The whole world knows it … Agra is the Taj Mahal and the Taj Mahal is Agra. Because if Agra, India’s city of 1.4 million inhabitants in the Uttar Pradesh region is so famous, it owes it to the majestic Taj Mahal , in peaks to the list of the new 7 wonders of the World.

The monument has charmed India for centuries so that the famous Bengali poet Tagore celebrated it as “tear on the face of eternity”, the English poet Kipling as “the incarnation of all purity”, while the emperor Shah Jahan – he that promoted the building of the monument – he affirmed that the Taj Mahal was able to make the sun, the moon and the stars move. And all the tourists who come here are moved and admired, and they are over three million each year.

The Taj Mahal was built by order of Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife Mumtaz Mahal who died in childbirth in 1631, giving birth to the fourteenth child. In pain, the sovereign found himself with white hair from day to day and decided to build the great mausoleum, which was completed only in 1653. Shan Jahan will then be put under arrest by his son in a cell in Agra Fort (where then he died), from whose window he could admire the work that would then make him immortal. The sovereign himself will then be buried in the Taj Mahal, next to his son Mumtaz.

At least 20,000 people were involved in the building works of the palace, and if many arrived in Agra from all over India and some parts of Central Asia, European professionals did not lack for the processing of marble inlays and precious stones.

The whole area is 580 x 300 meters large and the main elements that compose it are the gate, the garden, the mosque and the tomb of Emperor Shah Jahan. Then there are the two external portals and the eight octagonal towers. The accesses to the building are positioned according to the four cardinal points and the grave is in line with the large outdoor garden. The garden is one of the parts most appreciated by tourists thanks to the colorful flowers and trees, but especially for the many channels where the water flows that reflects the profile of the Taj Mahal. Learn more about how to explore Agra with Palace on Wheels Voted No. 4 Luxury Train in the World.

But in Agra there is not only the Taj Mahal and next to its gardens there is the Red Fort , a mighty fortress, built in sandstone, dating back to the 16th century and a vast 380,000 square meters. The fort has a semicircular plan and is defended by a wall more than 20 meters high with bastions and loopholes. Highly artistic are the two doors “Lahore” and “Dehli”, especially the latter which is a true masterpiece of white marble. In the citadel, many buildings have been modernized and the authentic ones of the Mughal period are about ten.

Equally unmissable in Agra is the mausoleum of Itmad ud daula with the tomb of Mizra Ghiyas Beg (grandfather of Mumtaz and prime minister of Emperor Jehangir) of great artistic value and built on the order of his daughter Nur Jahan, consort of Emperor Jehangir. Despite not having the majesty of the Taj Mahal, according to many experts it is perhaps even more refined than the latter.

The visit to the mausoleum can be combined with that of Chini-Ka-Rauza, a seventeenth-century tomb on the east bank of the Yamuna River in Agra and the Metah Bagh, the park built by the emperor Babur.

The monsoons are the enemies of tourists, so to visit Agra and its symbolic monument, the ideal period is the one that goes from March to April and then from October to December to avoid the rainy season. The suggestion that we give you is to enjoy the monument at sunset for two main reasons: not only the row of tourists that crowd the site is less, but you can also enjoy the effect of the metamorphosis of light on the monument that is beautiful especially with the full moon.

Embark your journey and check out the fares of Palace on Wheels train before planning your trip.

In this article

Join the Conversation