Agra, the mughal capital in the 16th and early 17th century, is full of architectural splendour of forts, mausoleums, and palaces. It is famous as being home to the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Though its political significance ended in 1634 with the transfer of the capital to Delhi by Shah Jahan, its architectural wealth has made it an international tourist spot. The Mughals with their passion for buildings constructed some of the finest specimen of Mughal architecture in the city. The city is known for its superb inlay work on marble by craftsmen supposedly with a lineage dating back to the Mughals. Agra’s handicrafts also include carpets, gold thread embroidery and leather shoes. Agra to have got its name from Agrabana, a forest mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. It came into prominence in 1501 when Sikandar Lodhi made it the capital city of his empire. It was during the time of Akbar, the great Mughal ruler that Agra came into its own. He commissioned the construction of the massive Agra Fort in 1565. Though Akbar built a new capital at Fatehpur Sikri not far away, much of the Agra's impressive past lingered on and is evident even today in the majesty of the buildings, the haunting presence inside the monuments, the exquisite arts handicraft and not to forget, the lure of exceptional cuisine… all, cherishing priceless legacies of a nostalgic past. The city has impressively retained much of its splendid history… captivating every tourist with fond memories to take back home. Today, modern convenience coexist adjacent to tradition - luxury hotels, shopping malls and plazas, wide avenues and thrilling venues for recreation, sports, business, pleasure, education and the arts.
- Places of Interest
TAJ MAHAL – The Taj Mahal, the epitome of love, stands on the banks of the river Yamuna. Built in the 17th century by the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan, the Taj attracts millions of tourists from all over the world. To experience the beauty of this architectural marvel, it needs to be viewed at different times of the day and year. The white marble building changes its hue with the variations in the daylight. In moonlight, particularly on the full moon night, the marble appears extraordinarily luminescent. Made entirely of white marble and decorated with exquisite pietra dura (stone inlay) work, different types of precious and semi-precious stones were used in the intricate inlay work done on the interiors. This magnificent monument is built around a Charbagh or ’four garden’ plan, split by watercourses— reflects the influence of Persian architectural style. On a tripto Taj, it is always better to sit around in the garden and admire the scenic beauty rather than rushing through to see the monument. Immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere to make your visit even memorable.
AGRA FORT - The city built by Emperor Akbar and beautified with palaces and gardens by Jehangir is dominated by Agra Fort. The crescent-shaped fort is enclosed by its 20-metre high, 2.4 km long outer walls. The fort contains a maze of buildings forming a small city within a city. One enters the fort through the Amar Singh Gate, into the southern part of the fort which includes nearly all the buildings of tourist interest. Jehangir’s palace commissioned by Akbar was the largest private residence in the fort.The Diwan-i-Aam (hall of public audience) and Diwan-i-Khas (hall of private audience) were built by Shahjahan for receiving audiences. Musamman Burj, an octagonal tower, stands close to Diwan-i-Khas. It was here that Shahjahan was imprisoned for his last after seven years by Aurangzeb. Other tourist attractions within the fort include the Sheesh Mahal (the mirror palace), Khas Mahal, and the Anguri Bagh (the Grape Garden).
ITMAD-UD-DAULAH – To the north of Agra fort, on the opposite bank of the Yamuna, is the tomb of Mirza Ghiyas Beg, Jehingir’s wazir, also known as Itmad-ud-daulah. The tomb is also referred to as the ’baby Taj’, as it was the very first Mughal structure to be totally built from marble and make extensive use of pietra dura.
SIKANDRA – The sandstone and marble tomb of Akbar lies in the centre of a serene garden at Sikandara, 4 km north-west of Agra. The mausoleum blends Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Christian motifs and styles to represents Akbar’s philosophy and secular outlook.
RAMBAGH – Ram Bagh, one of the earliest Mughal Gardens, laid out by the fisrt mughal emperor Babar lies 3 kilometers upstream from Itmad-ud-daulah. It is held that Babar was initially buried here before being permanently interred at his homeland in Kabul, Afghanistan.
DAYAL BAGH – Dayal Bagh, the headquarters of Radhaswami sect, has a beautiful white marble temple coming up. On a trip to the temple, having been under construction for almost 100 years now, one can witness the pietra dura marble inlay work in process.
Air : Agra is easily accessible from all the parts of India by air.
Rail : One can easily reach Agra by rail routes.
Road : Agra has well connected road networks, which are linked to all the major destinations of Uttar Pradesh and nearby state.