on the western bank of Yamuna River, is one of the most frequented cities by
tourists in India. Agra was founded by Badal Shah in 1475, but it came into
prominence when the Lodhis made it their capital. Later, with Mughals
invasion into the city, Agra entered an entirely new era - an era which was
marked by prosperity and development of art and architecture. The Mughal
period was a time when numerous structures were erected in Agra, and even
today these structures reflect the glorious heritage of the great Mughal
Besides, Agra today is one of the most flourishing industrial cities of
Uttar Pradesh India. Housing several industrial sector, Agra is not very far
behind the major metros of India.
Places of Interest in Agra
Taj Mahal -
The most important structure, that the
Mughals built during their reign in Agra and which till date remains as
beautiful as before is the ‘Taj Mahal’. Regarded as the eighth
wonder of the world, the Taj Mahal stands near the banks of Yamuna River.
Built by Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, this
beautiful white marble mausoleum is an incredible beauty that draws tourists
to Agra. About 20,000 labours were commissioned for 22 years (between 1631AD
to 1653AD) to build this white marble beauty. This onion shaped edifice is
set amidst an exquisitely manicured Persian garden, which in itself is no
less than a paradise.
Agra Fort -
Merely 2kms from the Taj Mahal is a massive
Mughal structure - the Agra Fort. Built by the great Mughal emperors Akbar
and Shah Jahan, Agra Fort is the place where Shah Jahan spent his last days
after he was imprisoned by his own son Aurangzeb. Presently only part of the
fort is opened for tourists as the other part is occupied by army. The Agra
Fort house numerous attractions within its complex. The major highlights
within the fort are - Diwan-e-Aam, Diwan-e-Khas, Nagina Masjid, Mina Masjid,
Macchi Bhavan, Khas Mahal, Shish Mahal, Shah Jahani Mahal and the Zenana
Mina Bazaar. From the fort one can have a magnificent view of the Taj Mahal.
Itmad-ud-Daulah's Tomb -
Also very near to the Taj Mahal
is the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah. This building houses the tomb Mirza Ghiyas
Beg and his wife Asmat Begum. Mirza Ghiyas Beg was the Prime Minister during
the reign of Mughal emperor Jahangir and was also the father of his wife
queen Nur Jahan. This tomb is said to have inspired the structure of the Taj
Mahal as it was built before.
Fatehpur Sikri -
The city of Fatehpur Sikri is located at a distance of
forty kilometers from Agra. The city was built by Akbar in respect of the
famous Sheikh Salim Chisti over a period of Fifteen years. The city boasts
of magnificient structures like the the Panch Mahal, the Buland Darwaza, the
tomb of Salim Chisti, the Jama Masjid Mosque and the life-size chessboard.
These monuments represent a beautiful blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture
and must be visited by tourists coming to Agra.
Shopping in Agra
Agra is a delight for shoppers. The city offers its tourists ample
opportunity to buy goods of their choice in the city. However, there are
items that have become the speciality of the city like marble work, leather
work, brassware, jewellery and zari embroidery. For those tourists who love
eating, petha and dalmoth of Agra is a special attraction.Tourists will not
require to travel a lot in order to buy these items as all the major shops
are located in and around the Taj Mahal complex itself.
Agra also has a domestic airport of its own.
Regular flights connect Agra to the major cities of India like Delhi,
Khajuraho and Varanasi
Apart from road, trains also connect Delhi and
Agra. Numerous trains including the luxury train ‘Palace on Wheels’
are available for tourists.
Tourists from within India or abroad can come to
Delhi and then travel to Agra by road. The distance between the two cities
is just 204 kms and they are connected by the national highway. In about
four hours, tourists can find themselves in the beautiful city of Agra.