meters above sea level.
1309000 according to 2005 Census.
Time to Visit:
Agra is situated the bank
of Yamuna river. It has an average elevation of 171 metres On the
north it is bounded by Mathura, on the south by Dhaulpur, on the
east by Firozabad, on the south-east by Fatehabad and on the west by
Bharatpur. Agra is the third biggest city in Uttar Pradesh.
Agra is the one of
the prominent destinations of the World Tourism map with three
heritage monuments - The Taj Mahal, Red Fort & Fatehpur Sikri. It is
more just a dacadent city of graveyards and stones, but it is a
vibrant centre of Culture, Art and Religious philosphies that have
enriched mankind and shaped humen thought over
In the great plains of Uttar Pradesh, in the northern region of
India. About 204 kms. from south of Delhi.
Agra's climate is tropical and prone to extremes, reaching as high
as 45║C (113║F) during the summer and as low as 4║C (40║F) in the
winter. The rainy season is between June and September and the city
receives annual rainfall of 660 millimeters (26 inches).
How to reach there
Agra Airport is 7 km from the city center and 3 km from Idgah Bus
Stand. All major airlines operate daily tourist shuttle flights to
Agra, Khajuraho, Varanasi and back. It only takes 40 minutes from
Delhi to Agra.
Idgah Bus stand is the main bus stand in Agra, from where one can
catch buses for Delhi, Jaipur, Mathura, Fatehpur-Sikri, etc. Buses
for Mathura also leave
from Agra Fort bus stand.
Agra is connected throughout India by a well-organised rail-network
and specially to New Delhi, Varanasi and cities of Rajasthan. The
main railway station is the Agra Cantonment Station. As Agra lies on
the main railway line between Delhi and Varanasi a number of trains
pass through the city.
Shopping in Agra
We all know Agra to be the most sought after tourist destination in
India, which boasts of the magnificent Taj Mahal. But apart from its
beautiful monuments, Agra is also considered to be a great shopping
experience. It is in fact a shopper's paradise, especially for
international tourists who just don't tire of browsing through the
numerous shops and markets in Agra.
Agra is a great place to buy traditional artifacts and handicrafts,
which makes visitors flock these markets to carry something home.
One of the most popular items sold in the Agra shops is the replica
of the Taj Mahal. Anywhere you go in Agra, these mini Taj Mahals
occupy the place of pride in every shop. In fact it is an item every
visitor must include in his shopping list.
About Taj Mahal
One of the most beautiful
structures in the world, the Taj Mahal in Agra is something which
dreams are made of. This exquisite white and yellow marble structure
stands 55 meters tall and is one of the most visited sites in the
world. Built in 1653 by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of
his late wife Mumtaz Mahal, this "elegy in marble" can also be
called the ultimate tribute to everlasting love.
A combined workforce of 20,000 people toiled hard for 22 years to
build this structure, which clearly surpasses everything else in
beauty and elegance. It is also amazing that the Taj Mahal in Agra
cost the exchequer 32 million rupees even at that time. Four
graceful minarets adorn each side of the Taj and the mausoleum below
is a magnificent work of art that is decorated with a number of
precious and semi precious stones. In fact, everything about the Taj
Mahal is purely magic be it the beautiful monument itself or its
geometrically shaped gardens. The Taj Mahal Agra has not only
enthralled people for centuries but has also inspired a number of
poets and writers to bring out the best of their creative talents.
Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in one of his famous quotes
likened the Taj Mahal to a teardrop that glistened "spotlessly
bright on the cheek of time". What can be a better way to describe
this great saga of love?
Many people across the world nurse a secret desire to visit the Taj
Mahal at least once in their lifetime. Therefore it is not
surprising to see eternal romantics traveling half way across the
globe just to have a glimpse of the eternal beauty of the Taj. A
view of the Taj Mahal Agra on a foggy morning across the Yamuna
River is a very pretty sight. But nothing can surpass the mystic and
ethereal beauty of a glowing Taj Mahal on a moonlit night.
Nevertheless, at whichever point you visit this exquisite symbol of
love, the Taj Mahal's beauty is sure to cast a magic spell on you
Taj Mahal Location
Situated on the banks of River Yamuna the Taj Mahal in Agra is
like a dream rising out of the very depths of one's imagination in
all its beauty and splendor. Constructed on a raised sandstone
platform this magnificent structure is said to depict Emperor Shah
Jahan's vision of paradise. It may be noted that Shah Jahan was
actively involved in all the stages of the Taj Mahal's construction.
