Agra, a district in Western Uttar Pradesh lying besides River Yamuna, is situated between 27.11’ degree North Latitude and 78 to 78.2’ degree East longitude. It is surrounded by Mathura in North, Firozabad in East, Dhaulpur in South and Bharatpur in West.
Agra is famous for its diverse Mughal architecture. Historically, the modern day Agra was founded by Lodhi Dynasty emperor Sikander Lodhi of the Delhi Sultanate in the 16th century. The Agra fort and Fatehpur Sikri were prefabricated by Emperor Akbar, while Emperor Shahjahan laid the apogee of Mughal architecture by raising the Taj Mahal, for his dead wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The city of Agra was enhanced with beautiful gardens in and around the palaces by Emperor Jahangir.
According to the Mahabharata, Agra was known as Agraban. A second century A.D. geographer, Ptolemy, named the city on his map as Agra; he was the first person to call the city Agra. Sources prior to these, refer to Agra as Arya griha or the abode to Aryans.
Taj Mahal: Agra is known for this exquisite piece of marble, Taj Mahal. Tourists from across the globe come to visit this monument of love. Regarded as one of the Eight Wonders of the world, it is a mausoleum that houses the grave of emperor Shah Jahan’s wife Mumtaz Mahal.
Red Fort: Also known as the Agra Fort, Lal Quila and Fort Rouge of Agra, this has been cited as a Word Heritage site by UNESCO. Built out of red sandstone, this fort served as a military point as well as the royal residence for emperor Akbar. A must watch in this fort are: Sheesh Mahal, Diwan-i-Khas, Diwan-i-Am, Anguri Bagh, Khas Mahal, Mina Masjid, Nagina Masjid, Mussaman Burj.
Fatehpur Sikri: A 16th century fascinating ghost city built by Akbar the great. One of the finest instance representing Hindu and Muslim architecture. The Fatehpur Sikri mosque is said to represent the Mecca masjid mosque in its design. Must watch in this monument are: Buland Darwaza, Tomb of Salim Chisti, Diwan-i-Khas, Panch Mahal.
Sikandra: A perfect blend of Hindu, Christian, Islamic, Budhist and Jain themes; it is the mausoleum of Emperor Akbar. Situated10 kms away at the western part of the city, the four minarets of this architecture are a striking feature along with the stucco paintings that can be seen at the portico in front of the grave. An ultimate place to visit for environment lovers for peace and serenity. The Char Bagh style of the garden is a must watch.
Imat-Ud-Daula: The tomb of Minister Mir Ghiyas Beg, in the court of Shah Jahan, is ideally the first monument made of marble in India.
Soor Sarovar: A wildlife sanctuary located 17 kms from the city of Agra. A must place for all nature lovers.
Other monuments and places of interest:
Apart from the famous tourist destinations mentioned above, there are several other tourist places to visit in and around Agra. They are: Chausat Khamba, Mariam’s tomb, Chini ka Rauza, Chatri of Raja Jaswant Singh, Dayal Bagh, Mathura, Vrindavan, Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary, Chambal Safari, and Guru Ka Taal.
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