The City of The Taj
Agra: The city known for the famous monument of love - the Taj Mahal. Taj Mahal was constructed by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jehan. It is said he built this monument in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is ethereal at any part of the day - blushing in the rosy glow of dawn or sunset , appearing like a pearly mirage in the moonlight or reflected in the pools of the garden . Perhaps the most moving view of the Taj is from an octagonal tower in the Agra Fort further along the river Yamuna.
There are very few cities in the world that can match the history and heritage of Agra. Located at a distance of 204 km south of Delhi, Agra is the single most famous tourist destination of India. Situated on the west bank of River Yamuna, Agra is a part of the great Norther Indian plains. The architectural splendor of the city is reflected in the glorious monuments of medieval India built by great Mughals who ruled India for more than 300 years.
In the mid 16th century and earlier 17th century Agra witnessed a frenzied building activity and it was during this time when the symbol of love Taj Mahal was built. The buildings made during this era were purely in the contemporary Mughal style and of very high quality which is still reflected in what ever monuments remain in Agra. History of Agra Agra, the city of Taj was established in 1475 by Badal Singh. Agra finds mention in the Mahabharata as Agraban. Agra city in those days was considered to be the sister city of Mathura which was more prominent than Agraban. Agra came into its own when the Lodhi Kings chose this place beside the Yamuna to be their capital city. Sikander Lodhi made Agra his capital but Babar defeated the Lodhis to capture not only Agra but also laid the foundation of the Mughal empire.
The coming of Babar heralded a new era which was to see Agra at its zenith during the reign of Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jahan. It was during Akbar's period that Agra became the center of art, culture and commerce and learning. This trend reached its height when Shah Jahan became the ruler.
In the mid 16th century and earlier 17th century Agra witnessed a frenzied building activity and it was during this time when the symbol of love Taj Mahal was built. The buildings made during this era were purely in the contemporary Mughal style and of very high quality which is still reflected in what ever monuments remain in Agra.The narrow lanes of Agra filled with aroma of Mughlai cuisine, the craftsman who are busy in crating master pieces with their skill all remind of the Mughal royalty which this city had once experienced. Today whatever remains, has become a major tourist attraction which has taken Agra again to the heights of glory but this time as a major tourist destination of India. Shopping in Agra 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 specialities of the place. Agra is famous for the Taj Mahal made out of Marble, the markets are bound to have replica of the Taj in marble being sold as decorative, gift item or as souvenirs. But the all that looks is not marble. There is one stone called Talk. This stone is cheap and looks like marble only difference being that marble is opaque and talk is not. So, while purchasing any marble item make sure that you are buying the original thing.
Agra is also famous for the leather items. Agra is the hub of hand made leather items. Particularly the Agra jail inmates are make these items which are sold to give them a decent earning. The local artisans are also good at making leather chappals (sandals), purses, bags, decorative items and many more such leather product which instantaneously attracts your attention. In the handicraft craft emporiums and shops there are sandal and rose wood items even though there are no rose or sandal wood forest nearby. The shops also have brass decorative pieces and stone carved images. Agra is also famous for the Zari and embroidery work, Stone inlay work and durries.
The main shopping areas in Agra include Taj Mahal complex, Kinari Bazaar, Raja Mandi, Sadar Bazaar. the Gangotri at Taj Mahal Complex and the Up Handlooms, UPICA at the Sanjay place are two UP Government emporiums. How to get there By Air Agra is one of the hottest tourist destinations in India and all facilities have been provided for the easy access to this place. It has its own airport which connects Agra with all the major places in India. The Agra airport or the Kheria airport has all the major domestic airlines having their services to this place of the Taj.
By Rail Agra is a major railway station with almost all the trains to south India, Mumbai and many trains to Calcutta stopping here. Agra city is visited by the "Palace on Wheels" .The Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains have also their stoppage in Agra. The city is well connected by trains to almost every corner of the nation.
By Road Agra has the National Highway Numbers 2, 3, 11 passing through it. So the premier tourist destination of India, Agra is also well linked by bus services to other places in the State as well as outside the state. The state transports have deluxe as well as ordinary bus services for the place. There are conducted tours which take tourist not only to Agra, but the near by tourist spots too. Near by Cities of Agra - Delhi: 203 km
- Jaipur: 236 km
- Bharatpur: 60 km
- Mathura: 58 km
- Gwalior: 118 km Places to stay in Agra Agra is one of the major tourist destination, where international tourist inflow is also quite good. So the options of luxurious accommodations are plenty. If you are a budget travellers, there are numerous tourist lodges as well mid-range hotels in Agra. Agra Travel Package Planning a weekend getaway to the Agra or opting to extend your vacation, just have a look at the customised travel packages and tour itineraries, specifically designed to let you have the time of your life. For those of you who have budget constraints, beside the time constraints, take a look at the off-season packages that offer discount deals.