The labyrinthine streets of the old city wind sinuously behind the mosque. Except the mosque, there is nothing of great architectural interest to see, as Agra's fame rests on its Agra Fort and its mausoleums (Taj Mahal, Tomb of Akbar,Tomb of It-Mad-ud Daula etc.), which were built in what was the surrounding countryside. But for a tourist on Same Day Taj Mahal Tour or Agra city tour, it is possible to watch craftsmen at work. Shopping for bargains can be most rewarding.
The thoroughfares of Agra are narrow and, except on Mondays when most bazaars close, claustrophobically jammed with people. The people weave nonchalantly between assorted animals which never fail to amaze and amuse western visitors. Pigs snuffle, goats munch cigarette cartons, oxen masticate plastic bags, gibbering monkeys perform tight-rope acts on overheads wires, green parakeets survey the scene from vantage points. The liveliest time is late afternoon/early evening but if any form of festival is being held it will be impossible to move at more than a snail's space. Most streets of greatest interest intercommunicate and shopkeepers will explain how to reach them. Being a society characterized by ethical values and practices, those who prefer to be guided will find many cheerful men willing to assist. This aspect of social values of India can amply be felt in Agra as well. Experience the essence of social lifestyle while on Same Day Taj Mahal Tour or Agra city tour.
Behind the mosque is the cloth market, to the right of this, the main shopping thoroughfare of Old Agra snakes northward, beginning at Johri Bazar. Explore the hand-made carpets known as 'durries' (flat woven rugs) which can be made to specific designs and colours. Traditionally, the patterns are geometric and the yarn used is cotton, but slightly cheaper wool versions are also available. There are many shops which offer reliable post-home service. Walking sticks with carved handles in a variety of designers are sold in fascinating shops. The Kinari Bazar is the market where many jewelers are to be found. Panni Gali, an alleyway, is famous for workshops of exquisite gold-thread embroidery.
Nearby the Jama Masjid of Agra is to the Malka Bazar, renowned for its kite market. While passing through the alleys of the Malka Bazar, find the ladies waving from upper windows, who seem to think they know you.
An interesting crafts area, north-west of the city, Nai Ki Mandi, is where the art of petra-dura inlay is continued by many descendants of those who worked on the Taj Mahal. Trays, table tops and small boxes, all of Makrana marble, are the most popular items produced. It is fascinating to watch the highly-skilled craftsmen painstakingly engaged in setting of the semi-precious stones. As this is a Muslim trade, no work takes place on Fridays which is always a religious holiday. Another traditional craft of Agra in Nai Ki Mandi is shoemaking.
The British build their cantonment to the south of Agra. Similar residential areas were planned on the outskirts of many Indian cities of importance from the early nineteenth century onwards. Like New Delhi, Agra's cantonment is laid out with spacious, leafy avenues, which are too spread-out to tour comfortably on foot. Anglican and Roman Catholic cemeteries are located beside each other in Grand Parade Road, to the south; a colorful Victorian Gothic gate-house forms the entrance. It is a surprise to discover that an envoy of Elizabeth I, John Mildenhall, who died in1614, is buried here.
On Gwalior Road find the Tomb of Firoz Khan, a minor Mughal. His mausoleum, raised on a plinth, is prettily reflected in water, in the manner of the Taj Mahal.
St George's Church, build in 1826 by Colonel J.J. Boileau, is Agra's Anglican Church. It stands at the Gwalior Road/ Taj Road junction.
As Agra has emerged as a globally renowned tourist destination, amazingly galaxy of modern hotels, restaurants and malls have mushroomed all-around. Though all these aspects of Agra can't be seen and experienced on Same Day Taj Mahal Tour but other tours of larger duration, encompassing Agra, make you see and feel the essence of Agra, the city more known for the Taj Mahal.
Agra Tour Packages
Taj Mahal with Ajanta Ellora Tour
Highlights :Delhi - Agra - Fatehpur Sikri - Jaipur - Udaipur - Mumbai - Ajanta- Ellora
Taj Mahal With Jodhpur Tour
Highlights :Delhi - Agra - Fatehpur Sikri- Jaipur- Jodhpur - Delhi
Tajmahal with Haridwar & Rishikesh
Highlights : Taj - Mahal - with - Haridwar - Rishikesh