About Agra District :
Agra has a rich historical background, which is amply evident from the numerous historical monuments in and around the city. 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 Agra city’s grandur over the ages. The Agra district is situated in western U.P. between 27.11′ degree Latitude North and 78.0′ degree to 78.2′ degree Longitute East. Its Altitude is 169 meters above sea level. On the North it is bounded by Mathura District, On the South it is bounded by Dhaulpur District, On the East it is bounded by Firozabad District and On the West it is bounded by Bharatpur. Agra is situated on the bank of Yamuna river. The Agra district is divided into 6 Tehsils and 15 Blocks. The places of toutist interests in the district are Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, Sikandra, Itmad ud Daula, Soor Sarovar, Chausat khambha , Roman Catholic Cemetery, Chini ka Rauz, Mariam’s Tomb, Chhatri of Raja Jaswant Singh, Bharatpur Bird Sanctury, Chambal Safari, Mathura, Vrindavan, Guru ka Taal, and Dayal Bagh.
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Tourist Places :
Taj Mahal :
The construction of this marble masterpiece is credited to the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan who erected this mausoleum in memory of his beloved wife, Arjumand Bano Begum, popularly known as Mumtaz Mahal, who died in A.H. 1040 (A.D. 1630). Her last wish to her husband was “to build a tomb in her memory such as the world had never seen before”. Thus emperor Shah Jahan set about building this fairytale like marvel. The construction of Taj Mahal was started in A.D. 1632 and completed at the end of 1648 A.D. For seventeen years, twenty thousand workmen are said to be employed on it daily, for their accommodation a small town, named after the deceased empress-‘Mumtazabad, now known as Taj Ganj, was built adjacent to it.
Sheer poetry in marble. Majesty and magnificence, unrivalled, the Taj Mahal is the only one of its kind across the world
Rabindra Nath Tagore defined Taj mahal as “a tear on the face of eternity” whereas to others, it is a tender elegy in marble” and the ultimate expression of love.
Taj Mahal is regarded as one of the eight wonders of the world, and some Western historians have noted that its architectural beauty has never been surpassed. The Taj is the most beautiful monument built by the Mughals, the Muslim rulers of India. Taj Mahal is built entirely of white marble. Its stunning architectural beauty is beyond adequate description, particularly at dawn and sunset. The Taj seems to glow in the light of the full moon. On a foggy morning, the visitors experience the Taj as if suspended when viewed from across the Jamuna River.
Shah Jahan had begun his reign by killing his brothers; but he had neglected to kill his sons, one of who was destined to overthrow him. In 1657 his son Aurangzeb led an insurrection from the Deccan. Aurangzeb defeated all the forces sent against him, captured his father, and imprisoned him in the Fort of Agra. For 9 bitter years the deposed emperor lingered there, never visited by his son, attended only by his faithful daughter Jahanara, and spending his days looking from the Jasmine Tower of his prison across the Jumuna to where his once-beloved Mumtaz lay in her jeweled tomb.
Taj Mahal (meaning Crown Palace) is a Mausoleum that houses the grave of queen Mumtaz Mahal at the lower chamber. The grave of Shah Jahan was added to it later. The queen’s real name was Arjumand Banu. In the tradition of the Mughals, important ladies of the royal family were given another name at their marriage or at some other significant event in their lives, and the public commonly used that new name. Shah Jahan’s real name was Shahab-ud-din, and he was known as Prince Khurram before ascending to the throne in 1628.
The Taj stands on a raised, square platform (186 x 186 feet) with its four corners truncated, forming an unequal octagon. The architectural design uses the interlocking arabesque concept, in which each element stands on its own and perfectly integrates with the main structure. It uses the principles of self-replicating geometry and symmetry of architectural elements.
The mausoleum is a part of a vast complex comprising of a main gateway, an elaborate garden, a mosque (to the left), a guest house (to the right), and several other palatial buildings. The Taj is at the farthest end of this complex, with the river Jamuna behind it. The large garden contains four reflecting pools dividing it at the center. Each of these four sections is further subdivided into four sections and then each into yet another four sections. Like the Taj, the garden elements serve like Arabesque, standing on their own and also constituting the whole.
The main entrance, once guarded with solid silver gates, is a maze of marble embroidery; inlaid in the wall in jeweled script are qotations from the Koran, one of which invites the “pure in heart” to enter “the gardens of Paradise.”
Sikandra is the mausoleum of Akbar. Akbar himself started construction of this beautiful monument. This structure has a perfect blending of Hindu, Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, Jain themes. Sikandra is named after Sikandar lodi, the Delhi ruler who was in power from 1488 to 1517.
