The first thing that pops up in one’s head among all the places to visit in Agra is the renowned symbol of love – The Taj Mahal. Agra, a heritage jewel of India, is located on the banks of the Yamuna River and is a stop on India’s golden triangle circuit (along with Delhi and Jaipur).
Agra, one of the tourist attractions to visit in India, is a must-see for anyone who enjoys architecture and history. The city’s delightful chaos surely delights one’s heart as well. This ancient city, which legend has it has been around since 1000 BC, has more to offer than just the Taj Mahal. Here are 15 offbeat architectural marvels in Agra.
Taj Mahal | Places to Visit in Agra
The Taj Mahal is universally admired for its magnificent architecture. It is the most gleaming jewel of art and architecture, a perfect synthesis of Indian, Islamic, and Persian architectural styles. Built with pure white marble that has an extraordinary luster and texture.
The monument spans 42 acres. The monument is surrounded by lush green gardens, lovely pools, and fountains. It stands out as an example of eternal love, with its wooden foundation rooted since time immemorial. The Taj complex is worth a once-in-a-lifetime visit due to its architectural magnificence and uniqueness.
The Friday Mosque, a heritage tourist attraction in Agra, is dedicated to Jahanara, Shah Jahan’s daughter. This magnificent monument is made of multicoloured marble and sandstone. This one-of-a-kind monument features a fountain in the centre and Persian-style scriptures on the interior walls.
The eye-catching red sandstone structure is built on a platform and features stunning white marble inlay with blue-washed ceilings and walls. Visitors can see graceful inlaid panels similar to those found at the Taj Mahal throughout the interior.
Fatehpur Sikri was built by Emperor Akbar to pay tribute to Salim Chisti after his prediction of giving birth to a Mughal heir came true. It consists of four monuments: Jodha Bai’s palace, Jama Mosque, Buland Darwaza, and the Tomb of Salim Chisti. It is a religiously inspired architectural pioneer.
The Sikri is built in Timurid styles and forms, preferably with red sandstone, with the exception of the Salim Chishti dargah, which is built in white marble. The structure combines traditional post and lintel systems with arches and ribbed vaults of Buddhist origin. High domes are designed to match the massive scale of the structure, but the interiors are scaled down by double domes decorated with paintings or plaster.
The Agra Fort, built in 1565 by Mughal Emperor Akbar, is another gem, hence the name Qila-i-Akbari. The initial structures of Agra’s Red Fort were built by Akbar, with later additions by Shah Jahan. Mughal architects and designs dominate the fort. Built-in Islamic-Persian architecture incorporates Hindu elements such as chhatris and overhanging balconies; built in red sandstone.
Agra Fort is a maze of Mahals, courts, rooms, gardens, secret passageways, and other incredible architectural features that will keep you spellbound the entire time. It is located on the banks of the Yamuna River and offers a spectacular view of the Taj Mahal.
Akbar’s Tomb | Places to Visit in Agra
One of the beautiful places to behold, The tomb of Akbar the Great, located in the suburbs of Agra is an important Mughal architectural masterpiece, built in the 1600s; representing the emperor’s secular outlook.
A magnificent gateway leads into the expansive courtyard. It has three-story minarets at each corner and is made of red sandstone inlaid with white-marble geometric patterns. The structure is surrounded by Mughal gardens, which are home to local wildlife such as deer, antelope, monkeys, and even a few peacocks.
A Mughal mausoleum, known as the baby Taj Mahal. This is India’s first marble tomb, as well as the first structure built on the banks of the Yamuna. The dome, resembling Persian architecture, is the main element of the structure, whereas the rest of the structure is based on Indo-Islamic architecture.
Despite its beauty, Itimad-ud-Tomb Daulah’s receives far fewer visitors than other attractions in Agra, making it an ideal location for a traveling architect to admire its lovely features.
Located north of the Taj Mahal, one can witness one of the best picturesque scenes from this point, making it one of the favorite spots of every photographer and nature enthusiast. The park now has some lovely flowering trees and bushes, which is a far cry from its state in the mid-1990s, when it was just a sand mound.
The Archeological Survey of India is working hard to restore Mehtab Bagh and has already planted Mughal-era plants to help restore the site to its former glory. The landscape aligns perfectly with the gardens of the Taj, making it one of the best places to experience the natural beauty and rejuvenate your mind.
A place where any historian would love to spend the day, it is essentially the place where one can learn every fact and documentation about monuments such as Agra forts, Red Fort, Moti Masjid, and Taj Mahal architecture. It is situated within the Taj Mahal complex. One can view the blueprints, paintings depicting the magnificent monument’s construction, antiques, sketches, utensils, arts, and artifacts that were used.
