Agra is a city located on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India. The city is privileged to have one of the woners of the world Taj Mahal in its city. As it is greatl said by the USA President Mr. Clinton that " The world is divided into two, one those who have seen the Taj Mahal and other who didnt.
Agra History : Long history of Agra has its reference in the ancient epic, the Mahabharata. But modern Agra was established by Sikander Lodhi of Lodhi Dynasty which ruled Delhi, during 16th century. Later it became the capital of Mughal Empire from 1526 to 1658. It was the golden era for Agra as most of their magnificent historical structures were constructed during this phase. Agra has the finest examples of Mughal architectural style which was the mix of Indian and Islamic styles. Besides Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri nearby are listed among the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Rajput rulers built Agra Fort which was later renovated by Mughal emperors Akbar and Shah Jahan. Golden era of Agra began to diminish when Shajahan shifted his capital to Shahjahanabad in Delhi. And today, Agra is the second Tier of India which is known for its tourist activities.
How to Reach agra City :
The famous place Agra is easily accessible from all parts of India and is nearest to New Delhi the capital of India. Mostly people land up in New Delhi and start their journey to Agra from here. As it is the hottest tourist's destination in India anyone can reach by taking one of the modes of transportation. It is well connected with rail, road and air and if you are starting from New Delhi it is just the distance from 204km.
The Agra airport is just 7 km away from the city center and 3 km from the bus stand. There are regular and almost daily flights from New Delhi with the journey of just 40 mins. There are as well regular flights from all the major cities to Agra.
If you are travelling by road, it is a great advantage that you be in any part of India; you will easily get a long distance bus to travel till Agra.
The city is well connected by rail with many superfast trains running to and fro from Agra.
Culture of Agra : Agra has very rich heritage and interesting culture. Agra is a historical city and was ruled by various different rulers at different times. There is reference to Agra in ancient epic Mahabharata. Its proximity to cities of Mathura and Vrindavan influences its culture also. Agra is influenced by Brij culture which is influenced by the tales of Lord Krishna. Modern day Agra was founded by Sikander Lodi of Lodi dynasty which ruled Delhi during 16th century. People of Agra celebrate all the major fairs and festivals belonging to different religions with great harmony. Taj Mahotsav is a cultural extravaganza which is celebrated every year in Agra.
Festivals in Agra:
Most of the festivals celebrated in the rural areas of Agra are greatly influenced by the life of Lord Krishna. Festivals are either religious festivals or the cattle fairs or the cultural festivals. Some of the festivals celebrated in its rural areas are Kans lila, cattle fair Jat Devi, Dauji ka mela, cattle fair Kund Mela, , Meta ki Puja Jat Devi, cattle fair Gwal Balba, Holi Milap, Mata-ka-mela, Shitla Mela, Kailash Mela, Parikrama of Shivji, Janamashthmi, Kali-ka-mela, Dussehra, Ram lila, Urs Sufi Sahib and Bateshwar cattle fair.
Agra's Main Attractions : :
Taj Mahal : Taj Mahal is an "dream of marble" or some say an realization of a "dream". Taj Mahal means Crown Palace. It is a Mausoleum that houses the grave of queen Mumtaz Mahal at the lower chamber who died at Burhanpur city of Madhya Pradesh in Central India during the birth of their 14th child, a daughter named Gauhara Begam. After the death of Mumtaz Mahal, her body was burried in Burhanpur, on the bank of Tapti river, for next 23 Years untill Taj Mahal was become ready. The grave of Shah Jahan was added to it later. In 1607 AD, Prince Khurram (Shah Jahan) fell in love with Arjumand Banu Begum, who was just 14 years old at the time. They finally get married after 5 years in 1612 AD.
Itmad-ud-Daulah : The tomb of Emperor Jehangir's father-in-law Mirza Ghiyas Beg, who was awarded the title of Itmad-ud-Daulah (the pillar of the state), it is a garden mausoleum set in the centre of a luxurious Persian garden. Said to be the precursor of Taj, it was the first Mughal structure made only in marble and used pietra dura, the inlay marble work for the first time. The architectural gem was the brain child of Empress Noorjehan that she built between 1622 and 1628 and is quite similar to the Jehangir's tomb built by her near Lahore in Pakistan.