Agra is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India. It is 363 kilometres (226 mi) west of the state capital, Lucknow, 200 kilometres (124 mi) south of the national capital New Delhi and 125 kilometres (78 mi) north of Gwalior . With a population of 1,686,976 (2010 est.), it is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh and the 19th most populous in India. Agra can also refer to the administrative district that has its headquarters in Agra city. It is a major tourist destination because of its many splendid Mughal-era buildings, most notably the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and all three of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Agra is included on the Golden Triangle tourist circuit, along with Delhi and Jaipur.
Couture & History
Though Agra’s history is largely recognised with Mughal Empire, the place was established much before it and has linkages since Mahabharat period and Mahirshi Angira in 1000 BC.It is generally accepted that Sultan Sikandar Lodi, the Ruler of the Delhi Sultanate founded Agra in the year 1504. After the Sultan’s death the city passed on to his son Sultan Ibrahim Lodi. He ruled his Sultanate from Agra until he fell fighting to Babar in the First battle of Panipat fought in 1526.
The golden age of the city began with the Mughals. It was known then as Akbarabad and remained the capital of the Mughal Empire under the Emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. Shah Jahan later shifted his capital to Shahjahanabad in the year 1689.
Since Akbarabad was one of the most important cities in India under the Mughals, it witnessed a lot of building activity. Babar, the founder of the Mughal dynasty, laid out the first formal Persian garden on the banks of river Yamuna. The garden is called the Aram Bagh or the Garden of Relaxation. His grandson Akbar raised the towering ramparts of the Great Red Fort, besides making Agra a center for learning, arts, commerce and religion. Akbar also built a new city on the outskirts of Akbarabad called Fatehpur Sikri. This city was built in the form of a Mughal military camp in stone.
His son Jahangir had a love of gardens and flora and fauna and laid many gardens inside the Red Fort or Lal Qil’a. Shah Jahan, known for his keen interest in architecture, gave Akbarabad its most prized monument, the Taj Mahal. Built in loving memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, the mausoleum was completed in 1653.
Shah Jahan later shifted the capital to Delhi during his reign, but his son Aurangzeb moved the capital back to Akbarabad, usurping his father and imprisoning him in the Fort there. Akbarabad remained the capital of India during the rule of Aurangzeb until he shifted it to Aurangabad in the Deccan in 1653. After the decline of the Mughal Empire, the city came under the influence of Marathas and was called Agra, before falling into the hands of the British Raj in 1803.
In 1835 when the Presidency of Agra was established by the British, the city became the seat of government, and just two years later it was witness to the Agra famine of 1837–38. During the Indian rebellion of 1857 British rule across India was threatened, news of the rebellion had reached Agra on 11 May and on 30 May two companies of native infantry, the 44th and 67th regiments, rebelled and marched to Delhi. The next morning native Indian troops in Agra were forced to disarm, on 15 June Gwalior (which lies south of Agra) rebelled. By 3 July the British were forced to withdraw into the fort. Two days later a small British force at Sucheta were defeated and forced to withdraw, this led to a mob sacking the city. However, the rebels moved onto Delhi which allowed the British to restore order by 8 July. Delhi fell to the British in September; the following month rebels who had fled Delhi along with rebels from Central India marched on Agra but were defeated. After this British rule was again secured over the city until the independence of India in 1947.
Agra is the birthplace of the religion known as which flourished during the reign of Akbar and also of the Radhaswami Faith, which has around two million followers worldwide. Agra has historic linkages with Shauripur of Jainism and Runukta of Hinduism, of 1000 BC.
far from many people’s perceptions, Agra has quite a sufficient nightlife. As one can imagine, the main nightlife area is situated beside the Taj Mahal where most backpacker accommodation is. There are several terraces where people can enjoy a drink without the hassles of the many sellers that full the streets during the day time. Also, if visiting the Taj Mahal, be sure to wonder back in the early evening to catch the late sun soak up the white marble. There is something very magical about the Taj glowing in front of you.
Guide to the Taj Mahal – Agra Hotels – Agra Attractions
But for a more adventurous evening, dance to the latest Bollywood music and international chartbusters in some of the bars and clubs of Agra. Here you can enjoy an array of mouth-watering cocktails and local dishes to finish up your day. Although most bars are located in Hotels, they don’t skimp on entertainment quality or the Agra flavour. Some bars to look out for are the ‘Mughal Bar’ in the Clarks Shiraz Hotel, ‘On The Rocks’ Bar in the Jaypee Palace Hotel and ‘The Tequila’ at the Mansingh Palace Hotel. One thing to keep in mind is that Agra has very few street lights, therefore be cautious wondering the streets at night. If at all possible travel with a group of friends or enjoy the bar at your own hotel.
Other nightlife activities include cultural shows which are usually shown at some of the larger hotels and restaurants. One event not to miss is the Taj Mahotsav in February. This annual festival brings to life the culture, arts, local delicacies and dances of Uttar Pradesh. Be prepared to see beautifully decorated camels and elephants strutting their stuff on the street lined with craft stalls and incredible performances from all over India. This is by far one of Agra’s highlights. Although Agra may not have quite the intense nightlife of places like Kolkata, it sure makes it its own with beautiful terraces for a quiet drink and places to dance the night away.
The Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. Commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the worldly remains of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal stands on the southern bank of the Yamuna River. The mausoleum is widely recognized as “the jewel of Muslim art in India” and remains as one of the world’s most celebrated structures and a symbol of India’s rich history. Regarded by many as the best example of the Mughal architecture, it is a perfect blend combining elements from Islamic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish as well as Indian architectural styles.
Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. It is about 2.5 km northwest of its more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. The fort can be more accurately described as a walled city. Sheesh Mahal, Agra Fort:The effect produced by lighting candles in Sheesh Mahal, Agra Fort.
The present-day structure was built by the Mughals, though a fort had stood there since at least the 11th century. Agra Fort was originally a brick fort known as Badalgarh, held by Raja Badal Singh Hindu Sikarwar Rajput king (c. 1475). It was mentioned for the first time in 1080 AD when a Ghaznavide force captured it. Sikandar Lodi (1488–1517) was the first Sultan of Delhi who shifted to Agra and lived in the fort. He governed the country from here and Agra assumed the importance of the second capital. He died in the fort at 1517 and his son, Ibrahim Lodi, held it for nine years until he was defeated and killed at Panipat in 1526. Several palaces, wells and a mosque were built by him in the fort during his period.
Tomb of I’timad-ud-Daulah
Tomb of is a Mughal mausoleum in the city of Agra in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Often described as a “jewel box”, sometimes called the “Baby Taj”, the tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah is often regarded as a draft of the Taj Mahal.
Along with the main building, the structure consists of numerous outbuildings and gardens. The tomb, built between 1622 and 1628 represents a transition between the first phase of monumental Mughal architecture – primarily built from red sandstone with marble decorations, as in Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi and Akbar’s tomb in Sikandra – to its second phase, based on white marble and pietra dura inlay, most elegantly realized in the Taj Mahal.
Mehtab Bagh is a charbagh complex in Agra, North India. It lies north of the Taj Mahal complex and the Agra Fort on the opposite side of the Yamuna River, in the flood plains. The garden complex, square in shape, measures about 300 by 300 metres (980 ft × 980 ft) and is perfectly aligned with the Taj Mahal on the opposite bank. During the rainy season, the ground becomes partially flooded.
Jama Masjid in Agra is opposite the Agra fort and overlooking the Agra Fort Railway Station. The Jama Masjid is also popularly known as the Jami Masjid or “Friday Mosque”. It is one of the larger mosques in India. Jama Masjid of Agra has Imam of Ahle Sunnat Wala Jamaat or Barelwi. Jami Masjid Mosque is a very simple mosque of red sandstone with little white marble decoration and blue colour paint wall and ceilings. It’s a huge mosque in the center of Agra surrounded by a great bazaar. The mosque was completely empty of any tourist, only one man praying and the little children at the Madrasa (Koran school).
The Mosque Stands on a high plinth approached by stairs, and with five arched entrances to the courtyard, the mosque is crowned by three large sandstone domes distinguished by their zigzag bands of marble. It has well-balanced proportions and a courtyard surrounded by cloisters on three of its sides and the prayer chamber on its western side. The cloisters have engrailed arches supported on pillars. All the bulbous domes have inverted lotus and kalash finials on the top and have narrow zigzag courses of white marble alternated by broad bands of red stone. There is a fountain with four kiosks in its corners in the centre of the courtyard.
Tomb of Akbar the Great
The Tomb of Akbar the Great is an important Mughal architectural masterpiece, built 1605–1613, set in 48 Ha (119 acres) of grounds in Sikandra, a suburb of Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India.Iy was built by jahangir. The south gate is the largest, with four white marble chhatri-topped minarets which are similar to (and pre-date) those of the Taj Mahal, and is the normal point of entry to the tomb. The tomb itself is surrounded by a walled enclosure 105 m square. The tomb building is a four-tiered pyramid, surmounted by a marble pavilion containing the false tomb. The true tomb, as in other mausoleums, is in the basement.
The buildings are constructed mainly from a deep red sandstone, enriched with features in white marble. Decorated inlaid panels of these materials and a black slate adorn the tomb and the main gatehouse. Panel designs are geometric, floral and calligraphic, and prefigure the more complex and subtle designs later incorporated in Itmad-ud-Daulah’s Tomb.
Moti Masjid (Agra Fort)
The Moti Masjid in Agra was built by Shah Jahan. During the rule of Shah Jahan the Mughal emperor, numerous architectural wonders were built. Most famous of them being the Taj Mahal. Moti Masjid earned the epithet Pearl Mosque for it shined like a pearl. It is held that this mosque was constructed by Shah Jahan for his members of royal court. It stands on ground that slopes from east to west to the north of Diwan-i-Am complex in Agra Fort. The courtyard of the Moti Masjid has side arcades and arched recessions and the main sanctuary facade beyond. The sanctuary is roofed with three bulbous domes built of light white marble and stand on the red sandstone walls.