Located on the banks of Yamuna River, in the North of Uttar Pradesh, Agra is a wonderful place and a popular tourist stopover. General information on Agra reveals that the city was established by Badal Singh in the year 1475. Depicted as “Agrraba”, in the Mahabharata, the city of Agra was once the capital of the Lodhis and the Mughals. In the sixteenth and the seventeenth century, Agra developed as a centre of art, culture, learning and commerce, especially with the help of the Mughal rulers like Akbar, Shah Jahan and Jahangir
The city of Agra with its laid-back style of living, treasured architecture, jewelry and handicrafts, is one of the remarkable cities in the world. Besides many celebration of different festivals, irrespective of caste distinction, takes place with all the zeal and excitement.
Air : The fastest way of reaching Agra is by air. The city of Taj, Agra, has its own airport that is around 7 km from the city center. Indian Airlines operates flights to Agra on a daily basis.
Rail : There is a good network of trains connecting Agra with the rest of the country. Apart from the main railway station of Agra Cantonment, there are other two stations also, that of Raja-ki-Mundi and Agra Fort. The main trains connecting Agra with Delhi are Palace on Wheels, Shatabdi, Rajdhani, and Taj Express.
Road : There are regular bus services from Agra to a number of important cities. The main bus stand of Idgah has a number of buses running for Delhi, Jaipur, Mathura, Fatehpur-Sikri, etc.
Craft House: The exclusive and Government approved Shop was established in 2001. It markets all the beautifully handcrafted creations of the master craftsmen of Rajasthan – the kind that have made a lasting impression in the markets of India. A one - stop shop for both traditional and contemporary crafts of Rajasthan –Textiles and Furnishings, Brass ware, Jewellery, Precious and Semi precious stones, paper –Mache article’s, wooden boxes, Marble ware and Exotic Miniature paintings.
You can take home some of the best wildlife painting’s ,famous tiger t-shirts, safari jackets, silk, woolen and cashmere shawls, wildlife book’s and some othergift items from the widest range of handicrafts under one roof at Honest Prices.
You can choose among the wide array of hand made products and take away the best from the selected artisans. It offers Gudri And Appliqué (different pieces of cloth patched together to make a multi-coloured mosaic) Bed Covers which are marvellously available in Appliqué Bed Sheet , Appliqué Work Bed Sheet Tree of Life Patchwork , Bed Cover with Hand Quilted Patchwork and Gudri Bed Covers With Patch Works On It.
Dastkar Ranthambore: Dastkar Ranthambore is an initiative of Dastkar and Ranthambore Foundation to resettle communities in the Sawai Madhopur area of Rajasthan, who had lost access to wood, water, and farming lands due to the creation of RanthamboreNational Park. The Ranthambore Foundation approached Dastkar in late 1980s to initiate income generation activities particularly among women in the area.
Dastkar, an organization to promote craft based livelihoods, took charge of the income generation programme in the area in 1989. Dastkar Ranthambore today successfully produces and markets various traditional crafts of the region.
Dastkar Ranthambore has been granted Craftmark for the following processes:
1. Block Printing
It offers a wide range of products like Bandhini/tie-dye dupattas with sequins, garments. Home furnishing: patchwork cushions and quilts.
Accessories: block printed bags, bags with sequins work, Terracotta ware, leather products such as juttis and chappals.
Anokhi: Anokhi is synonymous with hand-made, block-printed apparel from Rajasthan. It has revived the ancient craft of hand block printing and sustains rural craft-based livelihoods by helping them to work in conditions of their own choosing and providing them with sustained work and security of income. The Anokhi label is about inspiring the development of contemporary products and designs with a hint of traditional, to attract the discerning consumer. Today Anokhi has retail outlets all across India. It specializes in Block Printing, Hand-embroidery, Tie and Dye, Natural Dyeing, Indigo Dyeing, Kota-Doria Handloom, Tussar Silk, Khadi Fabric, Chanderi Fabric & Handlooms. It offers a Complete range of Indian and western garments. Home Furnishing: Table and bed Linen, Cushion covers, quilts etc. Accessories: Block printed bags, Pouches, Scarves, Handmade jewellery etc.
Ranthambore School of Art: The Ranthambhore School of Art near Sawai Madhopur is well worth a visit. Located a couple of Km from Sawai Madhopur, the Ranthambhore School of Art consists of painters from local villages. The main subjects of their paintings are the majestic tigers of Ranthambhore.
The Ranthambhore School recruits students from the surrounding villages and towns. The aim is to keep the beautiful image of the tiger in the minds of everyone. This they feel in turn would create a positive feeling in people otherwise indifferent, or negative, regarding the importance of the tiger's survival. The school also goes into villages and gives demonstrations and talks. They say the most encouraging factor is the response from young children. These children then obviously go back and influence the minds of those in their respective homes. They are also the future conservationists in the making.
Watercolor Paintings and black and white life size sketches created by the students of the Ranthambore School of Art have an amazing effect.
Pinch of Spice : This modern North Indian superstar at the beginning of Fatahabad Rd is the best spot outside a five-star hotel to indulge yourself in rich curries and succulent tandoori kebabs. The murg boti masala (chicken tikka swimming in a rich and spicy country gravy) and the paneer lababdar (fresh cheese cubes in a spicy red gravy with sauteed onions) are outstanding.
Dasaprakash : Fabulously tasty and religiously clean, Dasaprakash whips up consistently great South Indian vegetarian food, including spectacular thalis (Rs - 125 to Rs - 300), dosa and a few token Continental dishes. The ice-cream desserts (Rs - 70 to Rs - 145) are another speciality. Comfortable booth seating and wood-lattice screens make for intimate dining.
Esphahan : There are only two sittings each evening at Agra's finest restaurant (6.30pm and 9.30pm) so booking a table is essential. Highlights of the small but exquisite menu include succulent North Indian tandoor preparations (anything is good), a lamb raan steeped in chocolate and coffee undertones that packs a wallop of velvety spice, and some memorable unpolished rice topped with decadent Kerala shrimp curry. It's all set to a romantic background soundtrack of a live santoor player. Skip the espresso.
Shankar Ji Restaurant : Those who are bored of the multi cuisine Western-friendly tourist restaurants in Taj Ganj, and are after something a bit more down to earth and authentic, should head round the corner to the dhabas (snack bars) near the auto rickshaw stand. Shankar Ji is as basic as any, but it's all smiles, has an English menu and dishes out the dhabi experience without taking a toll on your gut.
Joney’s Place : This pocket-sized institution whipped up its first creamy lassi in 1978 and continues to please despite cooking its meals in what must be Agra's smallest kitchen. The cheese and tomato ‘jayfelles’ (toasted sandwich), the banana lassi (money-back guarantee!) and the malai kofta all come recommended, but it's more about crack-of-dawn sustenance than gastronomic super-feats.
Yash Cafe : This chilled-out 1st-floor cafe has wicker chairs, sports channels on TV, DVDs shown in the evening and a good range of meals, from good-value set breakfasts to thali (₹70), pizza (₹80 to ₹275) and Indian-style French toast It also offers a shower and storage space (₹50 for both) today visitors.
Only Restaurant : One of Agra’s most upscale restaurants, this is the best place to try Mughlai food in the city. The interiors of the restaurant are very appealing, complete with bright tablecloths and bamboo walls, creating the perfect ambience for a relaxed and delicious meal. The menu of Only Restaurant is divided into Mughlai, Afghani, and Chinese and Continental cuisine. Apart from being the perfect spot to share a meal with your family, Only Restaurant is also a great place for a business lunch or dinner. Live music every evening only adds to the spirited ambience of the restaurant.