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Agra, An Important Historical Location In India


Taj Mahal


  • Agra is a town in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, on the banks of the river Yamuna. It is 125 kilometres north of Gwalior, 200 kilometres south of the national capital New Delhi and 363 kilometres west of the state capital, Luckhnow. It is the 19th most populous city in India and one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh. Due to its many impressive Mughal-era buildings, Agra is a major tourist destination. Most remarkable buildings are the Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort and Taj Mahal, all three of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Agra is included in the Golden Triangle tourist circuit, together with Jaipur and Delhi.
  • Sultan Sikandar Lodhi was the first ruler to shift his capital from Delhi to Agra. He ruled the country from here and Agra became the second capital. Sultan Sikandar Lodhi died in 1517. His son, Ibrahim Lodhi, ruled the country from Agra for 9 more years. A mosque, several wells and palaces were constructed by him in the fort during his tenure.

Climate

  • Agra has hot and dry summers, mild winters and a monsoon season. However the monsoons aren’t as heavy as the monsoon in other parts of India. That is why Agra has a semiarid climate.

Demographics

  • As per the 2011 India census, Agra has a population of 1,775,134. Females constitute 47% of the population and Males 53%. Average literacy rate of Agra is 81%, higher than the national average of 59.5%.
  • In Agra, 85% of the population follow Hinduism, 12.1% follow Islam, and 1.4% follow Jainism. 15–59 years age category forms 52.5% of Agra's population.



Agra Fort


History

  • The Ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, Sultan Sikandar Lodhi, founded Agra in 1504. After his death his son, Sultan Ibrahim Lodhi ruled his Sultanate from Agra until he was defeated by Babur in the First battle of Panipat in 1526.
  • With the Mughals the golden age of the city started. At that time it was known as Akbarabad and was the capital of the Mughal Empire under the Emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. Shah Jahan later shifted his capital to Shahjahanabad in 1689.
  • Since Akbarabad was among the most important cities under the Mughals, there was a lot of building activity. The founder of the Mughal dynasty, Babar built the first formal Persian garden on the River Yamuna’s banks. The garden is known as the Aram Bagh (the Garden of Relaxation). Babur’s grandson, Akbar raised the towering ramparts of the Great Red Fort, in addition to making Agra a center for learning religion, commerce and arts. Akbar also constructed a new city, Fatehpur Sikri on the suburbs of Akbarabad. This city was constructed in the shape of a Mughal military camp in stone.
  • His son, Jahangir loved gardens and flora and fauna and built many gardens inside the Red Fort (Lal Qila). Shah Jahan gave Akbarabad its most valued mausoleum, the Taj Mahal. Constructed in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, the monument was completed in 1653.
  • Later Shah Jahan moved the capital to Delhi, but his son, Aurangzeb overthrew his father, imprisoned him and moved the capital back to Akbarabad. Akbarabad remained the capital of India until Aurangzeb shifted it to Aurangabad in the Deccan in 1653. The city came under the influence of Marathas after the fall of the Mughal Empire and was named Agra.
  • British rule all over India was threatened during the Indian rebellion of 1857, two companies of native infantry dissented and marched to Delhi. Native Indian troops in Agra were disarmed. A small British force at Sucheta was forced to withdraw. This resulted in a mob sacking the city. However, the shifting of the rebels to Delhi allowed the British to restore order. After the fall of Delhi, rebels who had fled Delhi marched on Agra but were defeated. After that the British rule over the city was again secured until the independence of India in 1947.
  • Agra is the origin of the religion called Din-e Ilahi, which prospered during the reign of Akbar.

Transport

  • Air India connects Agra to rest of the world via Mumbai. These flights are generally on time and observe full load factor. Therefore book well in advance to avoid troubles. Within the country Agra still needs many more daily flights to Kochi, Varanasi, Luckhnow, Goa, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and other tourist destinations.

Rail

  • There are three main railway stations in Agra. Agra is on the central train line between Delhi and Bombay and between Delhi and Madras and many trains like Allahabad Mathura Express, Chennai Rajdhni, Tamil Nadu Express, Bhopal Shatabdi, Garib Rath, Shreedham Express, Jabalpur - Jammutawi Express, Gondwana Express, Malwa Express and Bhopal Express connect Agra with all major Indian cities like Thiruvananthapuram, Luckhnow, Alwar, Mathura, Aligarh, Jaipur, Ujjain, Jabalpur, Gwalior, Kochi, Indore, Bhopal, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Calcutta, Bombay and New Delhi every day.

Road

  • Inter State Bus Terminal (ISBT), Ford depot, Taj Depot and Idgah Bus Stand are the main Bus Stands in Agra, connecting it to cities in North India. It is a main junction of highways with 3 National Highways and 1 Expressway originating from Agra.

Local transport

  • Agra Municipal Corporation runs Bus services. Other modes of transport include autorickshaws and rickshaws. Polluting vehicles aren’t permitted near the Taj Mahal, so you must take Tanga or electric autos from a few kilometres outside the Taj Mahal.

Places of interest

Taj Mahal

  • The mausoleum of Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal is among the most famous buildings in the world. It is among the 3 World Heritage Sites in Agra and one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
  • The Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as the mausoleum of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It was completed in 1653. Finished in marble, it is the most beautiful monument in India. This perfectly symmetrical monument took 22 years for completion by jewelers, 20,000 workers and masons and is at the centre of landscaped gardens. It was constructed by the Persian architect on the Yamuna River’s south bank. It can be seen from Agra Fort, the place from where Emperor Shah Jahan viewed at it for the last 8 years of his life after he was imprisoned by his son, Aurangzeb. It is a work of art of symmetry. Verses of the Quran are engraved on it and there are 22 small domes at the top of the gate which signify the number of years the monument took to build. The Taj Mahal was constructed on a marble platform. The most stylish dome of the Taj Mahal has a diameter of 60 feet and it is 80 feet high. The tomb of Mumtaz Mahal is directly under this dome. Shah Jahan's tomb was built next to hers by his son Aurangzeb. The interiors are ornamented with fine inlay work, including semi-precious stones.

Agra Fort

  • Agra Fort (also known as the Red Fort), was built by Akbar in 1565, and is another World Heritage Site of Agra. During Shah Jahan's time, the red sandstone fort was transformed into a palace and reworked extensively with pietra dura and marble inlay.
  • Shish Mahal (mirrored palace), Khas Mahal, Jahangir's Palace, Diwan-e-Khas (hall of private audience), Diwan-e-Am (hall of public audience) and Pearl Mosque or Moti Masjid are notable buildings in the fort.
  • There is an inner paradise concealed in the forbidding exteriors of this fort. The fort is crescent in shape. Its total perimeter is 2.4 kilometres. A moat 10 metres deep and 9 metres wide surrounds the outer wall.
  • The fort is a classic example of Mughal architecture, showing how the North Indian style of fort construction differed from those of the South. In the South, the most of forts were constructed on the seabed.



Inside Fatehpur Sikri