Agra,IN
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Why Travel Agra?

Agra is host to the only one of the Seven Wonders of the World in India, Taj Mahal, which makes the whole country proud. But that's not the only thing Agra has to boast of. Agra has three UNESCO World Heritage sites and Taj Mahal features in the 50 most popular tourist destinations in the world.

Placed on the banks of river Yamuna in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Agra is famed as a Mughal City. A perfect weekend option from Delhi, the city boasts of a glorious past and rich history. Agra is also counted as one of the most famous international holiday destinations. A haven of Mughal architecture, art and culture, Agra is home to a number of tourist attractions, three of which are World Heritage Sites. Agra’s history dates back to the Hindu epic Mahabharat, as Agraban, a forest of Mathura. Agra was established by Badal Singh in 1475 and was later made his capital by Sikandar Lodhi. The city is also quite popular for Peetha and Dal Moth, are 2 of the most popular local renditions. Shopping in Agra can be a delight for Shopaholics.


Connectivity :

By Rail : One of the most convenient ways to reach Agra from Delhi is by train. Agra has four railway stations, one of the most important railway stations is Agra Cantt. There are a number of super fast trains that connect these two cities.

By Air : Kheria Airport, the airport of Agra is well-connected to Delhi through regular flights. Regular flights ply between the two cities. This airport is around 7 km from the city centre.

By Road : Agra is well-connected to Delhi, by road. One can hire a private taxi from Delhi. You can also opt for state-run A/C buses. There is also an option of private A/C buses from Delhi.


Whether you love the spicy chaats or you have a sweet tooth, Agra never ceases to fascinate. Petha, a soft candy made from ash gourd is almost synonymous with Agra's cuisine and is a speciality. There are various new flavours and innovative presentations of this ever popular sweet dish from Agra. Panchi petha is the most popular shop in Agra, and there are so many of these that you won't even have to think where to get it from.

Another equally delicious item is the Chaat here. Agra has varieties of Chaat available including Aloo Tikki, Pani Puri, Papri Chaat, Samosa, Kachori etc all over the city. Another popular snack here is Dalmoth, which is a spicy lentil mix. The cuisine of the town also offers countless North-Indian and Punjabi relishes with a distinct influence of Mughlai cuisine.


An Ideal Itinerary :

Day 1 - Reach Agra by early morning and check into your hotel. Then, head to Fatehpur Sikri, the capital the capital of Akbar the Great during the 16th century. Do remember to visit the tomb of Itimad on your way back. In the evening, go to the famous Agra Chaat House and get a taste of the variety of street foods Agra is known for. Do not forget to taste the lip-smacking pethas.

Day 2 - Begin your second day early. Have a hearty breakfast and head towards the famous Taj Mahal. Try to reach Taj Mahal early as the entry becomes difficult as the day proceeds due to the heavy crowd. In the evening, go to the shops that bear the exquisite designs of the craft of Pietra Dura.

Day 3 - On the third day, visit the Agra Fort. It is 20 minutes away from the Taj Mahal. Next, you can visit the Kalakriti and experience the grand cultural Centre with beautiful art exhibits. Later on in the evening, you can go shopping at the Sadar Bazaar.


Few Places of Interest :

Taj Mahal
Called as the "symbol of love", the Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial for his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

Taj Mahal in Agra stands on top of a red sandstone base on which lies the huge white marble terrace. On the white marbled terrace rests the famous dome bordered by four tapering minarets. Within the dome like structure lies the jewel-inlaid cenotaph of the queen named Mumtaz. The Taj that is the casket of the emperor was built beside the queen's one as an afterthought. The emperor was once overthrown by his son and imprisoned in the Great Red Fort for eight years before being finally buried in the Taj Mahal.

The Taj Mahal stands for the Crown of Palaces in the Persian language. It rises from the dust-beaten earth of Uttar Pradesh. It is a breath stealing moment when the gates of this monument are traversed, and the Taj Mahal comes into focus. It is considered as the finest example of Mughal architecture and is now a UNESCO world heritage site. Covering a land over 60 bighas, the Taj Mahal was constructed using white marble obtained from Makrana in Rajasthan.

It took almost 17 years to complete the construction of the Taj Mahal, and it was finally completed by 1653. The tomb is laid out in a rectangular shape, and that can be approached through a massive gateway which has an arch and alcoves on either side of it. The Taj, so majestic from the exterior, has equally splendid artistic work done in the interiors. There are water channels and fountains in the entrance which makes the monument even more spectacular. Simply said, it is the most beautiful building in the world, and it's impossible to see it without feeling wonderstruck!

 

Agra Red Fort
Agra Fort is a World Heritage Site that captivates the onlooker at first sight with its colossal dimensions and stately aura. The majestic fort is located in the beautiful Indian city of Agra in Uttar Pradesh. Its premises contain a number of exquisite buildings like Moti Masjid, Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khas and Musamman Burj, where Shah Jahan died in imprisonment. Some of the other important monuments inside the Fort are Jahangir’s Palace, Khaas Mahal and Sheesh Mahal.

