A Traveler’s Guide to Visiting Agra

agra visiting guide

Agra is one of India’s most-visited cities. Once the capital of the Mughal Empire, it is home to many impressive buildings from that era, including the iconic Taj Mahal.

Located in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Agra forms part of the Golden Triangle—a well-traveled tourist circuit—along with Jaipur and the national capital, New Delhi.

Discover why the city is such a popular destination, the best time of year to visit, and how to get there with this guide to visiting Agra.

What Is Agra Famous For?

Agra is most famous for its historic and impressive architecture, most of which comes from the Mughal era.

The Mughal Empire (1526–1857) once spanned the entire Indian subcontinent (present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) and parts of Afghanistan. Agra served as its capital for most of its existence.

The Mughals left behind immense and intricate works of architecture, many of which have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The most impressive buildings include elaborate tombs, forts, and mosques.

Some of the most famous and impressive landmarks in Agra include the following:

  • The Taj Mahal
  • Agra Fort
  • Fatehpur Sikri
  • Tomb of Akbar the Great
  • Jama Masjid
  • Tomb of Etmaduddaula / I’timād-ud-Daulah
  • Tomb of Mariam-uz-Zamani
  • Mehtab Bagh gardens

Most of these monuments, including the Taj Mahal, were built as tombs by the Mughal Emperors either for themselves or for their loved ones. They are so impressive that they still stand today and are well worth visiting.

Fatehpur Sikri, the Agra Fort, and the Taj Mahal are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

How to Get to Agra

For international visitors, the closest international airport to Agra is the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi (DEL). Agra is located about 206 kilometers (128 mi) south of Delhi and can be reached by train or by road.

India’s Golden Triangle circuit is popular among travelers and many tour companies offer packages to take visitors between the cities of Agra, Delhi, and Jaipur.

Others may prefer to make their own travel arrangements, either booking trains or by hiring a private car with a driver. The latter option costs more but gives the visitor greater flexibility and comfort while traveling.

Trains generally take 2–3 hours between Delhi and Agra, while driving can take 3–4 hours.

What Visa Do You Need to Visit Agra?

In order to visit Agra, international travelers must first have the correct documentation to enter India.

For a select few nationalities (citizens of the Maldives, Bhutan, and Nepal), the only documentation required is a valid passport, as nationals of these countries enjoy visa-exempt travel to India.

The majority of travelers will have to apply for a visa.

Citizens of most countries have the option of applying for an India eVisa. The eVisa, or electronic visa, is digitally linked to the visitor’s passport.

There is an online application form for the India eVisa, which is quick and straightforward to complete. The digitalization of the traveler’s information means that both the application process and border checks upon arrival are simplified compared to traditional consular visas.

A minority of nationalities must apply for a consular visa in person at an Indian embassy.

Check the requirements for the electronic Visa to see if you are eligible to apply.

What Is the Best Time of Year to Visit Agra?

There are pros and cons of visiting Agra at different times of year.

March to May is the low season. This is the ideal time for travelers on a budget who prefer seeing the sights when it is quiet. There are fewer tourists at this time and hotels and flights tend to be more affordable.

However, it is also the start of the hot season. Temperatures in Agra generally range from 20°C at night to highs of 30-40°C during the heat of the day from March through to October, when it begins to get cooler.

Overseas visitors can avoid the heat by taking tours and seeing the sights in the early mornings and evenings.

June to September is monsoon season with an average rainfall of 191 mm (7.5 inches). This is more than normal for Agra’s standards, but as a rule, the city’s climate is very dry and even during these months, the rain is typically manageable for travelers. Again, there are usually fewer tourists and lower prices at this time of year.

November to February is the cool season and the high season for tourism. With an average temperature of 15°C (59°F), exploring Agra is comfortable and pleasant during these months.

On the other hand, attractions like the Taj Mahal are often full of crowds and flights and accommodation tend to cost more.

Learn more about the best time of year to visit India.

Is Agra Safe for Tourists?

Agra is generally a safe city for visitors. The crime rate is moderate, particularly when it comes to violence. Pickpocketing is a problem, however, and travelers are advised to keep their belongings close and be vigilant.

The hawkers around the famous monuments are known for being pushy and even in other parts of the city, people will try and sell things to passers-by. Travelers should be firm in saying “no” unless they wish to buy something. If this is the case, it is advisable to haggle, since touts frequently try to charge more than their goods are worth.

Being overcharged is also common for visitors who take taxis. With services like this, it is recommendable to always agree on a price beforehand.

Traffic can be chaotic in India and Agra is no exception. Visitors should be very careful when driving or renting a motorcycle. Traffic jams can be large and frequent and pollution is relatively high.

As in any city, it is important to stay vigilant and best not to walk anywhere alone, especially for female visitors. That said, Agra has a vibrant nightlife and generally, foreign nationals have a great time without experiencing problems. Check our post about safety and security in India.