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Index  >>Agra  Lucknow   Kanpur   Allahabad   > Varanasi     Ayodhya    Mathura-Vrindavan

Uttar Pradesh  Map

AGRA TOUR

Hotels in Agra    


About Agra

   

Area:

62 sq km

 

Altitude:

169 meters above sea level.

Rainfall:

66 cm average yearly 

Climate of Agra: 

Summer:
Winter:

21.0 C-45.0 C
4.2 C-32.0C

Population: 

 1309000 according to 2005 Census.
 

Best Time to Visit:

August to April 

Language:

Urdu, English, Hindi

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
centuries.
 

Agra Location
In the great plains of Uttar Pradesh, in the northern region of India. About 204 kms. from south of Delhi. 

Climate
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 

Air :

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.

Road :
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.

Rail :
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 forever.


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 forever.


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
Taj.

Agra Excursions

Agra's 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 past.

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 India.

Agra Fort
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 Mahal.


Fatehpur Sikri
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 experience.


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.

Rambagh Gardens
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 Paradise).

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, Jahangir's mother

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