Known to many as Red Fort of Agra or Fort Rouge owing to the lavish use of red sandstone, the enclosure houses several sites and structures that display royal Mughal architectural heritage and splendor. Some of the exquisite structures that deserve a mention are:

Sheesh Mahal - Literally meaning 'Glass Palace', it was the royal dressing room adorned by tiny mirror-like glass-mosaic decorations on the walls.

Diwan-i-Aam - This was used as a communications ground between the public and the aristocracy and once housed the Peacock Throne.

Diwan-i-Khas - A hall of private audience, it was used to welcome kings and dignitaries.

Anguri Bagh – Built in Shah Jahan in 1637, Anguri Bagh, flanked by Khas Mahal on the east and red sandstones on the remaining three sides, this garden served as a private area of relaxation for the royal ladies. The garden is divided into various subdivisions with elaborate geometric patterns.

Khas Mahal - Khas Mahal, also known as Aramgah-i-Muqaddar, was a private palace built by Shah Jahan for his daughters Roshanara and Jahanara. It consists of heavily adorned ceilings and alcoves in the surrounding walls. The interiors of the palace captivate the onlookers with gold work, mural paintings, ornamental and floral designs.

Mina Masjid - Literally meaning 'Heavenly Mosque', it is a tiny mosque closed to the public. Built between 1631-40, this mosque was meant to be used by the emperor and the royal ladies. Enclosed on all sides by three walls, its architecture is quite plain yet elegant.

Nagina Masjid - Literally meaning 'Gem Mosque', it was designed exclusively for the ladies of the court.

Musamman Burj – Musamman Burg, or the Octagonal Tower, is believed to have been built by Shah Jahan as the palace of his beloved queen, Mumtaz Mahal. It was here that he spent his last days as his son Aurangzeb imprisoned him till his death along with his favorite daughter, Jahanara Begum. It offers exotic views of the Taj.

 

Fatehpur Sikri
A city, predominantly made of red sandstone, Fatehpur Sikri was founded in 16th century by Mughal Emperor Akbar. Back then it was the capital of his Empire for fifteen years. Now a UNESCO world heritage site and a famous tourist attraction, it is a fine example of Akbar's architectural finesse. Fatehpur Sikri is a home to Jodha Bai's palace , Jama Mosque, Buland Darwaza , and a Tomb of Salim Chisti. A paradise for History bugs and Photography nerds.

Derived from Arab and central Asian tent encampments, the Imperial Complex is a work of pavilions arranged in formal geometry on a piece of land. Furthermore, Fatehpur Sikhri is a work of Akbar's genius as reflected in its Major
Attractions-

Diwan-i-Aam
As the name suggests, Hall of Public Audience, it was meant to hold public meeting and gatherings. The settlement of public grievances at the hands of the Emperor took place over here. It is a multi-bayed rectangular pavilion like structure which faces a large open space. Standing on 49 pillars, the Diwan-i-Aam consists of a Jharokha type chamber which is also known as Takht-i-Murassa. This place has beautiful decorations all over its pillars and walls. Made of Marble is the Bethak where the ministers were to sit. Two gateways and three aisles divide the hall.

Diwan I Khas:
Built in the Persian architectural style, this building was the hall of private audience. Only the royal members assembled here to discuss private affairs. It has a roof with four Chattris. The Central Pillar with a square base and an octagonal shaft has brought fame to the architectural masterpiece. Floral and Geometrical designs increase the beauty of the base and shaft. Furthermore, it's thirty-six meandering paths act as a support to Akbar's platform. These are connected to every corner of the building on the first floor by four stone walkways.

Ibadat Khana:
Constructed in 1575 CE, Ibadat Khana or the House of Worship was a meeting house where Akbar had laid the foundations of Din-e-Ilahi. Here spiritual leaders of different religions gathered to conduct the discussions of the teachings of their respective faiths.

Panch Mahal:
An extraordinary structure at Fatehpur Sikri, the Panch Mahal has the design elements of a Buddhist Temple. Entirely columnar, it has four storeys in decreasing size built asymmetrically over the ground floor. The structure contains 176 columns with Jaalis or the screens suggesting the presence of Purdah System which the Queens had to follow.
The pavilion gives a splendid view of the fort. Panch Mahal has a pool, the Anoop Talab in front of it which once was a setting for musical concerts.

Tomb of Salim Chisti:
Enshrining the burial place of the Sufi saint, Salim Chisti, the tomb is the finest example of Mughal Architecture. It finds its place in the courtyard of the mosque. Emperor Akbar took on to the building of this tomb as a mark of respect for Salim Chisti who foretold the birth of Jahangir, Akbar's successor. The main building of this tomb is enclosed by the marble screens from all the sides. The door of the main chamber is carved beautifully with the patterns and inscriptions from Quran. The marble made floor has multi coloured stones laid over it. The inner chamber of the tomb consists of the wooden canopy where inlays the mosaic of the mother of pearl.
The Tomb is known for its Child Birth Blessings. Devotees from all over the country visit the tomb with a hope of fulfilment of their wishes. People tie threads over the marble screens as a reminder of their wishes to Salim Chisti.

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