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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in India

Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal

The Mughal dynasty created a paradise of beautiful gardens and architecture…

By Bhanu Jodha
Cultural Tour Guide in Agra

On this tour we cover two major attractions, Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. You’re dropped right in front of Agra Fort and from the off I’ll explain in detail how the Mughal dynasty created this paradise of beautiful gardens, fountains and architecture.

We go through several gates to a palace called Jahangiri Mahal where inside you can discover all the different architectural influences, not just Islamic, but also Jain and Hindu among others. As you mosey along, I guarantee you’ll be struck by the sheer opulence in which these rulers once lived.

Next, we head to the Octagonal Tower from where you can see all the way to the Taj Mahal. This exquisitely carved tower, like the Taj Mahal, was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, whose son, in a bid for power, imprisoned him in the palace (you know how these royal households are). Even though the palace was the opposite of a traditional prison, that stunning view of the Taj Mahal, which entombed his wife, taunted the emperor, especially during the night when it was romantically lit by the moonlight.

After some reflection and fantastic photo opportunities, we head to the Taj Mahal, stopping at the Mehtab Bagh gardens which enjoy magnificent panoramas of the glorious ivory-white structure. As we get closer, the Taj Mahal’s landscaped gardens will come into full view, lined with abundant trees, fountains, symmetrical paths and canals all created before the days of lawn mowers and water pumps. Then, before you know it, you’ve arrived – right in front of one of the most beautiful buildings ever made.

The first thing you’ll notice is its massive size, around 70 metres in height and completely earthquake proof. The façade has been designed to indulge and impress from every angle with perfectly aligned arches and beautiful stonework decorated with flowers and inscriptions of verses from the Koran. The interior contains more architectural marvels such as the huge marble domed tomb where, amusingly, if you stand in one corner and whisper something, the sound will travel upwards and across the dome to someone standing at the furthest corner.

You’re allocated three hours to explore and I always encourage guests to spend at least 45 minutes of this roaming at their own pace just to take it all in whether that’s taking a selfie at the Princess Diana Bench or watching all the elaborate Indian wedding photoshoots that will no doubt be taking place.

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Alfred & Bhanu Jodha

Bhanu has been a cultural guide for seven years. He grew up in Jaipur living in the rural areas of Rajasthan and is fluent in many of the languages native to his country. Moreover, Bhanu commands a unique understanding of and passion for the culture, heritage and flora of Rajasthan.