Agra - Agra is known, to the world as the city of Taj Mahal. Agra has its roots, dating back to the time of Mahabaratha. Agra is situated on the west-bank of River Yamuna, 204 km south of Delhi. The old part of the town, north of the fort, is where the main market place is. The modern township is on the south. Agra has a magnificent fort and many other monuments from the Mughul era, not to mention the Taj Mahal, which are major attractions to the tourists.
Taj Mahal India
Even as the world is caught in the skirmishes of War & peace, Nuclear and Non-Nuclear; Taj has stood as the epitome of love. This extravagant monument of love is one of the most visited and most photographed places in the world. Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan in the memory of his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal. Taj Mahal was the culmination point of Indo-Persian architecture. The Mughals Emperor were always fond of constructing monuments. Perhaps they knew that they would be gone but these structures will remind the world of their grandeur.
Agra Red Fort
Agra which lies on the west bank of river Jamuna became one of the principal cities of the Mughal Empire after the death of Ibrahim Lodi at Panipat in 1526. When Akbar choose Agra as his capital he laid the foundation of the Fort of Agra. After Taj this was one of the most important group of buildings. The construction was started in 1565 and was completed in about eight years at a cost of thirty five lakh of rupees under the superintendence of Qasim Khan Mir Barr-u-Bahr. This fort was just one of the many large fortified residences that the emperor wanted to have at various strategic points of his empire. According to contemporary chroniclers like Abul Fazal the fort contained over five hundred buildings. But later on Akbar's descendants added new buildings, mainly in marble to the fort and demolished the old ones.
37 kms from Agra is built a city predominantly in Red Sandstone called Fatehpur Sikri. This town was built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar. He had planned this city as his capital but shortage of water compelled him to abandon the city and within 20 years the capital of Mughals was shifted to Lahore. Fatehpur Sikri was built during 1571 and 1585. The city is a fine example of culmination of Mughal and Hindu architecture. Any visitor to Agra must have a go at Fatehpur Sikri. Fatehpur Sikri mosque was said to be built in lines of the holy mosque in Mecca. Entrance to the mosque is through the Buland Darwaza that is 54m high.
Akbar's Mausoleum, Sikandra
Four kilometer from Agra is the mausoleum of Akbar. Construction of this beautiful monument was started by Akbar himself . This structure has a perfect blending of Hindu, Christian , Islamic, Buddhist, Jain motifs.
Jama Masjid Or Jami Masjid
Built by Shah Jahan in 1648, the main gate of this mosque has inscription written on it that it was built by Jahanara Begum. She was the favorite daughter of Shah Jahan and was imprisoned with him. The absence of minarets and the shape of the dome give sit a distinguished character.
A tomb of glazed tiles is a memorial dedicated to poet-scholar and later the Prime Minister of Shah Jahan, Allama Afzel Khal Mullah Shukrullah of Shiraz.
Dayal Bagh Temple
15-kms from Agra, Dayal Bagh, also known as Soamibagh, houses the samadhi of the founder of Radha Swami faith, 'Swamiji Maharaj'. The main structure is a majestic building, 110-feet in height, built of pure white marble. The belief here is that construction work should never end, making it into a living monument, hence it is under construction for almost 100 years.
This tomb belongs to the father of Nur Jahan, Ghias-ud-Din Beg. He was the Wajir or the Chief Minister of Emperor Jehangir. This white marble tomb was built by Nur Jahan between 1622 and 1628. The tomb may not be as mammoth as the Taj but the inlay designs and carvings are no less than Taj if not more. The delicate marble latticework in the passages allows the light to enter the interiors. A similar tomb was built by Nur Jahan for Jehangir in Lahore. This tomb was the first complete marble Moghul structure.
This tomb is dedicated to the wife of Akbar. The red sand stone tomb was built in 1611 and is on the Delhi- Agra highway. The carvings on the tomb of Mariyam-us-Zamani are worth giving a closer look.
When Babur came to India he laid the first Mughal gardens 500 m North of the Chini Ka Rauza. This well laid gardens are not even a fraction of what they used to be. It will need lots of imagination to picture how these gardens must have looked in 1558.