Travel Destinations: Agra, India

Lian Slayford By Lian Slayford, 15th Feb 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/22p1nklk/
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Asia>India>Uttar Pradesh

This article explores the city of Agra in India as a great travel destination.

Travel Destinations: Agra, India

Travel Destinations: Agra, India

Agra, the capital of India during the reign of the Mughals, still retains that impressive splendour from past ages, especially with the fact that she is the home of the magnificent Taj Mahal. Agra is also known as part of the Golden Triangle, along with New Delhi and Jaipur, India’s most popular tourist region.

There is not much known of Agra before the Muslim era; one of the earliest chronicles describes it as a flourishing city situated at the crossroads between the north and centre of India with a robust fort in a chain of hills.

It wasn’t until 1504 that Agra emerged from a minor administrative centre to a capital when the Sultan of Delhi, Sikandar Lodi moved it here so that he could keep an eye out on the warring factions in his empire. You can still see the ruins of the impressive capital, making visitors reflect on the history and grandeur the city once had.

There are a number of great attractions to visit here. The Taj Mahal is the first port of call for anyone travelling here. The Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore once described it as “a teardrop on the face of eternity”, and for good reason. The Taj Muhal is the epitome of Mughal architecture, one of the most awe-inspiring buildings that have ever been created by man.

It stands as a testament to the love that the emperor Shah Jahan felt for his favourite wife, Arjumand Bann Begum (better known for her official palace title of Mumtaz Mahal, which means ‘Chosen One of the Palace’). It overlooks the Yamuna and is able to make any person stop still and just gaze in wonder at its brilliance.

Devastated by the loss of his wife during childbirth of their 14th child, Shah Jahan had the Taj Muhal created in her honour. It took over 20,000 men and more than 20 years to construct it. Marble was imported from Makrana, and semi-precious gems from all over Persia, Russia, Afghanistan, Tibet, China and the Indian Ocean. It was finally finished in 1653 and both Shah Jahan and his beloved wife were entombed here.

There is much more to Agra than just the Taj Mahal. Why not visit the Agra Fort. It dominates a bend in the Yanuma River about 2km north of the city and the red-sandstone fort looks as though it is on fire at sunset and sunrise. It was constructed between 1565 and 1573 in a half moon shape on the earlier foundations of Rajput fortifications. It became the stronghold for the Mughal empire right until the rulers fell and is still a testament to the power and strength they once held in their grasp.

It reaches over 20 meters in height and stetches out for about 2.5km with a series of impressive gates. The only one available to tourists to visit is the Amar Singh Pol but the most impressive one was Hathi Pol, otherwise known as ‘Elephant Gate’.

Another great place to visit is the Chini-ka-rauza, the mausoleum of the Persian poet, Afzal Khan. It was built during 1628 and 1639 and is the only Persian designed building in Agra, as the poet was purely Persian. He became one of Shah Jahan’s ministers and was awarded a tomb of his own when he died.

Agra is much more than the Taj Mahal; it is a place where visitors can shop until their hearts’, or wallets, drops, view the magnificent architecture and visit wonderful cultural attractions. It is a place where you can feel the magic and the grandeur of the past come alive once more.

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India, Indian, Indian Independence Day, Indian Republic Day, Indian School Of Business, Trave, Travel, Travel By Train, Travel Nepal, Travel Tips

Meet the author

author avatar Lian Slayford
Lian is a Research Archaeologist, specialising in Religious Archaeology.

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