Sikandra Fort is located in the western periphery of the city at a distance of about 10 kms from the city center. Sikandra the last resting place of the Mughal emperor Akbar. Akbar was the greatest of the Mughal emperors and one of the most secular minded royalties 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 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.
Although there is only one entrance in use today there exist four red sandstone gates which lead to the mausoleum complex. The decoration on the gateways is strikingly bold, with large mosaic patterns set into it. The gateway’s four minarets rising from the corners are particularly striking. Built of red sandstone, the minarets are inlaid with white marble polygonal patterns; the pleasing Proportions & Profuse surface ornamentation makes the gateways very impressive. These gateways reflect a curious hybrid of different styles of architecture-Hindu, Muslim Christian and a patent mixture of Akbar’s typical style. A broad paved causeway lead to the tomb, which has five storeys and is in the shape of a truncated pyramid. The main tomb has a unique square design which is unparalleled by all other Mughal buildings.Geometrical designs achieved by the mosaics of glazed tiles or of colored stones, predominate the tomb. The mosaic work is generally in the tass eleated style, that is, square or rectangular pieces of colored stones were assembled and arranged together to form patterns. Emperor Jahangir inlaid semi-precious stones into a hollowed depression in the white marble slab later on. Akbar’s daughters Shakrul Nisha Begum and Aram Bano are also entombed on this floor.
Some of its design features are similar to the design of the Taj Mahal built later in Agra.
The most striking feature of the place is definitely the splendid gateway with its four minarets that have been intricately carved. The striking inlay of white marble on the red sandstone is also grand. Another notable feature here is the portico in front of the grave in the basement. It is covered with beautiful stucco paintings.
This is a must visit place for all those who want to experience an environment of ultimate serenity and peace. The outlaying garden which is laid out in the Char Bagh style is yet another attraction of the place. The tomb of Mariam, Jehangir’s mother, is also located close to the imposing red sandstone building.
Best Time to VisitWinter is the best time to visit, when days are warm and sunny and ideal for sight seeing
Fatehpur Sikri :
Fatehpur Sikri is a fascinating ghost city built in the 16th century; 37 km from Agra Akbar the great, who at 26 years did not have an heir, founded this historic site.
Fatehpur Sikri He went to a saint, Shaikh Salim Chishti who lived in a city called Sikri. His blessing gave Akbar 3 sons. As a gesture, Akbar built a whole new city in Sikri. Akbar named his new capital Fatehpur Sikri or the City of Victory
.Fatehpur Sikri is one of the finest examples of Mughal architectural splendour at its height.
It was built between 1569 and 1585 and was intended to be the joint capital with Agra, but was soon deserted because the water system could not support any residents. It remained untouched for over 400 years now and its palaces are a remainder of the extravagance of the Mughals Fatehpur Sikri is the best example of the culmination of Hindu and Muslim architecture. Fatehpur Sikri Mosque is said to be a copy of the mosque in Mecca and has designs, derived from the Persian & Hindu architecture.
After this within 20 years, the capital of Mughals was shifted to Lahore
Diwan-i-Khas– Hall: Popularly known as the “Ekstambha Prasada”, the Diwan-i-Khas served as the royal chamber of Emperor Akbar. It is designed according to the Persian style of architecture and is decorated with fine sculpture and precious stones. There are 4 kiosks, which are located in the middle of the court.
Panch Mahal: The Panch Mahal ranks among the most fascinating buildings in Fatehpur Sikri. It is a five-storey building which was meant to be the shelter of the royal ladies and mistresses. The top story of the building offers a panoramic view of the surrounding area.
Tomb of Salim Chisti: The tomb of renowned Sufi saint Salim Chisti is located here. The tomb is well known for its delicate carvings and draws hundreds of pilgrims.
Buland Darwaza: It ranks among the important monuments in the place. This enormous gateway has a height of 54 meters and is largest gateway in the world. It was made in the year 1575 to celebrate Emperor Akbar’s success in conquering Gujarat and is a fine blend of Persion and mughal architecture.
Apart from these prime Attractions in Fatehpur Sikri are Diwan-I-Am, Turkish Sultana’s House, The Treasury, Daulat khana-I-khas, Palace of Jodha Bai, Hawa Mahal And Nagina Masjid, Birbal’s Palace, Sunehra Makan and The Jama Masjid.
Today regarded as one of the most important buildings amongst a list of World Heritage Structures, which has been brought forward by the UNESCO, a visit to the Fatehpur Sikri in Agra in India remains one of the fondest dreams of Indians from all around the world