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AGRA FORT

 
Built principally as a military establishment by Akbar in 1565, the red sandstone Agra fort was partially converted into a palace during Shah Jahan's time. Though the principal structure was built by Akbar, many more additions were made by his grandsons. This massive fort is 2.5 kms long and is considered as the predecessor of the Delhi Red fort. The colossal walls are 20 feet high and the whole fort is encircled by a fetid moat. Amar Singh gate towards the south is the only entry point in the fort. The building and structures inside the fort gives an impression of a city within the city. Many of the buildings inside the fort are now closed for the public. The marble pearl mosque inside the fort is one of the most stunningly beautiful mosques in India.

Agra Fort is entered today at the south end, through a low outer wall and gate (shown here) built by Aurangzeb. Visitors then pass in succession through two of Akbar's gates, the Amar Singh and the Akbari, before finally gaining admittance to the fort proper. The original entrance to the fort was through the grander Delhi Gate in the west wall.
 

TAJ MAHAL

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Taj Mahal means "Crown Palace" and is in fact the most beautiful tomb in the world. The marble wonder is the largest and the most extravagant mausoleum built for the sake of love by a person. The grandeur & glory of Taj has reached every corner of the world. This timeless piece of art has been the inspiration for many artists and architects, ever since its creation. Its very difficult to adequately convey the legend in a picture or write in a piece of paper.

Taj Mahal, this is a mausoleum of the King Shah Jahan’s beloved wife Mumtaj Mahal. The construction of Taj Mahal was begun in 1630 and took 23 years to complete in the year 1653. Made up of white marble, Taj Mahal Agra changes its shades through out the day with the sun light. Taj Mahal in Agra is a symbol of a man’s ever lasting love for his wife. Now after three centuries since its construction, Taj Mahal has been seen by millions of people from all across the globe and it is still the most attractive monument in the world.

 

FATEHPUR SIKRI

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Fatehpur Sikri served as the capital of the Mughal Empire between 1570 and 1586. But as abruptly as it had been built, it was abandoned due to the scarcity of water. A popular legend is attached to the city's conception.

During the days of Akbar, the most prominent of the Mughal emperors, Fatehpur Sikri was the capital of Mughal India. Houwere after his death the city had been abandoned. Though very unlikely, the most popular reason told for this is some kind of water shortage or drought in the capital region.

Fatehpur Sikri is now a ghost city, popular among both tourists and archeologists. What you can see is magnificent ruins of the bygone era, some are in excellent state pf preservation, and some are literally covered by shrubs and bushes.

 

BULAND DARWAZA

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The Buland Darwaza is approached by 42 steps. The Buland Darwaza is 53.63m high and 35 meters wide. Buland Darwaza is the highest gateway in the world and an astounding example of the Mughal architecture. The Buland Darwaza or the magnificence gateway is made of red and buff sandstone, decorated by carving and inlaying of white and black marble. An inscription on the central face of the Buland Darwaza throws light on Akbar's religious broad mindedness. Buland Darwaza or "high doo"',is a grand gateway constructed by Emperor Akbar to commemorate his victory over the King of Khandesh (Gujarat) in 1573. It is also known as the 'Gate of Magnificence'. This triumphal arch was built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, when he defeated the king of Khandesh or Gujarat in 1573.

The name Buland Darwaza means 'High Door' and this victory arch rises to a height of 40 meters or 175 feet. It is the most striking monument in Fatehpur Sikri and can be seen from quite a distance. Rising impressively towards the sky, the Buland Darwaza is approached by a series of steps. You will pass under the massive arch of the Buland Darwaza when you enter the city of Fatehpur Sikri.

 

ITMAD-UD-DAULAH'S TOMB

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Before the Taj Mahal was built, its design was already standing in the form of Itmad Ud Daulah's Tomb. Built to represent a silver jewel box in marble, this mausoleum houses the body of Mirza Ghiyas Beg, the father of the Mughal Empress Noor Jahan.

Itmad-ud daulah, one of the most beautiful of Mughal tombs, stands across the river Yamuna from the Taj Mahal, nearly one and a half kilometers up-stream. Belonging to the age of Jahangir, it contains cenotaphs of Mirza Ghiyas and Asmat Begum, parents of the powerful Mughal Empress Nurjahan queen of Jahangir, an exceptional beauty and an astute administrator. The tomb marks a significant departure from the tombs of the Mughal dynasty built before its construction.

The pure white and elaborately carved tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah conforms to the Islamic style of architecture. The use of arched entrances, octagonal shaped towers or minarets, use of exquisitely carved floral patterns, intricate marble-screen work and inlay work are all representative of the Islamic style.

