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Agra

ABOUT AGRA:

Agra is situated in the western part of Uttar Pradesh on the banks of the Yamuna River in North India. With references to Agra as Agravana, a forest in the epic Mahabharata, it is believed that Ptolemy, an Egyptian mathematician of Greek origin, gave the city its modern name. In the early half of the 16th century, Sultan Sikandar of the Lodi dynasty founded this city and it became the capital of the Delhi sultanate. After the defeat of the Lodi dynasty, Agra became the capital for the Mughal dynasty for two centuries.

Agra is one of the top tourist destinations in the country due to the magnificent Mughal architectural wonders in and around the city, especially the iconic Taj Mahal. It is also famous for the bustling local shopping markets selling handicrafts, leather items and shoes among others.

This city is also home to several temples such as the historical Mankmeshwar Temple and the marvellous Mangleshwar Temple, among several others. The delectable cuisine ranging from traditional Mughlai dishes to appealing street food plays a quintessential part in Agra tourism.

BEST TIME TO VISIT AGRA:

Summers in Agra begin from April and end in July. As the summer months are extremely hot in the city, there are fewer crowds. However, it is a good time to find cheap hotels in the city.

Usually mid-July marks the onset of the monsoon season, which ends in the month of September. During this time, the temperature starts to reduce gradually but is humid throughout due to heavy rainfall. The colourful Kailash Fair is celebrated during the monsoon season in the months of August and September. This fair is dedicated to Lord Shiva and thousands of devotees come to honour the stone lingam. Another festival held during the month of September or October is the Ram Barat that celebrates the marriage of Lord Ram with a different location in Agra every year.

The months of October and November mark the autumn season and the temperature is pleasant with cool breezes blowing. During this time, the Bateshwar Mela is celebrated in the town of Bateshwar that is about 70 km away from the city. This festival is one of the largest cattle fairs in the country selling a large number of livestock, traditional utensils and handicrafts, among others.

Mid-November to January marks the winter season in Agra and it is an ideal time to visit the city. While it is extremely cold at night, the mornings are sunny and great for sightseeing and shopping.

The spring season in Agra begins from the month of February to March. It is also a perfect time to visit for a fine vacation. The famous Taj Mahotsav is celebrated annually during the month of February. This 10-day festival is celebrated with great zest as one can see a procession of caparisoned elephants and camels as well as artisans from various parts of the country and several performances by classical artists.

HOW TO REACH AGRA:

By Air: Agra has one domestic airport, Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Airport (AGR), which is also known as the Kheria Airport. It is located about 6.1 km from the city centre in Agra. The main airline flying to this airport is Air India. There are connecting flights to Agra from New Delhi, Lucknow, Jaipur and all major parts of the country.

By Rail: The Agra Cantonment Railway Station (AGC) is the main railway station in the city containing 6 platforms and it connects to New Delhi, Lucknow, Pune, Mathura, Vrindavan, Varanasi, Haridwar, Shirdi, Tirupati, Vaishno Devi, Mumbai, Chennai and Gwalior among others. The Gatimaan Express is the first semi-high speed train in the country that runs from the Nizammuddin Railway Station in New Delhi to this railway station in 100 minutes. The other railway stations in Agra are the Agra Fort Railway Station, Raja Ki Mandi Station, Idgah Railway Station and Yamuna Bridge Railway Station among others.

By Bus: Agra is well-connected by bus to the neighboring cities in Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi, Gwalior and Jaipur among others. There are AC, non-AC, sleeper, Volvo and Mercedes Benz buses in the city. The Idgah Bus Station and the Inter State Bus Terminal (ISBT) are the major bus terminals in the city.
By Car: As Agra is located in the Golden Triangle circuit covering Delhi, Jaipur and Agra, it is very convenient to travel to the city by road.  The Yamuna Expressway is connected from Greater Noida to Agra, and the National Highway 11 is connected from Jaipur to Agra.