Many wonder as to why Shah Jahan chose to build the Taj at Agra and
not Delhi. The reason is that Agra was the Mughal capital during
that time, which made the Emperor decide in its favor.
Interestingly, soon after the construction of the Taj Mahal, Shah
Jahan shifted the capital to Delhi. Nevertheless, the site chosen by
him to raise his
dream structure was perfect in every sense. As you go to visit this
monument, you will be welcomed by beautiful gardens and arched
gateways lead you to the most beautiful symbol of love ever built.
Can there be anything more pleasing to the eye than the sight of the
Taj Mahal's marble fašade reflected on the waters of the Yamuna
River flowing nearby?
The Taj has been constructed in such a strategic manner that it has
the same view from all four sides and is distinctly visible from the
Agra Fort. It may be mentioned here that the Agra fort is the very
place where Aurangzeb imprisoned Shah Jahan, who spent his last days
gazing at his beloved's tomb waiting for death to unite him with her
Taj Mahal History
The Taj Mahal's history dates back to 1631 when Mughal Emperor
Shah Jahan's beloved wife Arjumand Bano passed away during
childbirth. Mumtaz Mahal, as she was affectionately known, was the
Emperor's constant companion, guide and the love of his life. They
first met as teenagers, got married in 1612 AD and thereafter were
inseparable. Mumtaz Mahal accompanied the Emperor to meetings, wars
and campaigns and it was during one such campaign that she passed
away shortly after giving birth to their 14th child. It is believed
that the Mughal court mourned the death of their beloved Empress for
more than two years. There were no celebrations or feasting on
holidays for a long time after Mumtaz Mahal passed away.
Before her death, Mumtaz Mahal expressed her wish that Shah Jahan
would "build a tomb in her memory such as the world had never seen
before." Thus stated the creation of one of the most beautiful
monument in the world, the Taj Mahal. A combined workforce of 20,000
people toiled hard for 22 years to build this structure, which
clearly surpasses everything else in beauty and elegance. It is also
amazing that the Taj Mahal in Agra cost the exchequer 32 million
rupees even at that time. At the fag end of Shah Jahan's career, he
was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb at the Agra Fort and at that
point of time the Taj Mahal was his only source of comfort. He used
to spend hours gazing at the Taj Mahal across the Yamuna. After his
death, he was laid to rest beside his beloved wife and their two
tombs are located in the basement of the
tourist attractions are not just limited to the Taj Mahal. However
it has to be admitted that the Taj overshadows everything else. But
it sure has a competitor in the Agra Red Fort, an elegant military
structure constructed by Akbar but partially converted into a palace
by Shah Jahan. This palace offers a grand view of the Taj Mahal
across the Yamuna River. You can also visit the Itmad-ud-Daulah
tomb, which displays some very exquisite carvings. Akbar's mausoleum
at Sikandarabad is also a peaceful place to visit. Other tourist
attractions in Agra include the Rambagh and Dayalbagh Gardens, Chini
ka Rauza and the Jama Masjidthat give you a feel of Agra's rich
If you want some more fun and adventure, you could always drive to
some of the tourist hotspots in the neighboring states of Uttar
Pradesh. The Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, situated at a distance of 70
kilometers from Agra is one of the most popular places to go on
excursions from Agra. Another popular getaway is Vrindavan located
at a distance of 55 kilometers from Agra. If you are willing to go
further, you can travel to the 'pink city' of Jaipur in neighboring
Rajasthan, which is perhaps the most colorful place to visit in
Akbar built this grand military structure in 1565, which occupies
the very center of the city of Agra. In fact, after the Taj Mahal
the Agra Fort is the second most popular tourist site in Agra. Even
though this 20 meter high fort was mainly constructed for military
purposes, Shah Jahan converted a part of it into a comfortable
palace during his reign. The Amar Singh Gate is the only entrance to
the Agra Fort, which also offers a magnificent view of the Taj Mahal
across the Yamuna River.
Even though public access is limited to the southern wing of the
fort, it is more than enough to get a feel of the glorious Mughal
period. It may be mentioned that this fort was the very place where
his son Aurangzeb imprisoned Shah Jahan for 7 years till his death.
The fort houses some very elegant halls and royal pavilions, the
Diwan-i-Aam and the Diwan-I-Khas halls being the most important
ones. The fort also has some very beautiful mosques and palaces that
were mostly built by Shah Jahan. The Sheesh Mahal
and the Khas Mahal are two of the most beautiful palaces within the
fort. Don't forget to have a look at the Anguri Bagh (the Grape
Garden), which is really a treat to the eyes.
