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AGRA
  Agra is located 200 km from New Delhi and was founded by Raja Badal Singh in 1475 A.D. The splendour of Agra, on the west bank of the River Yamuna, remains undiminished to this day. The city is the third apex of the famed "Golden Triangle" tourist route along with Delhi and Jaipur and is dotted with spectacular attractions like the massive Agra fort and the magnificent Taj Mahal.

The city gained importance with the arrival of Mughals in 1526. Its mention as Agraban also appears in the Mahabharata, which suggests that it might have been on the outskirts of Mathura. Today, the city is well connected by air to Delhi, Khajuraho and Varanasi. It can be reached from any part of India through Railway services and is accessible by road from any part of Uttar Pradesh.

Area: 82 sq kms
Population: 1.50 mn
Altitude: 169 Meters
Above Sea Level
Language: Hindi, Urdu, English
Average Rainfall: 24"

Summer (Mar-Jul)-41.5c; Monsoon (Jul-Sep)-31c; Winter (Oct-Feb)-9.5c

Taj Mahal

 

                                                      

 
 
Emperor Shah Jahan constructed this most famous Mughal monument in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal.  It has been described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love, for the emperor was heartbroken when Mumtaz, to whom he had been married for 17 years, died in 1631 in childbirth, after producing 14 children.
 
Construction of the Taj began in the same year and was not completed until 1653.  Workers were recruited not only from all over India but also from central Asia; in total, 20,000 people worked on the building.  Experts were even brought from as far away as Europe – the Frenchman, Austin of Bordeaux, and the Italian, Veroneo of Venice, had a hand in its decoration.  The main architect was Isa Khan, who came from Shiraz in Iran.
 

Agra Fort

 
Built by Emperor Akbar in 1565 A.D, this huge fort is made of red sandstone. It houses a Pearl mosque and many other noteworthy structures.
 
 


Itmad-ul-Daulah's Tomb

North of the fort and on the opposite bank of the Yamuna is the exquisite Itimad-ud-Daulah – the tomb of Mirza Ghiyas Beg.  This Persian gentleman was Jehangir’s wazir, or chief minister, and his beautiful daughter later married the emperor.  She then became known as Nur Jahan, the Light of the World, and her niece was Mumtaz Mahal, Chosen of the Palace.  The tomb was constructed by Nur Juran between 1622 and 1628 and is very similar to the tomb she constructed for her husband, Jehangir, near Lahor.

The tomb is of particular interest since many of its design elements foreshadow the Taj, construction of which started only a few years later.
 
 
 
 

Sikandra

Sikandra, 10 km northwest of Agra, is the final resting place of Emperor Akbar. The Tomb of Akbar shows an interesting fusion of Hindu and Mughal architecture reflecting the spirit of the Mughal Emperor, Akbar. Akbar began the construction of his own garden mausoleum during his lifetime. His mausoleum is a red sandstone structure in a chahar-bagh (4-square formal garden).
 
 
 
 

Fatehpur Sikri

37 km from Agra, the mini-city of Fatehpur Sikri's is made of red sandstone and combines influences from both Hindu and Mughal architecture. Mughal Emperor Akbar made this a capital once but deserted it later due to paucity of drinking water. This structure also houses Salim-Chishti's Dargah. This is a white marble canopy set in the courtyard of the royal mosque to honour a Sufi saint who reportedly blessed Akbar’s wife with a son.