Agra is synonymous with monument of love, The Taj Mahal, which sits on the bank of Yamuna river. The Mughal emperor Babur established his capital here in 1526 and for next few years Agra witnessed a remarkable spate of architectural activity as each monarch tried to out do the grandiose monuments built by his predecessor. Agra is the one of the prominent destinations of the World Tourism map with three heritage monuments - The Taj Mahal, Red Fort & Fatehpur Sikri. It is more just a dacadent city of graveyards and stones, but it is a vibrant centre of Culture, Art and Religious philosphies that have enriched mankind and shaped humen thought over centuries. Agra is famous as being home to one of the seven wonders of the world-the Taj Mahal. The architectural splendour of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid remainder of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid reminder of the capital in the 16th and early 17th centuries. While its significance as a political centre ended with the transfer of the capital to Delhi in 1634 by Shah Jahan, its architectural wealth has secured its place on the international map. A pleasant town with comparatively slow pace, Agra is known for its superb inlay work on marble and soastone by craftsman who are descendant of those who worked under the Mughals. The city is also famous for its carpets, gold thread embroidery and leather shoes. Agra was once the capital of the Mughal empire and even today it seems to linger in the past . Not surprising , for the Mughal emperors with their passion for building, endowed the city with some of the finest structures in the world . It is very easy to slip away here through the centuries into the grandeur and intrigues of the Mughal court . Agra is an old city and it is said that its name was derived from Agrabana, a forest that finds mention in the epic Mahabharata. 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 sikri not far away. Agra continued to retain its importance and Shah Jahan, Akbar's garndson ornamented the city with that masterpiece of Mughal architecture - the Taj Mahal and built several other beautiful buildings within the Agra fort .

Places of Interest

Taj Mahal : The crowning jewel of Indo-Islamic architecture, the Taj Mahal is one of the world's most beautiful and beloved structures. The monument was built for Mumtaz Mahal, the favorite wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Construction began in 1632 and employed more than 20,000 laborers for 20 years. During the reign of Shah Jahan the structure was known simply as the rauza, the tomb. Later, the mausoleum would be called the Taj Mahal, a derivative of the name Mumtaz Mahal. Sheer poetry in marble. Majesty and magnificence, unrivalled. The Taj Mahal, the one and only one of its kind across the world. The monumental labour of love of a great ruler for his beloved queen. The ultimate realisation of Emperor Shahjahan's dream. One of the wonders of the world. From 1631 A.D., it took 22 years in the making. An estimated 20,000 people worked to complete the enchanting mausoleum, on the banks of the Yamuna. For a breathtaking beautiful view of the Taj Mahal, see it by moonlight.

Agra fort

Agra fort is another dimensions in the city. Built in Red stone it is a combination of different architectural styles. For instance, the Jahangiri Palace built by Akbar is a good blend of Islamic (Persian) and different local Hindu styles. Other buildings either have a mixed style or conform predominantly to the Islamic style. The construction of the Agra fort was started around 1565 when the initial structures were built by Akbar. Shah Jahan replaced most of these with his marble creations. Some however survived, among them are - Delhi Gate., Amar Singh Gate, Akbari Mahal and the Jehangir Mahal. The fort is crescent shaped, flattened on the east with a long, nearly straight wall facing the river. It has a total perimeter of 2.4 km, 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 surrounds the outer wall. An imposing 22 mt. High inner wall imparts a feeling of invincible defensive construction. The route through the Amar Singh Gate is dog-legged. The layout of the fort was determined by the course of the river, which in those days flowed alongside. The main axis is parallel to the river and the walls bridge out towards the city.

Sikandra Fort

Sikandra, a supurb of Agra, only 13 km. from the Agra Fort, the last resting place of the Mughal emperor Akbar. Akbar was the greatest of the Mughal emperors of his time. He was the heir to a long tradition of oriental refinement, a great patron of the arts, literature, philosophy and science. A visit to Akbar's monument opens before one, the completeness of Akbar's personality as completely as the Taj Mahal does of Mumtaz Mahal's. Akbar's vast, beautifully carved, red-ochre sandstone tomb 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 Tartary custom which the Mughals followed religiously. Akbar's son Jahangir completed the construction of this pyramidal tomb in 1613.

Fatehpur Sikri

Agra city perfectly preserved, Fatehpur Sikri provides a marvellous escape into the past. Akbar embarked on the construction of a new capital here when a prophecy of the birth of a male royal heir, by the Sufi Saint Salim Chisti of Sikri, came true. Imposing gateways and light- hearted palaces were built in red sandstone within this fortified city only to be abandoned a few years later. Among its many architectural game are the places for his queens - Jodha Bai, Mariyam and his Turkish sultana, built in varying styles, each perfect in itself.