 

Chini ka Rauza

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Chini-ka-rauza is situated at a distance of less than one kilometer north of Itmad-ud-daulah on the same side of the Yamuna. It is built in 1635. Neglected and decaying, its soft brown stone is exposed to the elements and is now crumbling away into the riverbank. Topped with an Afghan-style bulbous dome, the dull earth-coloured tomb is a far cry from Nur Jahan's delicate work, but is distinctive as Agra's sole Persian construction. Parts of the walls are still covered with the coloured enamel tiles (chini) that once enhanced the whole of the exterior and gave the tomb its name, while traces of paintings and Islamic calligraphy can still be made out on the high domed ceiling. It is a rectangular structure, having beautiful title work in glazing colours, and is surrounded by a great bulbous dome. On the top of the chamber some Quranic texts are inscribed on it. Although it is in a dilapidated condition, but still its craftsmanship is worth seeing.

There are two cenotaphs in its middle, one of Shukruilahtered irt the service of Jahangir in 1618 A.D. and became the Finance minister of Shah Jahan, who died in Lahore in 1639 A.D. His dead body was brought from Lahore and was graved here.

 

RAMBAGH

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The Rambagh Gardens or Bagh-i-gul Afshan as they are also known were established by Babur and later renovated by Nur Jahan, wife of Jahangir and one of the most influential Mughal empresses.

The Garden which is also known as Bagh-i-Gul Afshan is planned following the Charbagh pattern which consists of four main divisions crisscrossed by paths and waterways. Water which forms a very integral part of Islam is almost likened to life in these pleasure parks. The main source of water in the Rambagh Gardens is the Yamuna from which water is distributed all around the park in a series of three cascades developed over three terraces. Besides these there are stairs on either side of the water channels, fountains, an island platform and two pavilions on either side of the main water channel, that truly go a long way into converting the Rambagh Gardens into a real paradise.

 

MEHTAB BAGH

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Mahtab Bagh Agra built in 1631 to 1635 and situated on the sandy bank of Yamuna River just opposite the Taj Mahal mausoleum. The name Mehtab Bagh means 'Moon Lit Garden' and the same was testified by the beautiful reflection of Taj Mahal in the pool at night in Mahtab Bagh. The place has a history of its own. It is believed that the great emperor Shah Jahan who built Taj Mahal for his queen wanted an identical one for himself at Mehtab Bagh. However the archaeological findings have proved the existence of garden complex. Whatever the popular beliefs be, the place is worth a visit as it provides bewitching image of Taj Mahal.

The important attraction of Mehtab Bagh is Taj Mahal itself. The garden has been renovated by the Archaeological Survey according to the original plan. The place has been enriched with vegetation and at present more than 40 species of plants bloom in the garden. The garden has been built in a typical Charbagh fashion.

 

DAYALBAGH

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The Dayal Bagh Gardens have been founded in the memory of Shiv Dayal Sahib the founder of the Radhasoami Satsang Movement, a religious movement that was begun in 1861. The movement basically follows a code that is an amalgamation of a number of other religions such as Hinduism, Christianity, Sikhism and Buddhism.

The architecture of the Dayalbagh Gardens follows much of the same pattern of amalgamation of the traits of different religions like the Radhasoami Satsang movement itself. Thus, this beautiful memorial gives examples of different architectural styles such as those that can be found in temples, gurudwaras, viharas and mosques all across the country. Impressive at a height of around 110 feet, the memorial is built completely in white marble with majestic pillars.

 

TAJ MAHAL GARDEN

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Taj Mahal gardens, Agra mostly feature religious motifs. The Water Garden, for example, is divided into four equal squares by two marble canals. The garden is bounded by cypress trees and fountains; the garden conjures up the Islamic concept of heaven where rivers of water, milk, wine and honey flow. At the center of the garden and the mausoleum a lotus shaped tank is located. The water in the tank acts as a reflective facade and the image of Taj can be seen on the water from any spot in the garden. The exclusive location of the tank helps the mirror like viewing of this extravagant monument of love.

 

JAMA MASJID

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Posted on a high podium approached by stairs, with five arched entrances to the courtyard, the mosque is crowned by three large sandstone domes notable by their winding bands of marble. Jama Masjid, flanked by the Zenana Rauza and the Jammat Khana hall on either side, is built in a manner that underlines its importance as a sacred place of worship.

Inlaid geometric designs, colored tiles and calligraphic inscriptions adorn the walls of the Jama Masjid. The massive central courtyard in the mosque has served as a haven for prayer and meditation for the devoted over the centuries. The tomb of the celebrated Sufi saint Sheikh Salim Chisti is located within the Jama Masjid complex.

