Taj Mahal Detour: Fatehpur Sikri

One of the most serene and impactful places to visit in India is Fatehpur Sikri, a completely abandoned town reminiscent of a South Asian version of Pompeii, sans volcano.

Located about 45 minutes from the Taj Mahal, this breath-taking complex was founded in 1569 and was only inhabited from 1571 to 1585 as the capital of the Mughal Empire, before being abandoned for the lack of access to water and its proximity to regions in political unrest.

Fatehpur Sikri can easily be explored by foot. Void of the hoards of foreign tourists and stalker beggars in Agra, it's an incredibly rewarding experience spending a few hours dilligently exploring the Mughal-era palaces and ruined homes on the way back from the Taj Mahal.