Agra – India

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Agra is situated in northern part of India very near to New Delhi. Taj Mahal and the Agra fort are the must see places if you visit Delhi. These monuments are made by the Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan. The Agra Fort has a special historic relevance due to it’s importance during the Mutiny in India during the British rule.

Taj Mahal which is one of the eighth wonder of the world is made of white marble stone from Rajasthan. The art and design is most interesting because the drawings are made by cutting and inserting colourful precious semi precious stones on white marble slabs. Viewing the Taj Mahal on a full moon night is a mesmerizing experience because the monument glows like the moon. If you can do try to experience this.

Agra’s main period was as the capital of the Mughal empire between 1526 and 1658, the city was founded much earlier. Agra has also been mentioned in the ancient epic, the Mahabharata, while Ptolemy was the first person to call it by its modern name. So we can call Agra an ancient city with a lot of history and cultural heritage. The history of Agra began around the 11th century, and over the next 500 years, the city was controlled by various kings, both Hindu and Muslim.

In 1506, Sultan Sikandar Lodi, the ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, moved his capital from Delhi to Agra. His son Ibrahim Lodi was the last ruler of the Lodi dynasty and he was defeated in 1526 by Babur, the first Mughal ruler. Agra was thus lost from the hands of the Lodhi dynasty, and became the capital of the Mughals, whose ruled over Agra for many years.

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Agra is a major tourist destination because of its many Mughal-era buildings, most notably the Tāj Mahal, Agra Fort, Akbar’s Tomb and Fatehpūr Sikrī, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Agra is included on the Golden Triangle tourist circuit, along with Delhi and Jaipur; and the Uttar Pradesh Heritage Arc, tourist circuit of UP state, along Lucknow and Varanasi. Agra falls within the Braj cultural region.

If you visit Agra do visit the handloom and handicraft showroom of the tourism ministry. There is an exquisite collection of handicrafts made of marble stones, sand stones, metals and wood. Also they sell some very interesting fabrics and dresses made of fibers obtained from bamboo tree, banana tree etc. That’s really interesting. But do visit the government approved showrooms only for genuine products and reasonable prices.

Agra can be reached from New Delhi by car, bus and train. There are many hotels in Agra suiting all types of budget. While in Agra definitely visit the leather market from there you can buy leather shoes, bags, belts etc. at a very low price. Bargaining is very important there.

For visiting the Taj Mahal and the Agra fort definitely take a tour guide so that you can understand the history related to the monuments. Don’t pay more than Rs. 200 per guide although they will ask for more money.

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Taj Mahal & Agra Fort

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