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Agra City Guide:

Agra

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Taj MahalIt has a rich historical background, which is amply evident from the numerous historical monuments in and around the city. The earliest reference for Agra comes from the epical age, when Mahabharata refer Agra as Agravana.
In the sources prior to this, Agra has been referred as Arya Griha or the abode of the Aryans. The first person who referred Agra by its modern name was Ptolemy. Though the heritage of Agra city is linked with the Mughal dynasty, numerous other rulers also contributed to the rich past of this city. Modern Agra was founded by Sikandar Lodhi (Lodhi dynasty; Delhi Sultanate) in the 16th century. Babar (founder of the Mughal dynasty) also stayed for sometime in Agra and introduced the concept of square Persian-styled gardens here. Emperor Akbar built the Agra fort and Fatehpur Sikri near Agra. Fatehpur Sikri remained his capital for around fifteen years after which the city was left isolated in mysterious circumstances. Jahangir beautified Agra with palaces and gardens despite spending most of his time in Kashmir with which he was passionately attached.
Agra came to its own when Shahjahan ascended to the throne of Mughal Empire. He marked the zenith of Mughal architecture, when he built the Taj in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. In his later years, Shahjahan shifted his capital to the new city of Shahjahanabad in Delhi and ruled from there. Shahjahan was dethroned in 1658 by his son, Aurangzeb who imprisoned him in the Agra Fort. Aurangzeb shifted the capital back to Agra till his death. After the death of Aurangzeb, Mughal Empire could not touch its peak and many regional kingdoms emerged. The post-Mughal era of Agra saw the rule of the Jats, Marathas and finally the British taking over the city.

Major Attractions :

Taj MahalTaj Mahal : The mausoleum of the Empress Mumtaz, the beloved spouse of Shah Jahan, who died in 1630. The Taj complex comprises of the forecourt, a lofty entrance and a charming formal Mughal Garden with canals and the central tank with a series of fountains, the tomb proper and as attached mosque on the west and its symmetrical counterpart on the east. The Taj is remarkable for its perfect proportions and rich pieta dura, with minute details executed with great skill. The building, often styled "A Dream in Marble" is also said to have taken atleast 22 years (1631-1653).

Fatehpur Sikri -AgraFatehpur Sikri : It shared its imperial duties as a capital city with Agra, where a bulk of the arsenal, treasure hoards, and other "Panch Mahal - Fatehpur Sikri" reserves were kept at its Red Fort for security. During a crisis, the court, harem, and treasury could be removed to Agra, only 26 miles away, less than a day's march. Innovations in land revenue, coinage, military organisation, and provincial administration emerged during the Fatehpur Sikri years.

It is regarded as emperor Akbar's crowning architectural legacy. Indeed, its numerous palaces, halls, and masjids satisfy his creative and aesthetic impulses, typical of Mughals. Fatehpur Sikri is a World Heritage Site. Some contemporary Indian architects, notably B. V. Doshi, have cited it as an important source of inspiration. Architect or layperson, this city generally captures the imagination and wonder of all who experience its urban spaces and see its buildings.


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