Agra is crowned with the glory of the unparalleled Taj Mahal with which Mughal architecture
reached its zenith. But there is much more to Agra. Many great monuments of unrivaled Mughal
architecture speak of the grandeur and glory that was the essence of Mughal Empire.
The splendor of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid reminder of
the opulence of the Mughal Empire, of which Agra was the capital in the 16th and
early 17th centuries. Agra silently speaks about the rich history of Mughal Empire
that is now buried in times, but is definitely not dead.
It's alive in every brick, every corridor. A visit to Agra is a timeless
journey into a glorious history.
The mausoleum was built by a grief stricken Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his
beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. Started in 1631 it took almost 22 years to complete.
The finest of skilled artisans were brought in to inlay the marble with semiprecious
stones and to enclose the cenotaph in lacy marble screens. The perfection of the
marble structure is set off by a serene green garden bordered by red sandstone walls
and tall gates. The Jilo Khana is the Main gate. A small museum at the left of the
main central chamber has the details the of how the Taj Mahal was built.
(The TAJ is closed on every Friday)
This splendid red sandstone Fort stands on the banks of River Yamuna.
Within are several exquisite palaces & pavilions-Moti Masjid or the Perl Mosque in white marble,
the Diwane-i-am and Diwan-i-khas the two audience chambers, Jehangiri Mahal, an elegant double
storeyed palace built in 1611, Khas mahal and Sheesh Mahal the beautiful palace of mirrors.
From the Samman burj an octagonal tower in the fort there is a fine view of the Taj Mahal.
It was here that Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son and spent his last days gazing
at the tomb of his beloved wife.
Known as the "Baby Taj", it is the first tomb in India built entirely
in white marble. The mausoleum rests in a walled garden close to the Yamuna River,
approximately one and a half kilometers upstream of the Taj Mahal.
Itmad-ud-Daulah's tomb is a highly ornate edifice, which is looked upon as an imminent
precursor of the Taj Mahal as far as elaborate carvings and inlay work are concerned.
The tomb that resembles a jewel box and set in a garden and it
was to inspire the construction of the Taj Mahal in the later years.
The entrance to Akbar's tomb in Sikandra is under a huge arched gateway, similar
to the Buland Darwaza at Fatehpur Sikri. There are beautiful calligraphic inscriptions
on the white marble front of the gate. As you enter the gate you will see a formal
garden in the charbagh tradition, and the tomb of Akbar situated at the center.
Within the same complex is another sober tomb made of red sandstone, which contains
the grave of Akbar's wife Mariam, the mother of Jahangir.
Intricate mosaic work in elaborate geomatric designes decorate the structure,
which is set in a spacious garden.
JAMA MASJID, AGRA
Opposite the fort and overlooking Agra Fort railway station,
the Jami Masjid or "Friday Mosque". Water buffalos pass by every day
around 4 pm on their way back home from the Yamuna River.
Along the wings of the main prayer wall, panels of beautifully inlaid sandstone
similar to those decorating the main gateway of the Taj Mahal.
Still in use today, the mosque is one of the city's main landmarks,
and serves as a useful reference point when exploring the crowded bazaars
that sprawl from its base. These are laid out in a street plan that's barely
altered since Moghul days, and is best negotiated on foot.
This tomb decorated with glazed tiles. It is the tomb of Allama Afzal Jhan Shukhrullah of Shiraz,
a well known poet scholar, who took employment with Jehangir in 1617 and later became
Prime minister under Shah Jahan. He died in Lahore in 1639 and his body was brought
to Agra and buried here.
A wedding precession near The Taj Mahal, the groom rides upon a decorated
horse slowly traveling down the road as people dance and a band plays leading
the way. Behind him 4 men carry a large decoration of colorful flashing lights.
A number of buses connect Agra with New Delhi and Jaipur. It takes around 4-5 hours to reach
Agra by bus. There are basically three interstate bus stands:
Idgah Bus Stand is the primary bus stand for intercity travel, in the heart of
the city, 8 km from the Taj.
Bijlighar Bus stand located near the Red Fort, 6 km from the Taj.
the bus stand at transport nagar, 12 km from the Taj, is only for other state's
bus services except U.P. Roadways.
Agra Cantt is the main railway station and lies southwest of the Taj and Agra Fort.
The station is very close to both Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. There are frequent
trains to Delhi as well as other parts of the country. There's a prepaid taxi
stand right outside that charges a flat Rs.120 to any hotel in the city.
From Delhi, It's only 200 km. The highway is also very good and
you can cover the distance in about 4 hours.
From Jaipur, it is about 255 Km and can be covered in around 4
hours on National highway 11.
From Gwalior, At a distance of around 120 KM, takes around 2
hours on the National highway 3
(Agra- Mumbai Highway) From Lucknow take National Highway 25 to Kanpur a distance
of around 90 KM. From Kanpur take NH2 to Agra a distance of 286 KM, a journey of
around 5 hours And Around 6.5 Hours from Lucknow.