The city of Agra is world famous for the Taj Mahal and millions of tourists from all over the world come here every year to see the different moods of this magnificent edifice. As Agra was the seat of the great Mughal rulers for many years, it also has a number of historical monuments in and around the city, dating back to the 16th and 17th century. Emperor Akbar built Fatehpur Sikri, the beautiful city of red sandstone, near Agra. Agra is also known for its handicraft products.
Agra has a rich historical background, which is amply evident from the numerous historical monuments in and around the city. Though the heritage of Agra city is linked with the Mughal dynasty, numerous other rulers also contributed to the rich past of this city. Agra was founded by Sikandar Lodhi (Lodhi dynasty; Delhi Sultanate) in the 16th century. Babur (founder of the Mughal dynasty) also stayed for sometime in Agra and introduced the concept of square Persian-styled gardens here. Emperor Akbar built the Agra fort; Jahangir beautified it with palaces and gardens. Shahjahan marked the zenith of Mughal architecture, when he built the Taj Mahal. The post-Mughal era of Agra saw the rule of the Jats, Marathas and finally the British taking over the city.
Agra is located in the state of Uttar Pradesh, in the northern region of India. It is a part of the great northern plains and is situated on the west bank of river the Yamuna. Agra is 204 km south of Delhi. The climate of Agra is extreme and tropical. Summers are extremely hot and the maximum temperature can be as high as 45 degree Celsius, while winters are cold and foggy. Heavy rains and high humidity mark the monsoon season.
Agra can be visited throughout the year, but one must avoid the extreme hot summers (April-June) and rainy season (July-Sept). The most suitable time to visit Agra is From Nov till March.
Places to See :
There is no other monument in the world, which can match the beauty and grandeur of the Taj Mahal. Set amongst the serene ambience of a well laid out garden the massive marble structure of the Taj is awe-inspiring. The Taj Mahal was built in the 17th century by Shahjahan- the fifth Mughal emperor, in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Shahjahan loved his wife so much that after she passed away in 1631, he decided to immortalize their love in the form of the Taj Mahal. It is more than 350 years since Taj Mahal was built, but it has not lost its romantic aura, which attracts millions of visitors towards it.
Agra might be world famous for the Taj Mahal, built by the Mughal emperor Shahjahan in memory of his beloved wife. However, it is also famous for the Agra Fort, which is a veritable treasure trove of the Mughal architectural tradition. The various buildings within this sprawling fort complex represent the assimilation of different cultures, which was the mark of the Mughal period.
Itmad-ud-Daulah's tomb is a highly ornate edifice, which is looked upon as an imminent precursor of the Taj Mahal as far as elaborate carvings and inlay work are concerned. The tomb marks a significant departure from the tombs of the Mughal dynasty built before its construction.
Across the railway tracks from the Delhi Gate of Agra Fort, the Jami Masjid was built by Shah Jahan in 1648. An inscription over the main gate indicates that it was built in the name of Jahanara, Shah Jahan's daughter, who was eventually imprisoned with Shah Jahan by Aurangzeb.
Chini Ka Rauza
It is the only building in India to be decorated exclusively with glazed tile work. The tiny mausoleum overlooking the River Yamuna was the tomb of Afzal Khan, a minister in the court of Shah Jahan.
Previously known as Araambagh, is the probably amongst one of the first Mughal monuments of India. Built by Emperor Babar in 1526 for his recreation, its architecture shows Afghani influences.
The biggest private residence in the Fort is the Jahangir Mahal, the Palace of Emperor Jahangir. It is an excellent blend of Hindu and Mughal architecture. The palace has a hall which is called Jodhabai's dressing Room. Jodhabai was Jahangir's Hindu mother. Its desigen and layout is essentially Hindu. Later the palace was used by Jahangir's Dressing Room. Jodhabai was Jahangir's Hindu mother. Its design and layout is essentially Hindu. Later the palace was used by Jahangir's queen Noorjahan,the Light of the World. Jahangir was very found of wine as well as his queen whom he adored even more. The love of wine interfered in the day do day running of the Government.To help him out in administering imperial justice, Noorjahan sat with her husband to advise him in taking decisions. She was an iron lady and never tolerated opposition.Those who came in her way ended mysteriously in the yamuna river.
The Gateway buildings leads to the Friday mosque or the Jami Masjid. It is believed to be a copy of the main mosque at Meca. Nearby is the small white marble tomb of Sheikh Salim Chisti. It is ornamented with latticed screens and serpentine brackets. Shahjahan added exquiatie pieta dura work later as a mark of respect for the saint. The tomb was built over the exact spot where the holy man sat in meditation during his lifetime. Even, today, childess couples come to the tomb to seek the blessings of Sheikh Salim Chisti.
Travel Information :
Air : Agra airport is 7 km from the city center and 3 km from Idgah bus stand. Indian airlines operates daily tourist shuttle flights to Agra, Khajuraho, Varanasi and back. It only takes 40 minutes from Delhi to Agra.
Rail : Agra is well connected by railroad. The main railway station is the Agra Cantonment station. Agra is well connected by rail to Delhi, Varanasi and cities of Rajasthan.
Road : Agra is 203 Km from Delhi Its 03 Hrs Drive away from Delhi.