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Agra, city on the banks of the Yamuna river in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Agra is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh, and the 24th most populous in India.

Agra is a major tourist destination, most notably for the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Agra is included on the Golden Triangle tourist circuit, along with Delhi and Jaipur. It falls within the Braj cultural region.

The history of Agra before the Delhi Sultanate is unclear. Sultan Sikandar Lodi (1488–1517) was the first to move his capital from Delhi to Agra in 1504, its administration was previously under Bayana. He governed the country from here and Agra assumed the importance of the second capital. He died in 1517 and his son, Ibrahim Lodīi, remained in power there for nine more years and several palaces, wells, and a mosque were built by him in the fort during his period, finally being defeated at the Battle of Panipat in 1526. Between 1540 and 1556, Afghans, beginning with Sher Shah Suri ruled the area. It was the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1556 to 1648. The city later was taken by the Marathas and later fell to the British Raj.

Places to Visit in Agra

                           Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal : Taj Mahal, 'Crown of the Palaces' is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the bank of river Yamuna in Agra,India.

It was commissioned by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (1628-1658) in 1632 to house the tomb and memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, a persian princess, who died giving birth to their 14th child Gauhar Ara Beghum.

Though, it also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan himself.

The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being the jewel of Muslim Art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the World Heritage. It is also regarded as the best example of Mughal architecture. It attracts 7-8 million visitors in a year.

In 2007, Taj Mahal was declared the winner of Seven Wonders of the World.

                          Agra Fort

Agra Fort: Agra Fort, (also known as Lal Qila) is a historical fort in the city of Agra,India was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638, when the capital was shifted from Agra to Delhi.

In 1983, Agra Fort has been marked as UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is about 2.5 kilometers northwest of the Taj Mahal.

Agra Fort is the only fort in India where all early Mughals lived. After the first Battle of Panipat (1526 A.D.), Mughals captured the fort and ruled from here. In 1530 A.D., Humayun was crowned here. The fort got its present look during the reign of Akbar (1556-1605 A.D.).

Other Historic sites in Agra Fort

  • Jahangiri Mahal
  • Khas Mahal
  • Musamman Burj (an octagonal tower)
  • Diwan-E-Khas (Hall of Private Audience)
  • Diwan-E-Aam (Hall of Public Audience)
  • Sheesh Mahal

                        Akbar's Tomb   

Akbar's Tomb: It is the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, situated in 119 acres of grounds in Sikandra, Agra. It is an important Mughal architectural masterpiece.

Emperor Akbar planned the tomb and selected a suitable site for it. After his death, Akbar's son Jahangir completed the construction in 1605–1613.

The south gate of the tomb is the largest, with four white marble chhatri-topped minarets which are similar to (pre-date) those of the Taj Mahal, and is the normal point of entry to the tomb. The tomb itself is surrounded by a walled enclosure of 105 m sq. The tomb building is a four-tiered pyramid, surmounted by a marble pavilion containing the false tomb. The true tomb, as in other mausoleums, is in the basement.

The buildings are constructed mainly from a deep red sandstone, enriched with features in white marble.

Decorated inlaid panels of these materials and a black slate adorn the tomb and the main gatehouse. The designs of panel are geometric, floral and calligraphic.

          Itmad-ud-Daulah (Baby Taj)

Itmad-ud-Daulah: It is a Mughal Mausoleum located on the eastern bank of the river Yamuna, in the city of Agra often regarded as the 'draft of the Taj Mahal'.

The mausoleum was commissioned by Nur Jahan, the wife of Jahangir, for her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg and his wife Asmat Beghum.

Along with the main building, the structure consists of numerous outbuildings and gardens. The tomb, built in 1622-1628, represents a transition between the first phase of monumental Mughal architecture – primarily built from red sandstone with marble decorations, as in Humayun's Tomb in Delhi and Akbar's tomb in Sikandra – to its second phase, based on white marble and pietra dura inlay, most elegantly realized in the Taj Mahal.

     Mehtab Bagh (Moonlight Garden)

Mehtab Bagh (Moonlight Garden): is a charbagh complex in Agra, North India. It lies north of the Taj Mahal complex and the Agra Fort on the opposite side of the Yamuna River, in the flood plains. The garden complex measures about 300 by 300 metres (980 ft × 980 ft) and is perfectly aligned with the Taj Mahal on the opposite bank.

The Mehtab Bagh garden was the last of eleven Mughal-built gardens along the Yamuna opposite the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort.

                Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri: It is a town 37 kilometers approx from the main city in the Agra District of Uttar Pradesh, India. The city itself was founded as the capital of Mughal Empire in 1571 by the Mughal Emperor Akbar.

Fatehpur Sikri sits on rocky ridge, 3 kilometres in length and 1 km wide and palace city is surrounded by a 6 km wall on three sides with the fourth bordered by a lake. The city is generally organized around this 40 m high ridge, and falls roughly into the shape of a rhombus. The general layout of the ground structures, especially the "continuous and compact pattern of gardens and services and facilities" that characterized the city leads urban archaeologists to conclude that Fatehpur Sikri was built primarily to afford leisure and luxury to its famous residents.

Other Historic sites in Fatehpur Sikri

  • Deewan-E-Aam
  • Deewan-E-Khaas
  • Panch Mahal
  • Khwabgaah