Possess a germ of exploring new places in you? Here is a perfect destination for the history buffs, artists and the hodomaniacs! So have a whale of time experiencing the zenith of exquisiteness and picturesqueness across the Heritage Arc of Uttar Pradesh…
A city of North-Central India on the Yamuna River Southeast of New Delhi and the imperial capital of erstwhile Mughal Sultanate, Agra, is a town of unspeakable grandeurs. The city symbolizes architectural technology, craftsmanship, affluence and sophistication attained by the culture during the Mughal epoch. Highlighting the cultural heritage of our country, the city also boasts of majestic archetypical monuments and imposing museums having a unique attractive force.
The premier city is auspiciously crowned with one of the Wonders of the World, the iconic Taj Mahal that is “…suspended on the cheek of time like a solitary tear” (R.N.Tagore). The ornate mausoleum is not just a piece of architecture but the icon of the proud passion of an emperor’s love wrought in living stones. So this summer get set to bask in the glory of the mausoleum of love that shimmers like a fairy-tale castle built for a legendary princess. “I would die tomorrow to have such another over me”, said the British Officer, Colonel Sleeman’s wife when she beheld the sight of the Taj.
Besides Taj, there are scads of attractions to see namely:
The Agra Red Fort, also known as the “Lal –Qila”, “Fort Rouge” or “Qila-i-Akbari”, is the highlight of the city of Agra, and a symbol of power, strength and resilience, as it stands today in full glory. Adorned as one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, the fort can be more accurately described as a walled city. Interestingly, the fort was the site of a battle during the Indian rebellion of 1857.
Akbar’s tomb in Sikandra is an important Mughal architectural masterpiece, which was built between1605-1613. Akbar himself commenced the construction of this tomb. Fenced by a 105 m square walled enclosure, the tomb is a four-tiered pyramid surmounted by a marble pavilion. The buildings are fabricated mainly from a deep red sandstone, enriched with features in white marble. Ornamented inlaid panels of these materials and a black slate adorn the tomb and the main gatehouse.
Itmad-Ud-Daulah’s Tomb, also referred to as a jewel box, Baby Taj and even a draft of the Taj Mahal is a beautiful Mughal mausoleum. The tomb, built between 1622 and 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. Criss-crossed by water courses and walkways, the mausoleum is steeped in a vast cruciform garden on the bank of the Yamuna River.
Mankameshwar Temple, an ancient temple devoted to Lord Shiva. It is said that the shiv linga is covered by silver metal and was founded by Lord Shiva himself during Dwapara era. Lord Shiva said, “My wishes were fulfilled here; Whosoever in coming future comes here with his mankamna(wishes) this lingaswaroop will fulfil his or her mankamna(wishes)”. From then onwards this lingaswaroop is recognized as Shri Mankameshwarnath. It is thus, a pilgrimage for the believers.
Gurudwara Guru Ka Taal marks the holy place of Shri Guru Tegbahadur Sahib Ji. Numerous devotees collect every year to pay homage to the great Sikh guru. This red stone structure bears similarity to many other magnificent structures of the Mughals like the Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri etc., and hence attracts countless of visitors from all over the country.
Jama Masjid, popularly known as the Jami Masjid or “Friday Mosque”, is one of the largest mosques in India. Constructed in 1648 by Emperor Shah Jahan, the mosque is dedicated to his adoring daughter, Jahanara Begum. The charismatic designs of the mosque reflect beautiful Iranian architecture. Being a most sought after pilgrimage site by the devotees, it is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Agra.
Ram Bagh, the oldest Mughal Garden in India, originally built by the Mughal Emperor Babur in 1528. It is variously known as Bagh-i Nur Afshan ‘Light-Scattering Garden’, Aalsi Bagh or ‘Lazy Garden’ According to a legend, Emperor Akbar proposed his third wife, who was a gardener there, by lying idle for 6 days until she agreed to marry him.
Fatehpur Sikri, an epic in red sandstone, is about 39km from Agra, built by the Mughal Emperor, Akbar and is well known as the city of Ghosts. It is a perfect blend of Indian, Islamic and Persian architecture. It is at Fatehpur Sikri that the legends of Akbar and his famed courtiers, the nine jewels or Navaratnas were born. Fatehpur Sikri is one of the finest preserved collections of Indian Mughal architecture in India.
Standing apart for the sheer excellence, the city also encompasses enchanting bazaars and palaces where vestiges of the glory of the empire may still be seen and felt.
This ancient land, studded with numerous architectural gems, also encompasses many artistic expressions like marble stone- inlay work, sculpture and Murals of Agra etc. A rare collection of handicraft stuff, valuable leather items like shoes, belts and bags, exquisite jewellery, embroidery works and the renowned brassware and carpets are a magnet for the visitors.
Undeniably, Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance. Come and be a part of the region’s tempestuous historical journey and discover the reason behind it being included in the famous Golden Triangle Tour of India!