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About Agra
Agra was once the capital of the Mughal empire and even today it seems to linger in the past. Agra is the city of the inimitable Taj Mahal. The story of agra beigns much earlier then the Taj, However it finds mention in the epic Mahabharata when it was called Agrabana are Paradise. 12th century A.D. persian poet Salman, too, Speaks of a desperate assault on the forrtress of Agra, then held by one King Jaipal, by sultan Mahmud of Ghazni. It was Mughals who finally nurtured Agra with the finest monuments architects could design:
Taj Mahal Agra
The Taj Mahal of Shah Jhan, Agra Fort of Akbar, Itmad-Ud-Daulah and neighbouring Sikandra are but few of the many that spangle the city, each of which stands in mute testimony to the city's grandur over the ages. Not surprising, for the Mughal emperors with their passion for building, endowed the city with some of the finest structures in the world. In more recent times Agra came into prominence when Sikandar Lodi made it his capital city in 1501. The Lodi rule was to end very soon and Agra passed into the possession of the Mughals. It was during the time of the third emperor Akbar that Agra came into its own. He embarked on the construction of the massive Agra Fort in 1565. Though Akbar was diverted into building a new capital at Fatehpur Sikari not far away, Agra continued to retain its importance and Shah Jehan, Akbar's grandson ornamented the city with that masterpiece of Mughal architecture -the Taj Mahal and built several other beautiful buildings within the Agra Fort.
Sightseeing:
Taj Mahal (Agra)
Agra's Taj Mahal is one of the most famous buildings in the world, the mausoleum of Shah Jahan's favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is one of the New Seven Wonders of the world, and one of three World Heritage Sites in Agra.
The Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal king Shah Jahan as the final resting place for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Finished in marble, it is perhaps India's most fascinating and beautiful monument. This perfectly symmetrical monument took 22 years (1630-1652) of hard labour and 20,000 workers, masons and jewellers to build and is set amidst landscaped gardens. The Taj Mahal the bank of the Yamuna river. It can be observed like a Mirage from the Agra Fort from where Emperor Shah Jahan stared at it, for the last eight years his life as a prisoner of his son Aurangzeb. The Taj Mahal has been built on a Marvel Plateform that stands above a standstone one. The most elegant dome of the Taj, with diameter of 60 feets, rises 80 feets, over the building and directly under the dome is the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal. Shah Jahan's tomb has been irected next to her's by his son Aurangzeb. Fantastic Inley works using semi-precious stones decorate and interiors. Over the centuries, the Taj has attracted more visitors than perhaps any other Monuments in the country, and it is all too easy resort to conventional superlatives when describing it.
Open Time : 6 A.M. to 7.30 P.M. (Friday is closed)
 
Agra Fort
The great Mughal Emperor Akbar commissioned the construction of the Agra Fort in 1565 A.D., although additions were made till the time of his grandson Shah Jahan. The forbidding exteriors of this fort hight an inner pardise. The fort is crescent shaped, flattended on the east with a long, nearly straight wall facing the river. It has a total perimeter of 2.4 k.m., and is ringed by double castellated ramparts of red sandstone punctuated at regular intervals by bastions. A 9 mt. wide and 10 mt. deep moat surround the outer wall.
There are number of exquisite building like the Moti Masjid-a white marvel mosque akin to a perfect pearl, Diwan-e-Am, Diwan-e-Khaas, Jehangir's Palace, Khaas Mahal, Shish Mahal and Musamman or Samman Burj-where Shahjahan was held captive in 1666 A.D. The fort is a typical example of Mughal architecture.Even it is difficult to compare but It shows how the North Indian style of fort construction differentiated from that of the South.
Open Time : Sunrise to Sunset.
 
Itmad-Ud-Daulah
Itmad-ud-Daulah is the tomb of Mirza Ghyas Beg, a persian who had obtained service in Akbar Court. The Marvel tomb was made by Emperor Jehangir's Queen, Noorjahan, for his father Mirza Ghyas Beg during 1622-1628 A.D..
The Craftmanship at Itmad-ud-Daulah foreshadows that of the Taj Mahal. It was here that. "Pietra Dura"-the inlay work on marble-so characteristic of the Taj-was first used. 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.

Open Time : Sunrise to Sunset.
 
Fatehpur Sikri
The Mughal Emperor Akbar built Fatehpur Sikri about 35 km 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 Babar defeated Rana Sanga in a battle at a place called Sikri (about 40 km 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.
Buland Darwaza or 'the lofty gateway' was built by the great Mughal emperor, Akbar in 1601 CE. at FatehpUr Sikri. Akbar built the Buland Darwaza to commemorate his victory over Gujarat. The Buland Darwaza is approached by 52 steps. The Buland Darwaza is 53.63 m high and 35 meters wide. it is made of red and buff sandstone, decorated by carving and black and white marble inlays. An inscription on the central face of the Buland Darwaza demonstrates Akbar's religious broadmindedness, it is a message from Jesus advising his followers not to consider this world as their permanent home.
Open Time : Sunrise to Sunset.
 
Jami Masjid (Agra)
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.
Open Time : Sunrise to Sunset.
 
Chini Ka Rauza (Agra)
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.
Open Time : Sunrise to Sunset.
 
Rambagh (Agra)
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.
 
Jahangir Mahal (Agra)
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.
 
How to reach :-
By Air: The 'Kheria' airport is only 6km away from the city center. National and other private airlines connect Agra to Delhi, Khajuraho and Varanasi. Taxis and auto-rickshaws are available at the airport.
By Rail: Agra's railway station is Agra Cantonment. There are excellent train services from New Delhi. Shatabdi Express, Taj Express and Inter-city Express from Delhi take 2-3 hours to reach Agra.
By Road: Agra is connected to all parts of country by national highways 2, 3 and 11. 'Idgah' is the main bus terminal in Agra. Most of the buses leave Agra from here.
 
Best period to visit Agra
Agra is best to visit in the months of October and November, and February and March, when the average temperatures are between 16-25°C (60-75°F). The months of December and January are to be avoided to visit Agra due to the fog and freezing temperatures.
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