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Home » Uttar Pradesh » Agra  

Agra

Taj Mahal Agra Travel VacationsAgra is globally renown as the city of the Taj Mahal But this royal Mughal city has, in addition to the legendary Taj, many monuments that emphasis the high point of Mughal architecture. Once the capital of India under the Mughals, Agra is full of magnificent monuments dating back to the 16th and 17th century. It was here that the founder of the dynasty, Babar, laid out the first formal Persian garden on the banks of the river Yamuna.

Here, Akbar, his grandson raised the towering ramparts of the great Red Fort. Within its walls, Jehangir built rose-red palaces, courts and gardens, and Shahjahan embellished it with marble mosques, palaces and pavilions of gem-inlaid white marble.

The crowning glory of the city is obviously the Taj, a monument of love and imagination, that represents India to the world.

There are very few cities in the world that can match the history and heritage of Agra. Located at a distance of 204 km south of Delhi, Agra is the single most famous tourist destination of India. Situated on the west bank of River Yamuna, Agra is a part of the great Northern Indian plains.

The architectural splendor of the city is reflected in the glorious monuments of medieval India built by great Mughals who ruled India for more than 300 years. In the mid 16th century and earlier 17th century Agra witnessed a frenzied building activity and it was during this time when the symbol of love Taj Mahal was built. The buildings made during this era were purely in the contemporary Mughal style and of very high quality which is still reflected in what ever monuments remain in Agra.

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Prime Attractions of Agra

» Taj Mahal
A poignant poetry in marble, stands serene and awesome on a raised marble platform, by the banks of the Yamuna. The most extravagant monument ever built for lover is a tribute to the timelessness of art and love. It is a mesmerizing experience to watch the play of light on the pristine white marble of the Taj. Its pure white marble shimmers silver in the soft moonlight, exudes a shell - pink glow at dawn, and at the close of the day, takes on the tawny, fiery hue of the majestic sun. Built by Shahjahan in the memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, the lady of the Taj, who died giving birth to their 14th child, it's construction started in 1631 and ended by 1653. About 20,000 people were recruited to give shape to this poetry in marble.

The main architect, Isa Khan, came all the way from Shiraz in Iran. Shahjahan's intention to build a second taj of Black marble as his own tomb a negative image of the white Taj, was shattered when he was imprisoned in the Agra Fort by his son Aurangazeb. Shahjahan's is said to have spent his last days on earth looking wistfully at his wife's final resting place across the river. The Taj serve as a symbol of eternal love where the heart-broken Shahjahan was finally burried and reunited with his beloved Mumtaz.

Wonder of the World
To people the world over, the Taj Mahal, mausoleum of Mughal Emperor shah Jana's chief wife, Mumtaz Mahal, is synonymous with India. Its curving, gently swelling dome and the square base upon which its rests so lightly is a familiar image from hundreds of brochures and travel books. The Taj is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular buildings of the world. Renowned for its architectural magnificence and aesthetic beauty, it counts among man's proudest creations and is invariably included in the list of the world's foremost wonders. As a tomb, it has no match upon earth, for mortal remains have never been housed in greater grandeur.

» Agra Fort
Built by three of the greatest Mughal Emperors is the Agra Fort. The construction of this massive structure began in 1565, under Akbar, and continued till the time of his grandson, Shahjahan, when it changed from a principally military structure to a more luxurious palace. Armed with massive double walls, punctuated by four gateways, the fort houses palaces, courts, mosques, baths, gardens and gracious pavilions within its premises. Among the fascinating structures that are to be found within the fort is the red sandstone Jehangiri Mahal built by Akbar for his Hindu queen, Jodhabai. The palace is also notable for its smooth blending of Hindu and central Asian architectural styles. The Diwan - i - Am, the Diwan - i - Khas, the Khas Mahal, the Palace of Mirrors, the Pearl mosque, the Nagina Masjid, the Garden of Grapes, and the Fish Pavilion are the other monuments in the fort complex.
Agra Fort Agra Tours & Travels India
The Itmad-ud-daulah tomb stands in the centre of a grand Persian garden, an architectural gem of its times. It is the tomb of Mirza Ghiyas Beg, Emperor Jehangir's wazir, or Chief Minister, and also his father - in- law. The structure was built by Empress Noorjehan, between 1622 and 1628 and is very similar to the tomb she constructed for her husband, near Lahore in Pakistan. This splendid garden tomb is believed to be the precursor of the magnificent Taj Mahal, and was the first Mughal structure to be built entirely of marble, and the first, again, to make use of pietra dura, the inlay marble work that came to be typical of the Taj. Near the Agra Fort, is Jami Masjid, built by Shahjahan in 1648. An inscription over its main entrance indicates that it was built in the name of Jahanara, the emperor's daughter, who was imprisoned with the emperor by Aurangzeb.

