Agra India is also known as Agraban, so named in the Mahabharat, an epic tale of Indian mythology and history. It is a city steeped in culture and history; however, through the pages of time, Agra has maintained her dignified beauty and identity as one of India’s treasured destinations, with the majestic Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, and Fatehpur Sikri forming a trio of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, where locals and visitors congregate in honor of the past and culture of India.
The most widely accepted establishment of Agra India is dated at 1504, with the Sultan Sikander Lodi, the ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, when he shifted the capital from Delhi to Agra. However, this historical city lays claim to several links to periods near 1000 BC through the Mahabharat. Agra witnessed the most growth during the rule of Mughal Empire, beginning with Emperor Akbar, at which time, the city was name Akbarabad. During this era, the city entered its golden age of construction, expansion, commerce, arts, education, and beautification. It was at this time that many of Agra’s major structures that attract today’s visitors were constructed, including Agra Fort, also called the Great Red Fort, and the Taj Mahal. At the decline of the Mughal Empire, British reign and influence dominated the area until the independence of India, and the capital was shifted back to Delhi.
The heart of Agra, her main throb of tradition and time, is the grand structure of the Taj Mahal. This iconic structure is much more than a monument, but an expression of love and devotion, a center of spiritual adoration, and an illustration of the country’s sparkle of culture. Often regarded as one of India’s most well-loved and captivating monuments, the structure was appointed by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as the final resting place for his most beloved wife and queen, Mumtaj Mahal, a structure that is said to have put Agra on the map. Hands down, the very best time to visit the Taj Mahal is said to be late evening, when the red sun is hovering just over the horizon, lighting the entire palatial monument in an aura of enchantment. This is by far the most visited site in the city, and there are numerous hotels near the Taj Mahal.
Crafted of stone in the fashion of a military camp, Fatehpur Sikri was commissioned for construction by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, where he moved his headquarters and capital. Over the largest gateway in the fort (in fact, the largest gate) in the world, Buland Darwaza, a structure built to commemorate a major victory over Gujarat, is an inscription with the words of Jesus, illustrating Akbars global view of religion; it reads, “Isa(Jesus), Son of Mary said: ‘The world is a bridge, pass over it, but build no houses upon it. He who hopes for a day, may hope for eternity; but the world endures but an hour. Spend it in prayer for the rest is unseen.’”
Built several centuries before the entry of the Mughal Empire, the Agra Red Fort was commissioned for reconstruction by Emperor Akbar, where he repositioned his headquarters after a shortage of water was experienced at Fatehpur Sikri. Throughout the rule of Mughal Emperors, many additions and edifices were completed, resulting in the strikingly magnificent citadel seen today. Among the most notable structures within the walls of Agra Fort include Khas Mahal, Jahangir’s Palace, Shish Mahal (Mirrored Palace), the Pearl Mosque, and the Musamman Burj.
Together with Jaipur, home of the Amber Fort, and New Delhi, home of another great Red Fort, the city of Agra is part of what is called the Golden Triangle of India, a circuit of destinations that form a geographical triangle. This routeis very popular with visitors abd ranges over a broad spectrum of the country’s landscapes and cultural treasures.
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