Agra beyond the Taj Mahal!
Agra is probably one of India’s (and the world’s) most visited cities and yet remains one of the least explored ones. Although it has a long history going back more than a thousand years, Agra is best known for the Mughal period–and for good reason! This was the time when Indian culture thrived in new ways and made phenomenal strides, and Agra happened to be a prominent centre of all this. And for this reason, this is not a city that you simply look at passively, appreciate, and move on from. In our opinion, the best way to experience it is through active immersion. Don’t just enjoy the sights, let the city work its magic and teach you something new.
Here are some beautiful lessons that we take back from the city:
It takes a whole city to build a wonder
Let’s begin by addressing the elephant in the room. The Taj Mahal is the biggest reason that people choose to visit Agra for. What does one of the seven wonders of the world look like? And well, we’ll only tell you the Taj is as wonderful as they say and more! It is something that you’ll have to experience to believe. And before you recover from its sheer exquisiteness, make an effort to pay attention to details.
The monument showcases an incredible amount of skill in everything from its design to decoration. Several designers, artisans and workers from all over the country and the world came together to make it possible. The best part is, some of these creative styles have been preserved and continued by families of artisans and you can actually see them create these in the city.
Monuments aren’t the only architecture
While Agra has some of the most beautiful monuments in the world that shouldn’t be missed, we find that the city outside is also pretty darn fun! Walking around in the old town through the colourful lanes is a great way to do some exploring on your own. You are likely to stumble upon rustic and yet quaint looking doorways, walls and some amazing views if you are able to find a way to get to a rooftop!
Mughlai food nourishes the soul
The Mughals turned food and the act of eating into an art. Thanks to the emperors being major foodies with Persian connections, some of the best dishes of all time came through the kitchens in Agra. Think about it, the parties would have been awesome, with the mouthwatering Mughlai kebabs and curries, and entertainment in the form of poetry and music. And when the food is so heavenly, wouldn’t it inspire some of the best poetry ever? Enough said, you can’t not try some authentic Mughlai food in Agra.
Machines are overrated
A look at a city’s economic activities is usually not a part of tourist itineraries. But, an engagement with Agra’s handicrafts industries is an amazing way to see the actual production of artwork. While the finished products are always nice to look at, the process of their creation itself is often very fascinating. Some of the crafts, like the iconic pietra dura, have been perfected by generations of artisan families who create beauty in small industries behind their shops. Watching them work with their skillful hands is a surreal experience altogether! Like any living entity, Agra is a complex city that has several different sides to it. Explore it for its rich history, intriguing stories, and the inspiring people who create the city every day.