Agra-has been immortalised as the City of the Taj . The Mughal capital of Agra on the banks of the Yamuna River is a bustling town teeming with narrow, winding alleyways that hark back to an era gone by. Dotted by magnificent monuments including UNESCO World Heritage Site Taj Mahal, the city is a dazzling contrast of red sandstone and white marble structures. Yet, it doesn't take much for the roving eye to discover that there's more to Agra than just the fabled Taj Mahal. The city is a virtual gateway to a world of discovery, a freeze-frame from a resplendent era that's long since gone by.
Sightseeing in Agra
Perhaps no other historical monument has evoked as much awareness and admiration from tourists and travellers alike, as the magnificent Taj Mahal - fondly called by people as the ultimate requiem of love, from the great Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaj Mahal. A massive white marble structure so delicate that it appears to float in the air, the Taj is otherworldly in its beauty and is best viewed in moonlight or at dawn and dusk. The close-up view reveals breathtakingly intricate inlay work carved into the marble, and bears eloquent testimony to the triumph of Mughal art, culture and architecture at its peak.
Situated on the west bank of the Yamuna river,Agra fort was built by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar between 1565 and 1573.The forbidding exteriors of this fort hide an inner paradise. There are a number of exquisite buildings like Moti Masjid - a white marble mosque akin to a perfect pearl; Diwan-I-Am, Diwan-I-Khaas, MusammanBurj - where Shahjahan died in 1666 A.D. Jahangir's Palace; Khaas Mahal and Shish Mahal.
It is the mausoleum of Emperor Akbar. It represents his philosophy and secular outlook, combining the best of Hindu and Muslim architectures in a superlative fusion. Completed in 1613 A.D., it is one of the well preserved monuments.His memorial imbibes architectural motifs of all the faiths that inspired him.
Itimad-ud-daula's : Tomb (Baby Taj)
Described as a "jewel box in marble" this exquisite marble tomb was made by Emperor Jahangir's queen, Nurjahan , in the memory of her father Mirza Ghias Beg during 1622-1628 A.D. Built entirely in white marble and inlaid with semi-precious stones, this mausoleum on the bank of the Yamuna River, exhibits a strong Persian influence.
Things to do :
Explore the bustling narrow winding lanes of Agra. The old ways are alive in hiden nooks and corners, and a short walk or rickshaw ride will take you back in time, into the lives of ordinary people during the Mughal era. Agra also makes for interesting shopping. Hunt for sweet pethas in the back alleys. Or visit bazaars in search of zardozi artworks, jewelry, stone filigree work and the ubiquitous Taj Mahal replica. Be prepared for some hard-nosed bargaining.