If you reach India, you should definitely visit Agra because it’s a place full of history and iconic historical buildings. It’s a tourist destination that I didn’t plan to visit now but some circumstances brought me here sooner so I decided to enjoy as much as possible my visit.
In order to have a better traveling experience, I decided to do Couchsurfing, I love this way to travel and I recommend it for Agra too. It’s not only about cheap traveling but staying with locals is a big opportunity to understand more some behaviors and to know what you should do or shouldn’t do in different contexts. My host was an example of kindness with a lot of knowledge about India and a very good English. I received a lot of recommendations about what I shouldn’t miss exploring from India and a lot of stories of wonderful people that are doing good things in rural communities. It’s my second time doing Couchsurfing alone in India and I had great experiences both times.
2. Have a morning walk in Sikandra and visit the Tomb of Akbar
I went there advised by my host because it will be interesting to notice how much this building influenced the construction of the Taj Mahal. It is an important architectural masterpiece of the Mughal era, located in Sikandra, a suburb of Agra. Although the tomb is the place where one of the greatest emperors of India is buried, the Mughal gardens around it present a beautiful and cheerful facade. In the morning, you can see their lots of dears, birds, and monkeys. It’s very peaceful and not so crowded, you could enjoy nature too. The ticket’s price is 310 rupees for foreigners and for locals it’s free in the morning in order to encourage people to walk.
3. Visit a Sikh Temple
I got curious to visit a Sikh Temple before coming to Agra but I took the chance to do it here. From outside the temple is like a palace but going inside everything is simple, in order and very peaceful. What is good to know if you want the experience or if you don’t have any other options, these Gurudwara or Sikh Temples are offering accommodation and food in need. You could volunteer in the kitchen to help but they offer this help to everybody. I felt in peace there and I would want to experience staying a few days in a temple-like this in the future.
4. Have a photoshoot at Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal is the most visited place in India, almost 7 mil tourists visited last year. I was thinking that I won’t be so impressed after seeing so many photos with people going there but…I was mesmerized by its beauty. So I took as many photos as I could and I enjoyed the walk in the beautiful garden even if it was quite crowded. I’ve read more about the story behind building this majestic monument and I was fascinated by the love of Shah Jahan to his wife. It was a beautiful afternoon full of smiles.
5. Have a tour of Agra Fort
Agra Fort was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638 when the capital was shifted from Agra to Delhi. The fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site being built on an area of 380000 square meters. Agra Fort’s structure is formed by bricks and red sandstone was brought all the way from Rajasthan and that was laid on the external surfaces. This appearance of the fort underwent a major change during the reign of Shah Jahan, who was smitten by the beauty of white marble. He destroyed many structures within the fort, only to rebuild them using white marble. It is said that Shah Jahan used to view the Taj Mahal from a tower of Agra Fort built by himself after he was imprisoned by his son.
I totally recommend to visit Agra and to explore more places than me because you won’t regret it.