Indeed Taj Mahal IS and will ALWAYS remain the identity of Agra, Uttar Pradesh & our nation, because it is one of the wonders of the Earth but there is an AGRA BEYOND TAJ that really needs to be explored. Before I begin to share with you my experience on this, I would like to Thank to Tourism Guild of Agra for this wonderful opportunity to explore Agra Beyond Taj and having me for the Travel writers and bloggers conclave 2020.
I have been to Agra so many times and there is a lot to see in Agra. A few years back I published a guide to Agra Fort & Taj Mahal and photos from my trip, as Taj Mahal and Agra Fort are the main tourist places.
Just to give you a brief, Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan the Mughal emperor, in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal in 1932. It took 22 years and over 4000 artisans to complete this beautiful mausoleum which is now one of the wonders of the world. People often visit Agra for a day, just to see the Taj and the fort. But there is a lot to see in Agra apart from Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort.
I visited to Agra earlier this month (if you follow me on Instagram & Facebook) you must have seen the updates. In this trip, I got a chance to explore Agra beyond Taj. There are a lot of options for me to go for, from Colonial walk in Agra to old city walk, royal Mughal gardens of Agra, city bazaars, nature walk, exploring wildlife and more. But I decided to go for Taj Ganj walk.
The main reason why I opted for Taj Ganj walk was I wanted to start exploring Agra beyond The Taj from the very boundaries of Taj Mahal. Taj Ganj in Agra is the area surrounding the Taj Mahal. It encircles the area around Taj Mahal. This area was once the residence of over 4000 artisans who worked for the construction of Taj Mahal.
We started our walk from the backside of the Taj Mahal where we got a chance to understand the idea behind the architecture of the Taj Mahal. We surprised to know the facts about how things like fountains, irrigation, water supply etc used to function because there were no advance machinery available in that era. The most surprising part was that the design of Taj Mahal and its surroundings is not just for the sake of design and making it look beautiful, but there are a lot of scientific facts attached to it.
Apart from this, there are also tombs of Shah Jahan’s other wives as well which is lesser known to the people who visit the Taj. The stories of Jins and ghosts kept our excitements levels at the top. The highlight of the walk was the performance of local Qawwals at the Kali Masjid which is right behind the Taj Mahal.
Walking through the narrow alleys of this area, looking at the small houses and old shops is something that makes the walk even more interesting. Oh and how I can not mention about the ‘Kabootarbazi’. It’s a game that locals used to play many years back. It is still played by some of the residents there in Taj Ganj!
I also visited the famous Taj Mahotsav. It’s an annual mela that happens in Agra. From shopping to local artists, performers, food stalls and fun rides, Taj Mahotsav is a good place to stroll around with friends and family.
And yes, if you want really good shots of Taj Mahal, then go to the Taj Khema. Here’s the view!
I highly recommend you to explore more places in Agra other than the fort and the Taj.
Up next, Agra Beyond Taj vlog! Make sure you have subscribed to my channel – Anamika Mishra offcial channel