The Mussaman Burj tower, which boasts of a beautiful marble balcony,
is another place to be visited within the fort. The most touching
aspect of this place is that Shah Jahan breathed his last here as he
continued to gaze at his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal's tomb, the Taj
One of the finest examples of Mughal architectural splendor, the
city of Fatehpur Sikri was built by Emperor Akbar during 1571 to
1585 AD. Akbar had originally planned this city as his capital, but
an acute shortage of water forced him to abandon the city after 12
years. Today, Fatehpur Sikri is a ghost town, but still retains its
old charm and beauty.
There are some fine monuments within this area like the Diwan-i-Am,
Diwan-i-Khas, Panch Mahal, Buland Darwaza and the tomb of Saint
Sheikh Salim Chishti. Fatehpur Sikri also boasts of the Jama Masjid,
one of the largest mosques In India. Another very interesting
feature at Fatehpur Sikri is the mammoth chessboard, where human
figures were used as chess pieces and moved at the emperor's will.
The Fatehpur Sikri has been predominantly built in red sandstone and
comes across as a very beautiful place that captures all the glory
and splendor associated with the Mughal era. In fact, a visit to
Agra can never be complete without visiting the Fatehpur Sikri,
which has always been a out of the world experience for tourists. If
you want to linger on after the crowds disperse, try watching the
sunset over the ruins, which would add up to a very beautiful
Itimad Ud Daulah's Tomb
The first example of a tomb built on a riverbank in India, the
Itimad Ud Daulah tomb houses the body of Mirza Ghiyas Beg, the
father Mughal Empress Noor Jahan who again was Emperor Jahangir's
wife. This beautiful tomb situated on the banks of the Yamuna is
also known as the 'baby Taj'. Built around 1625 AD, the Itimad Ud
Daulah Tomb, has many features that were later incorporated during
the construction of the Taj Mahal. Interestingly, the carvings on
this monument are said to be even better than that of the Taj.
Another distinguishable feature of this tomb is that it has been
built in the Central Asian pattern of a domed structure complete
with a formal garden, waterways and paths laid out in a geometrical
pattern. The Itimad Ud Daulah's tomb, built in pure marble is also
the first Mughal structure to make extensive use of the Pietra Dura
style of inlay work. One of the most beautiful tourist attractions
in Agra, the Itimad Ud Daulah would really be an interesting
experience for tourists.
The Rambagh Gardens in Agra has the distinction of being one of
the first Mughal pleasure gardens in India. Laid out by Babur, the
first Mughal Emperor, the Rambagh Gardens are located 3 km away from
the Tomb of Itimad Ud Daulah and 500 meters away from the Chini ka
Rauza. The Persian influence can be well discerned in the layout of
the garden that was designed in such a way as to resemble paradise
(in Islam the garden is considered to be a representation of
Also known as the Bagh-i-Gul Afshan, the garden is laid out in the
charbagh pattern with four main divisions made by paths and
waterways. A number of fountains, channels and waterways adorn the
magnificent Rambagh Gardens, which draws its water from the Yamuna
River. Noor Jahan, the wife of Emperor Jahangir, made a number of
additions to the Rambagh Gardens gardens, which have survived till
date. Another interesting feature of this garden is that Emperor
Babur was supposed to have been buried here for a brief while before
being entombed in his mausoleum in Kabul
Akbar's Tomb at Sikandara
Akbar's tomb at Sikandara is one of the most important tourist
attractions in Agra. Emperor Akbar started the construction of this
tomb himself, which was later completed by his son Jahangir. This
beautiful tomb is a grand affair built in the Indo-Saracenic style
with a variety of exquisite carvings and designs covering it. The
tomb boasts of a huge gateway named Buland Darwaza, which has been
modeled on its famous namesake in Fatehpur Sikri. The decoration on
the gateway is strikingly bold, with its large mosaic patterns.
Akbar's tomb at Sikandara is surrounded by a beautiful garden
enclosure laid out in the charbagh style.
The splendid gateway is adorned with four minars and displays some
striking inlay work of white marble on red sandstone. You can also
observe some beautifully executed calligraphic ornamentation that is
a treat to the eyes. An open terrace contained within large panels
of jail screens adds to the austere beauty of this unique structure.
Lavish stucco paintings in gold, blue, brown and green colors adorn
the portico in front of the grave at the basement. Close by stands
the red sandstone sample baradari-the tomb of Mariam Zamani,