City of Glass: Firozabad

If you’re planning a trip to see the Taj Mahal, you should definitely make a stop at Firozabad. Firozabad is a city near Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal. Known widely as the City of Glass, Firozabad has a huge glass industry, and is famous for its glass bangles.

How to reach

Firozabad has no airport, so you can take a train from Agra. You can also hire a car, though that will take longer and be significantly more expensive.

History

Glass was not a substance indigenously found in India. The local people were introduced to glass articles by visiting travelers, and merchants. Unfortunately, the locals found these glass articles to be useless, and so they were collected and melted down in a furnace. The glass was then used to make bangles, which led to the rise of one of the greatest trades in the region, one that is still thriving today.

Things to see

Like most places in Northern India, Firozabad has an extensive and dynamic history, due to all the different dynasties who left their mark on the city. You will find a number of extraordinary architectural structures ranging back to more than five centuries. There are also several religious places of worship relevant to Hinduism, Islam and Jainism.

The main attraction, however, is definitely the bangle markets. There are a number of markets around Firozabad. These markets vary in size. Also, you should note that though the name is ‘bangle market’, there are also other glass items available. The variety of items has also increased in recent years. You can now find bottles, lamps, glasses, etc.

Aside from the beauty of the glasswork, one of the unique factors of this market is that you can actually observe the furnaces as the glass bangles and objects are molded. The process is largely manual and requires a lot of skill and practice. It is described as being mesmerizing to watch.

Shopping

If you intend to shop a lot, make sure to go to a bigger bangle market for more variety in the products. However, if your main goal is to observe or take pictures, a smaller market is the better choice. Smaller markets are relatively less crowded and it is easier to take professionally angled shots. You can ask your guide about the nearest market.

Best time to visit

Firozabad is in the state of Uttar Pradesh, which is known for its oppressive heat. The best time to visit would be in the autumn and winter months of November to February, when the weather is much cooler.

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