Destinations Magazine

Around Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India

By Sonyaandtravis @sonyaandtravis

Agra was the formal capital of the Mughal empire, due to its significance many historic sites exist around Agra.

After visiting the Taj we decided to explore some of the popular historic sites, as all the sites were in different directions we arranged for a rickshaw. After some negotiations we settled for around 200 rupees with the condition we had to visit some shops after. It sounded like a good deal at the time.

The drivers split us into two rickshaws which halved the work, and double their return on commissions, though it did allow us to take some nice photos of the journey as well.

Sonya and the rickshaw tour guide
Travis laid back and talking to the rickshaw driver
Sonya blending in on the Indian roads

  1. Taj Mahal
  2. Agra Fort
  3. Itmad-ud-Daula Tomb
  4. Mehtab Bagh

Agra Fort

A beautiful red sandstone fort conquered and modified by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, a marble balcony provided clear views to the Taj Mahal. What I found really interesting was the story of the peacock throne, the name of a throne created by  Mughal Badshah Shah Jahan previously standing in the the Diwan-i-Am  or public audience hall located inside Agra Fort. We had seen a similarly named Peacock Thrown in Iran, known as the Naderi Throne, now located in the National Treasure of the Central Bank of Iran, Tehran.

The Lahore Gate the main tourist entrance to the Agra Fort
Watch tower on the Agra Forts internal walls
Small internal gate to the Court of Amar Singh Gate

Map of Agra Fort
One of the entrance gates to Diwan i Am Square
The carved red sandstone of the Jahangir Mahal

Sonya at the Agra Fort with carved red sandstone in the background
Internal carved red sandstone reliefs of the Jahangir Mahal
Now defunct water feature inside the Jahangir Mahal

The halls of the Jahangir Mahal or palace for women belonging to the royal household
The Taj Mahal viewed from Agra Fort
Travis fitting in as a local, camera and Lonely Planet in hand

Court between the Jahangir Mahal and Yamuna River
Diwan I Am (Hall of Public Audience)
One of the many arches in the Diwan I Am (Hall of Public Audience)

Semi precious stones inlaid in the white marble of the Diwan I Am
Unused water feature inside the Diwan I Am (Hall of Public Audience)
The white marble patterned floors of the Diwan I Am

Sonya in the column courtyard of the Diwan I Am
View of Musamman Burj from northwest, with the Yamuna river and the Taj Mahal
The black throne of Jehangir

Arches of the Diwan-i-Khaas
Monkey on the roof of the Agra Fort walls
Agra Fort wall viewed from the south

Itmad-ud-Daula’s Tomb (Baby Taj)

One of the popular attractions all the rickshaw drivers advertise they can take you to, I didn’t have very high expectations, thinking why would I want to see the Taj on a less grand scale. It turned out the lack of other tourists was quite pleasant.

What was a sight, around sunset a troop of monkeys migrated across the garden grounds, as usual we couldn’t resist taking many photos.

The Tomb of Etimad Ud Doulah 1628
The Baby Taj
Jali screens of intricately carved white marble

White marble with set coloured stones at the Baby Taj
Tourist Travis outside the walls of the Baby Taj
Cupola of the Baby Taj minaret

Detail of one of the exterior walls of the Baby Taj
Sonya with the intricate internal white marble walls encrusted with semi-precious stone decoration
Sonya with the intricate internal white marble walls encrusted with semi-precious stone decoration

Itmad-ud-Daula's Tomb inside the Baby Taj
Floral paintings inside the Baby Taj
One of the four red stone gates

One of the four red stone gates on all sides of the Mini Taj
The Baby Taj or Mini Taj
The Baby Taj or Mini Taj

Sonya and Travis at the Baby Taj
Baby monkey with mother
Monkey sitting on scaffolding

Monkey looking busy on some scaffolding
At sunset a troop of monkeys migrate across the gardens
Monkey looking amused

Mehtab Bagh (Moonlight Garden)

Our final real stop was the Moonlight Garden, located across the Yamuna River directly opposite the Taj Mahal. It provided nice views of the Taj Mahal from behind, not normally seen.

Two local Indian girls carrying bags of grass clippings on their heads
View of the Taj Mahal seen from the Mehtab Bagh gardens
Sonya and Travis with the Taj Mahal in the background

This concluded our tour, so now was time to meet our side of the bargain and visit some stores, every store we visited the drivers got 50 rupees each. After the second store the ‘just looking’ got quite tiresome, we had a very hard time trying to shake a seller of ‘star stone’ a black star sapphire apparently commonly found in Agra.

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