Along the wings of the main prayer wall, large enough to accommodate 10,000 men at a time, panels of magnificently inlaid sandstone add a feminine touch. The building comprises of pillared Dalan, a beautiful Chhajja and the Chhatri on the roof. The main Iwan of the building is rather simple and contains a central arch with geometrical designs.

 

MANGLESHWAR TEMPLE

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The Mangleshwar Temple in Agra is reckoned among the most celebrated religious sites of Agra. It is situated towards the western part of the Agra city center in the Gokal Pura area. This temple is very lavishly bedecked during festivities and exemplifies the religious diversity in Agra. Truly speaking, a visit during Hindu festivities will bring in spotlight the Hindu style of worship. The entire ambience of the temple acquires a gorgeous, animated and colorful look.

If you are also interested in paying Agra Mangleshwar Temple a visit and basking in its architectural splendor and religious importance then do come here. It is very near to the central railway line. This rail line connects the northern and southern regions of the Agra city. You can also come here by Ramratan Road.

 

GURU KA TAAL

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Guru Ka Taal is the most revered place of the Sikh's located in Agra. The place is said to be visited by four of the ten gurus of the Sikhs. The gurudwara has been built over the stop where Guru Tegh Bahadur offered his arrest to the Mughal king Aurangzeb. The splendid gurudwara which stands in the precincts of Sikandra is due to the noble contributions and efforts of Sant Sadhu Singh Mauni during 1970's. The place is an important pilgrim place for Sikhs and every year thousands of devotees flock into the Agra city. For these people the land out there is blessed.

This 17th century red stone structure is reckoned among the magnificent architectural wonders of India. Boasting elaborate stone carvings and 8 towers of the 12 original towers, this gurudwara beckons travelers from far and away to bask in its glory.

 

MOTI MASJID

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Moti Masjid, Agra is also known as the Pearl Mosque. It was built inside the Agra fort in 1654 during the reign of Shah Jahan (1627-1558). It was built as a military establishment principally by Akbar in the year 1565. During Shah Jahan's time, the red sandstone fort at Agra was partially converted into a palace.

The exteriors of the mosque seem to be made of brick. The monumental mosque was built at that time at an exponential cost of three lakh of rupees and had a marble-paved court. The marble tank situated centrally in the court and the sundial made up of an octagonal marble pillar in one of its corners are quite impressive. There are arcaded cloisters surrounding the courtyard on the northern, eastern and the southern sides with twelve sided pillars and cusped arches while the prayer chamber is on its western side.

 

TAJ MUSEUM

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The Taj Mahal Museum in Agra, India was founded in 1982. It is situated in the ground floor of Naubat Khana in the west. Naubat Khana is also referred to as Jal Mahal and is a 2 storied building standing on an elevated platform.

The museum comprises of three galleries in addition to the main hall and has on display various exhibits relating mostly to the construction of the Taj Mahal and to the period of its builders. Totally 121 antiquities are on display, which are broadly categorized as Mughal miniature paintings, manuscripts, government decrees, specimen of calligraphy, arms, utensils, plans and drawings of Taj Complex, paintings, specimen inlay work, marble pillars, etc.

 

JAHANGIRI MAHAL

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Jehangiri Mahal, situated north of the gate at the end of a spacious lawn. Built by Akbar as a residence for his son Jehangir, the palace is the largest private residence in the fort, a superb blend of Hindu and Central Asian architectural styles. This is the first notable building that the visitor sees on his right hand side at the end of a spacious lawn, as one enters through the Amar Singh Gate and emerges out of the passage. It was built by Akbar as women's quarters and is the only building that survives among his original palace buildings. It is built of stone & is simply decorated on the exterior.
 

JODHA BAI'S PALACE

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Jodha Bai's Palace also known a Marium Uz Zamani Palace was the palace of Jodha Bai, Akbar's third wife. The structure has a plain design and is part of the female section of the Royal Palace, where queens of the emperor used to live. Jodha Bai's palace is the largest and most important part of Imperial Harem, having all facilities, provisions and safeguards. The name Jodha Bai palace is a misnomer in itself. It is most widely accepted that the building was for Raniwas or Zenani-Dyodhi.

The palace building consists of a rectangular block measuring 231'8"x215' in dimension, with a single magnificent gateway on eastern side, which was protected by guard rooms, having triangular ceiling and other apartments. Several Hindu motifs have been used in the building, which confirms that occupant of the building was a Hindu lady.