» Fatehpur Sikri
40 km west of Agra, is the perfectly preserved 'phantom city' of Fatehpur Sikri. Between 1570 and 1586, during Akbar's reign, the city served as the capital of the Mughal empire, and was then abruptly abandoned probably due to lack of water supply. Today, albeit deserted, the city's palaces, courts and other monuments stand in mute testimony to the greatness, and amazing vision of the greatest emperor of all times, who was also a fine human being. The dargah or tomb of Sheikh Salim Chisti, the renowned saint, set in the courtyard of the Royal Mosque, still draws hordes of pilgrims who come to have their wishes fulfilled. Legend has is that the city was built by Akbar as a tribute to Sheikh Salim Chisti who foretold that he would have three sons.

» Sikandra Fort
Welcome to Sikandra, a supurb of Agra, only 13 km. from the Agra Fort, the last resting place of the Mughal emperor Akbar. Akbar was the greatest of the Mughal emperors and one of the most secular minded royalties of his time. He was the heir to a long tradition of oriental refinement, a great patron of the arts, literature, philosophy and science.

A visit to Akbar's monument opens before one, the completeness of Akbar's personality as completely as the Taj Mahal does of Mumtaz Mahal's. Akbar's vast, beautifully carved, red-ochre sandstone tomb is set amidst a lush garden. Akbar himself planned his own tomb and selected a suitable site for it. To construct a tomb in one's lifetime was a Tartary custom which the Mughals followed religiously. Akbar's son Jahangir completed the construction of this pyramidal tomb in 1613.

» Khaas Mahal
Situated in between the golden pavilions is the Khaas Mahal. Built entirely of marble by Shah Jahan, the palace demonstrates distinctive Islamic-Persian features. These are well blended with a striking range of Hindu features such as chhatries. It is considered to be emperor's sleeping room or' Aramgah', The Khaas Mahal provides the most successful example of painting on a white marble surface.

» Diwan-E-Khaas
To the right of Sheesh Mahal is Diwan-e-Khaas, the Hall of Private Audience. Presently entry is not allowed inside Diwan-e-Khaas but the fine proportions of the building can easily be appreciated. The marble pillars are inlaid with semi-precious stones in delightful floral patterns.

Places to Stay in Agra

Agra is one of the major tourist destination, where international tourist inflow is also quite good. So the options of luxurious accommodations are plenty. If you are a budget travelers, there are numerous tourist lodges as well mid-range hotels in Agra.

Shopping in Agra
Agra Shopping Agra Vacations
Agra is also famous for the leather items. Agra is the hub of hand made leather items. Particularly the Agra jail inmates are make these items which are sold to give them a decent earning. The local artisans are also good at making leather chappals (sandals), purses, bags, decorative items and many more such leather product which instantaneously attracts your attention.

In the handicraft craft emporiums and shops there are sandal and rose wood items even though there are no rose or sandal wood forest nearby. The shops also have brass decorative pieces and stone carved images. Agra is also famous for the Zari and embroidery work, Stone inlay work and durries.

How to get there

» Air
Agra is one of the hottest tourist destinations in India and all facilities have been provided for the easy access to this place. It has its own airport which connects Agra with all the major places in India. The Agra airport or the Kheria airport has all the major domestic airlines having their services to this place of the Taj.

» Rail
Agra is a major railway station with almost all the trains to south India, Mumbai and many trains to Calcutta stopping here. Agra city is visited by the "Palace on Wheels" .The Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains have also their stoppage in Agra. The city is well connected by trains to almost every corner of the nation.

» Road
Agra has the National Highway Numbers 2, 3, 11 passing through it. So the premier tourist destination of India, Agra is also well linked by bus services to other places in the State as well as outside the state.

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