Located on the grounds of Shah Jahan’s 1637 Khas Mahal, is a courtyard with outlines of gardens around water channels that look like puzzle pieces. The place is highlighted by its 85 symmetrical gardens, a beautiful fountain, and a charming pool.
The structure features a large courtyard with tanks, fountains, and hammams. It is thought that in ancient times, the garden had green vineyards and small artificial cascades, making it popular for grape harvesting and cultivation.
Moti Masjid | Places to Visit in Agra
The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan constructed Moti Masjid between 1648 and 1654 AD. It was constructed as a place of worship for the royal court. Moti Masjid, one of the city’s oldest mosques, shines like a pearl in a moonlit night, hence the name Pearl Mosque. The magnificent mosque took nearly four years to complete and is built in the style of Shah Jahan’s reign.
The mosque is made of beautiful light-colored marble. The land on which it is built is slightly slanted. Once again, the location has high architectural value. The masjid is located to the north of the Diwan-i-Am complex on a slope that runs from east to west. The structure features three massive domes with high architectural value. The three Hindu-style domed kiosks were built with white marble, while the rest of the exterior structure was built with red sandstone.
Chini ka Rauza
An architecturally interesting and beautiful place to visit. While not as well preserved as other Agra attractions, the Indo-Persian structure is notable for being the first monument to feature chini, a distinctive decoration made of turquoise, yellow, green, and orange glazed tiles.
The gardens are mesmerising, and the blue glazed tiles, known as Chini Mitti (Porcelain) at the time, will take your breath away. As the name implies, each of the building’s tiles was imported from China—an impressive feat during the 17th century, when this monument was built. The floral designs on the monument are Persian in style, and the most striking feature here is the beautiful tomb, which is styled after Afghan tombs.
Built in 1623 AD, Akbar’s wife Mariam Uz Zamani Begum was memorialised by her son Jehangir. Mughal Gardens, Mughal-style domes with a lotus on top, and the fascinating Chhatris will take your breath away.
The tomb is adorned with a sandstone façade adorned with floral designs. This tomb contains the chevron pattern with wine vases, geometric patterns, and other common Islamic designs. The hexagonal bases of the columns are carved. Carved friezes can be found beneath the chajja, white marbles can be found beneath the tomb.
The Radhasoami Samadhi is a work of devotion, standing approximately 110 feet tall and made of white marbles. The construction work has been ongoing for the last 100 years, and it has not stopped since the first day it began. There is a widespread belief that construction work should not be stopped at any cost and that it should be done on a regular basis.
The Radha Soami temple has also been continuously decorated for over a century and displays an extraordinary feast of stone and gems. Guru Swami Shivdayal Singh’s Samadhi is located in the basement, 20 feet below the main hall. On the upper floor, a white marble dome has been built directly above it.
Gurudwara Guru Ka Taal
The Mughals may have spread Islam throughout this region of India, but the area around Agra also has a strong Sikh community. Many of them visit Gurudwara Guru ka Tal, a spiritual site near Agra.
This tranquil location was built in the 17th century, and modern visitors can see the eight towers that remain from the original dozen. This red stone structure is similar to many other magnificent Mughal structures such as the Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. For Sikhs, the Agra Guru Ka Taal is a sacred place of worship.
Ram Bagh | Places to Visit in Agra
Ram Bagh, India’s oldest Mughal garden, was built by Babur, the first Mughal Emperor of India. Babur was interred in Kabul, Afghanistan, about 5 kilometres from the Taj Mahal, after being temporarily buried here. It was formerly known as Aaram Bagh and was constructed for the purpose of finding pleasure in nature.
It’s a great place for nature walks because of the pillared pavilions, beautiful waterways, and decorated footpaths. Through water and landscaping, as well as symmetry and visual order, the first Mughal garden in India reflected Babur’s concept of paradise. The Ram Bagh has recently been renovated (in the 2000s) and is now a public park. It no longer has an active water supply, and its tanks and canals are dry.
Agra – A must Visit for Traveling Architects
Agra is one of the few cities in India that has managed to retain the essence of its traditions despite various interventions of modernization. It has also been a major focus of various conservation and restoration schemes, most notably the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), which is overseen by the central government. Even today, Agra basks in the glory of its heritage and culture, which are beautifully portrayed in its architecture and lifestyle, maintaining its status as one of India’s most popular tourist destinations, especially for historians and traveling architects.
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