Agra, the city of THE TAJMAHAL came into limelight during the rule of Afghan King Sikandar Lodhi – who had made it the capital of his empire. Later in 1526 A.D., the Mughal Emperor Babar took upon himself the task for rendering Agra, a unique character and beauty of its own. Agra – in terms of ambiance is still associated with its Mughal period. The Mughals besides being great rulers were also great builders and they preserved their best architectural wonders for Agra & its neighbourhood. It has many wonderful monuments and the Taj Mahal, the greatest of them all, is a masterpiece of Mughal architecture at its best.
The Taj Mahal (closed on Fridays) is everything that has been said about it and more. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as an expression of his love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, in mid-17th century, the Taj Mahal is truly one of the wonders of the world. Though the Taj appears to be amazingly perfect from almost any angle, it is the close-up marble inlay work, which is really astounding.
The Agra Fort is an outstanding example of Mughal architecture. It has been the seat and the stronghold of the Mughal Empire under successive generations. Mughal Emperors – Shahjahan added the impressive quarters and the mosque while Aurangzeb added the outer ramparts. Visit its Hall of Public Audience and its Royal Pavilions.
Also visit Itmad ud Daula -This tomb was built in 1622 for Ghiyas Beg, father of Empress Noor-Jahan, the wife of Emperor Jahangir. It is beautifully conceived in white marble, mosaic and lattice and set a precedent as the first Mughal building to be faced with white marble inlaid with contrasting stones. Sometimes also called ‘Baby Taj’, it is small, intimate and has a gentle serenity.
Fatehpur Sikri – the deserted red sandstone city was built by the Great Mughal Emperor, Akbar, as his capital and palace in the late 16th century. It was abandoned soon after it was built when the local wells went dry and it remains today in much the same condition that it was over 300 years ago. It is complete with palaces and mosques and used to be a town larger than London when it was originally constructed. Now it is an extraordinary place to wander around with its buildings in near perfect condition.
Agra is famous for its handicrafts, leather shoes and bags and marble artefacts. You may find Taj Mahal replicas in all sizes all around the city for your friends or your office desk. The famous Petha is a special sweetmeat made from a variety of Pumpkin that goes through many levels of processing to finally come out as a chunky sugar infused translucent sweet. Many varieties of this sweet are available all over Agra. Dal Moth is the much preferred snack from Agra and is a mix of spiced Moth Dal (a kind of lentils) and fried gram flour sev (very fine noodles, crushed into tiny pieces). Must Try!