Agra the former capital of Hindustan, is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India. The city is mentioned in the epic Mahabharata, where it was called
("the border of the forest").
was established in 1475 by Badal Singh. This city in those days was considered to be the sister city of Mathura which was more prominent than Agraban. Agra came into its own when the Lodhi Kings chose this place beside the Yamuna to be their capital city. Sikander Lodhi made Agra his capital. Babar defeated the Lodhis to capture not only Agra but he also laid the foundation of the Mughal empire.
The coming of Babar heralded a new era which was to see Agra at its zenith during the reign of Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jahan. It was during Akbar's period that Agra became the center of art, culture and commerce and learning. This trend reached its height when Shah Jahan became the ruler.
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.The narrow lanes of Agra filled with aroma of Mughlai cuisine, the craftsman who are busy in crating master pieces with their skill all remind of the Mughal royalty which this city had once experienced. Today whatever remains, has become a major tourist attraction which has taken Agra again to the heights of glory but this time as a
Tourist Attraction in Agra
Taj Mahal :
Agra is popular for beholding one of the seven wonders of the world-the Taj Mahal
. The architectural brilliance of the mansion, the fort and the palaces is a clear remainder of the mausoleums of the capital in the 16th and early 17th centuries. Taj Mahal is one of the World Heritage Monuments and attracts maximum number of tourists from all over the world.
Agra Red Fort :
The fort was originally built by Emperor Akbar and was later expanded by Aurangzeb. The fort's huge double walls rise over 20 m (65 ft) in height and measure 2.5 km in circumference. They are enclosed by a fetid moat and contain a maze of superb halls, mosques, chambers and gardens which form a small city within a city.
Jama Masjid :
The masjid was erected in the memory of Sheikh Salim Chisthi and his grandson Islam Khan by Jahanara Begum, Shahjahan's daughter, who was imprisoned with Shah Jahan by Aurangzeb,in the year 1648 A.D. The masjid exhibits a wonderful assimilation of Iranian architecture. The building with its rectangular open forecourt, has no minarets but its sandstone domes have a striking marble patterning.
Fatehpur Sikri :
Between 1570 and 1586, this was the temporary capital of the Emperor Akbar, of the Moghul Empire. This impregnable city houses impressive gateways and ornamented palaces built in red sandstone. Among these architectural game are the palaces of Akbar's queen - Jodha Bai, Mariyam and his Turkish sultana, built in varying styles, each perfect in itself. It is 40 km west of Agra.
Excursion From Agra
47 km from Agra, Mathura is a important pilgrim place of the Hindus since it is the birthplace of Lord Krishna. Mathura plays an important role economy of Uttar Pradesh. Mathura Refinery located in the city is one of the biggest oil refineries of Asia. Mathura is also an important crafts centre.
Vrindavan is linked with the childhood of Lord Krishna. It has scores of temples, shrines, and memorial stones and is famous for Krishna's followers. Govind Dev Temple, the 150-year-old Ranganathan Temple and many other interesting monuments are located here.
Popularly known as Cultural capital of India, Varanasi is one of the oldest living cities of the world. The city has a past that dates back to 3500 hundred years, during which it has continuously been populated. Varanasi is a restoration of an ancient name meaning the city between two rivers - the Varuna and Asi. There are supposed to be 2,000 temples in Varanasi.