’s & Don’ts

  • If you wish to hire a guide, make sure you’re paying the right amount excluding the tips. For the best guide experience, hire one from reputable travel agencies only or consult your hotel concierge.
  • The Taj Mahal remains closed on Fridays. Make sure you plan your trip accordingly.
  • When planning for the Sunrise & Sunset Taj Mahal tours, check the timings month-specific, as it depends on the Sun.
  • Give the city at least a day and a half to explore.

Connect With Us

Popular Posts

Share On:
Scroll to Top