Agra is the city where one of the seven wonders, The Taj Mahal is. People find this city attractive and come here to visit the beautiful Taj. When we think of things to do in Agra or best activities in Agra, the first thought on our mind is to visit the Taj Mahal. I have been to Agra 5 times now and what amazes me the most are the things that are additional to the charm of Taj. Agra was the first destination I traveled without family; I was grown up by then. If you have read about me, that was the time I became disobedient. 😛 So, I would love to share my ten best things to do in Agra beyond just visiting the Taj Mahal:
Visit the Watchtower
The watchtower is a few meters away from the Taj and gives a fantastic view of the monument from the eastern side. Since fuel vehicles are not allowed within the 3-4 Km radius of Taj Mahal, you need to take a cycle on rent to reach there. Or maybe you can walk. The tower is in a small village, and you need to climb up there to take the view of the Taj. It’s a beautiful and silent place to spend some quiet time especially during the sunrise and the sunset. Here’s a blog by lonely planet that explains how to get the six best views of the Taj Mahal. Also, I would invite you to check out my picture on Instagram of this lovely Taj moment, viewing Taj from the Watch tower.
Early Morning Cycle Tour
This is one my my favorite things to do in Agra. I remember the name of that guy, John; he is the owner of Agra by Bike. It was ten years back when he started organizing cycle tours for those who love to explore the city, Agra. There are different tours with different itineraries; I took the one that included a tour of the old Agra Bazaar as well. Backpackers who don’t spend money to enter the Taj Mahal due to the high touristy fee, usually, take cycles on rent and explore the city. The backpacker’s tour doesn’t take you into the Taj Mahal, but you will travel to the viewpoints from where you can see the Taj. If you are entirely new to Agra or India and you wish to stay longer in the Taj Mahal city, then I would highly want you to go for the cycle tour. It is an excellent addition to the activities in Agra.
A Boat Ride at the Yamuna River
This might sound weird as the Yamuna river is not clean. But I did it. I was on the cycle tour and when the tour guide asked me whether I would be interested to see the sunrise at Taj? I said “yes.” Then he took me to the back area of the Taj, the northern side where the river is. There was standing a 60-year-old man with a wooden row, all set to take us in the middle of the water. While he was slowly rowing the boat I could see the sunrise at the Taj, it was beautiful. Indeed!
Visit the Shahi Jama Masjid
Shahi Jama Masjid is just opposite the Agra red fort railway station. It’s in the Kinari Bazaar. The Masjid was attacked a few years back for the building of the railway station but it still exists, and still, worshippers come there every week.
Take a Walk at the Mehtab Bagh
In the above point where I mentioned about the boat ride, in the extent to that, if I would have crossed the river, I would have reached Mehtab Bagh. It is a Mughal built garden at the back side, i.e., the north of the Taj Mahal. It’s a delightful place to chill and spend some time close to the Taj.
Try Mughlai at Mama Chicken, Mama Franky House
This is only for non-vegetarians. So, this guy, Mama is very famous for the chicken he cooks, and you can find the restaurant in Sadar Bazaar. Other than this you will also find small street outlets with the name Mama chicken or Mama Franky that serves impressive Mughlai. If you are a non-vegetarian, please don’t miss out Mama Chicken.
Eat at Saniya Palace Restaurant
Saniya Palace is not my recommendation for the food. I am recommending this place because it is a rooftop restaurant located at the South gate of Taj and gives the best view of the Taj Mahal. You can come here early in the morning and spend some lovely time staring at the beautiful Taj. Guests usually prefer coming in the morning, so the restaurant opens at 6 AM.
Eat at Tease Me
It’s a cheesy name, but I love this place. I spend my most of the time eating here because this is the best cafe I could find in Agra. By the way, an outlet of Mama Chicken is just opposite to it. I love Italian and continental, so this is entirely my place in Tajganj. It is a rooftop cafe and a great place to go on for dinner.
Go for Taj Nature Walk
There is a neat park right next to the Taj Mahal. Nature lovers and peace lovers usually go there to experience the environment around the Taj. This place is the real gem and just opposite of the crowded and noisy Taj Mahal. You will find many peacocks here and other birds and many chipmunks. In case you love bird photography, this is your place.
Shop at Kinari Bazaar
Kinaari Bazaar is the most happening market in Agra. You can shop a lot of traditional things from clothing, shoes, jewelry, spices, fabrics for everything else you need. Kinari Bazar is also an excellent spot for some authentic food. There is a famous shop called ‘Chimmanlal Puri Wale.’ I tried Malai Lassi there.
So, that’s my best things to do in Agra. I am a budget traveler, and I always travel on a tiny budget with a huge passion for traveling. My top ten ways to cut expenses and save money for travel has helped a lot of travelers. If you wish to share your budget travel story, you can get in touch with me and share your experiences.