Agra the former capital of Hindustan, 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, and 200 kilometres (124 mi) south of the national capital New Delhi. 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.
Points of Interest
The Taj Mahal is one of the most famous buildings in the world, the mausoleum of Shah Jahan's favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is one of the New Seven Wonders of the world, and one of three World Heritage Sites in Agra.
Agra Fort (sometimes called the Red Fort), was commissioned by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1565, and is another of Agra's World Heritage Sites. A stone tablet at the gate of the Fort states that it had been built before 1000 but was later renovated by Akbar. The red sandstone fort was converted into a palace during Shāh Jahān's time, and reworked extensively with marble and pietra dura inlay. Notable buildings in the fort include the Pearl Mosque or Moti Masjid, the Diwan-e-Am and Diwan-e-Khas (halls of public and private audience), Jahangir's Palace, Khas Mahal, Shish Mahal (mirrored palace), and the Musamman Burj.
Main article: Fatehpur Sikri
The Mughal Emperor Akbar built Fatehpur Sikri about 35 km (22 mi) from Agra, and moved his capital there. Later abandoned, the site displays a number of buildings of significant historical importance. A World Heritage Site, it is often visited by tourists. The name of the place came about after the Mughal Emperor Baber defeated Rana Sanga in a battle at a place called Sikri (about 40 km (25 mi) from Agra). Then the Mughal Emperor Akbar wanted to make Fatehpur Sikri his head quarters, so he built a majestic fort; due to shortage of water, however, he had to ultimately move his headquarters to Agra Fort.
The Empress Nur Jahan built Itmad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb, sometimes called the "Baby Taj", for her father,Mirza Ghiyas Beg , the Chief Minister of the Emperor Jahangir. Located on the left bank of the Yamuna river, the mausoleum is set in a large cruciform garden, criss-crossed by water courses and walkways. The are of the mausoleum itself is about 23 m2 (250 sq ft), and is built on a base that is about 50 m2 (540 sq ft) and about one meter high. On each corner are hexagonal towers, about thirteen meters tall. Small in comparison to many other Mughal-era tombs, it is sometimes described as a jewel box. Its garden layout and use of white marble, pietra dura, inlay designs and latticework presage many elements of the Taj Mahal.
Akbar's Tomb, Sikandra
Sikandra, the last resting place of the Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great, is on the Delhi-Agra Highway, only 13 kilometres from the Agra Fort. Akbar's tomb reflects the completeness of his personality. The vast, beautifully carved, red-ochre sandstone tomb with deers, rabbits and langurs 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 Turkic custom which the Mughals followed religiously. Akbar's son Jahāngīr completed construction of this pyramidal tomb in 1613. The 99 names of Allah have been inscribed on the tomb.
Swami Bagh Samadhi
he Swami Bagh Samadhi is a monument to hold the ashes of Huzur Swamiji Maharaj (Shri Shiv Dayal Singh Seth) in the Swamibagh section, on the high road that goes from Bhagwan Talkies to Dayal Bagh, in the outskirts of the city. He was the founder of the Radhaswami Faith and the Samadhi is sacred to its followers. Construction began in February 1904 and still continues. Many believe that construction will never end at Swami Bagh – it is often seen as the next Taj Mahal. The carvings in stone, using a combination or coloured marble, are lifelike and not seen anywhere else in India. The picture shown is taken from the rear of the building and shows only two floors. When completed, the Samadhi will have a carved dome and a gateway.
The Mankameshwar Temple is one of four ancient temples dedicated to Lord Shiva located on the four corners of Agra City. It is located near the Jama Masjid and is about 2.5 kilometres from the Taj Mahal and less than 1 km (1 mi) from Agra Fort. Being located in the old city, the temple is surrounded by markets, many of which date back to the Mughal Era.
Indrabhan Girls' Inter College
It is widespreadly considered to be the birthplace of great poet Mirza Ghalib. It is located near the Mankameshwar Temple and is about 3 kilometres from the Taj Mahal and less than 1 km (1 mi) from Agra Fort. Being located in the old city, the College is surrounded by markets. Approximately four or five years back, the birth room of Mirza Ghalib was hidden behind the wall by the Management of the college to keep the identity of the place secret.
Guru ka Tal
Guru ka Tal was originally a reservoir meant to collect and conserve rainwater built in Agra, near Sikandra, during Jahangir's reign next to the Tomb of Itibar Khan Khwajasara in 1610. In 1970s a gurudwara was erected here. Guru ka Tal is a holy place of worship for the Sikhs. Four of the ten Sikh Gurus are said to have paid it a visit. Enjoying both historical and religious importance, this shrine attracts a large number of devotees and tourists. Boasting elaborate stone carvings and eight of the twelve original towers. It is located by national (Delhi-Agra) highway-2.
Jama Masjid (Agra)
The JamaMasjid is a large mosque attributed to Shah Jahan's daughter, Princess Jahanara Begum, built in 1648, notable for its unusual dome and absence of minarets. The inscription at its entrance shows that it cost Rs 5 Lakhs at that time for its completion.
Chini Ka Rauza
Notable for its Persian influenced dome of blue glazed tiles, the Chini Ka Rauza is dedicated to the Prime Minister of Shah Jahan, Allama Afzal Khal Mulla Shukrullah of Shiraz.
Source : wikipedia