Agra, a small city in Uttar Pradesh, built on the western bank of the Yamuna river, about 200 kms from Delhi, is one of the most important historical and ancient cities of India. Agra has become popular worldwide as it nestles the monument of love and one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Taj Mahal.
The massive monuments, majestic buildings and still flourishing arts and crafts including leather work and Pietra dura marble-inlay work along with delicious Mughal cuisine have now become an inseparable part or more, the identity of the city. Agra, is a must visit city on any tour of India.
Places of Tourist Interests
Taj Mahal - Reflecting the passions of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the Taj Mahal in Agra was built in the mid-1600s as a tomb for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Later he was buried beside her. The beauty, balance and peace of this symmetrical, marble masterpiece, from the detail of colored stone inlay arranged into intricate patterns of flowers and Arabic prayer to the perfect symmetry on every tower, make it a stunning and unforgettable monument. Flanking the Taj are two red sandstone mosques, which are also beautifully decorated. Only the western one functions as a mosque - the other faces the wrong way and is there purely for symmetry.
Agra Fort - The 16th century old magnificent Mughal monument... the Red Fort of Agra is a powerful fortress of red sandstone encompasses, within its 1.5 mile-long (2.5km) enclosure walls, the imperial city of the Mughal rulers. It comprises many fairytale palaces such as the Jahangir Palace and the Khas Mahal, built by Shah Jahan; audience halls such as the Diwan-i-Khas; and Sheesh Mahal (The Glass Palace), which, inlaid with thousands of mirrors was once the harem dressing room. There are also two beautiful mosques including Shah Jahans Pearl Mosque (sadly currently out-of-bounds).
Fatehpur Sikri - The deserted city Fatehpur Sikri was the capital of the Mughal Empire between 1570 and 1585. It was built under the personal supervision of the Emperor Akbar; he was childless and, having tried all sorts of solutions to his plight, visited a Sufi saint, Sheikh Salim Chishti, for help. Soon a son was born and, impressed and overjoyed, he started building on the site where he had met the saint. However due to a severe shortage of water the city was abandoned after only fifteen years and the capital was relocated back to Agra. As a result Fatehpur Sikri stands untouched and perfectly preserved; a complete medieval fortress of red sandstone, with vast central squares, exquisitely carved multi-tiered pavilions, cool terraces and formal gardens. Fatehpur Sikri is a 25 miles (40km) west of Agra, on the way to Jaipur.
Itmad-ud-daulah -This striking monument is the tomb of Ghias-ud-Din Beg, the father of Nur Jahan, built between 1622 and 1628. This white marble tomb, though not as large and as well known as the Taj Mahal, is no less strking, and has wonderful inlay designs and carvings.
Sikandra - The mausoleum of Emperor Akbar, built by his son Jehangir in 1613 AD, located just outside Agra, reflects a fusion of Hindu and Muslim architecture.
Shopping in Agra : Shopping - Agra is not only a famous tourist destination but is a shoppers paradise too. There are plenty of shopping areas and shopping malls where one can buy the specialties of the place . Agra's speciality is the marble inlay work, and there are various Emporiums displaying handcrafted marble inlay work. Agra is also famous for its leather goods industry . Handmade leather from Agra is exported the world over. Agra is also famous for the Zari and embroidery work, Stone inlay work and durries. The main shopping areas include Fatehbad road near the Taj Mahal complex, Kinari Bazaar, Raja Mandi, Sadar Bazaar, the Gangotri at Taj Mahal Complex and the U.P Handlooms, UPICA at the Sanjay place are two UP Government emporiums.