9 must see places in Agra
Agra was the first capital of Mughal Empire that flourished on the banks of River Yamuna.
Agra was founded by Babur and it is also known as Akbarabad after the greatest Mughal Emperor Akbar. With deep roots in the history of India, Agra is one of the most popular destinations not only for Indian travellers but also for the foreign tourists who are fascinated to see the Taj Mahal which is one of the 7 wonders of the world.
Many people take a day trip to Agra from Delhi. But if you stick around for one more day or two there are some more interesting places to visit in Agra other than the Taj Mahal.
Here is a list!
1. Taj Mahal
The majestic taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world and fascinated travellers from across the globe. A marble mausoleum was built as a symbol of love by Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. The construction of Taj Mahal took 21 years to complete with almost 20000 workers building it.
The construction commissioned in 1632 and was completed in 1653. Under the guidance of architect Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. World’s best artisans and laborers from Uzbekistan, Baghdad, Istanbul, Samarkand and many more places worked on building the Taj Mahal. Shah Jahan also bought gems and precious stones from many countries to decorate the Taj Mahal.
It was designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal as a tomb for his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal and it also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan.
Some other buildings that were built on the Taj Mahal complex include a mosque, a guest house, gardens, the main gateway (Darwaza), there are two building built in red stone on both sides of the Taj Mahal that mirror each other and face the tomb. The building on the west is the mosque and the one opposite is called Jawab or the answer. It was built exactly like the mosque to create an architectural balance. The only difference between the two buildings is the mosque has the Mirab or a niche in the wall that faces Mecca.
Taj Mahal complex houses a Taj Museum on the west side of the main entrance in the western Jal Mahal. The two hexagonal rooms of the Taj Museum showcase exhibits of old architectural plans of Taj Mahal, old photographs of Taj Mahal, some coloured drawings, samples of stones used in Inlay work, the royal orders or the Farmans, land records and some specimens of stones used to build the Taj Mahal.
Despite all the environmental changes, the Taj Mahal still shines and attracts thousands of visitors every day from across the globe.
2. Agra Fort
Agra was once the capital of Mughal Empire and the grandeur is pretty visible when you visit the Agra Fort. The construction of few structures inside the fort was initiated by the Mughal Emperor Babur in 1565 which was later completed by Shah Jahan. Shah Jahan added some very beautiful marble structures. Semicircular in shape, the fort is spread across 94 acres along the banks of River Yamuna. Agra Fort has an interesting history and to know that you have to visit the Agra Fort whenever you are visiting Agra.
3. Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid in Agra is one of the largest mosques in India. The beautiful carvings and arches in the mosque symbolize the Mughal style of architecture. It was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and dedicated it to his daughter Jahanara Begum. It is also called as ‘Friday Mosque’ it is built in red stone and white marble. Interior walls of the mosque are carved with Persian scriptures praising Shah Jahan and his daughter Jahanara Begum. The tomb of Salim Chisti is a part of the Jama Masjid complex.
4. Anguri Bagh and Khas Mahal
Located inside the Agra Fort, Anguri Bagh is an elegantly built garden facing the palace of Emperor Jahangir, the Khas Mahal. There are 85 symmetrically designed shapes in red stone with a fountain in the entre and divided into four quarters called the Char Bagh. Finest quality grapes and some flowers were harvested in this garden and hence, it is called as ‘Anguri Bagh’ – which means ‘Grape Garden’. Anguri Bagh is not open for visitors but it can be viewed from the roof of surrounding buildings. Anguri Bagh is surrounded by double storey sandstone buildings which are covered by white limestone.
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5. Akbar’s Tomb
the tomb of Mughal Emperor Akbar is located in the outskirts of Agra. It is one of the valuable Mughal architectural masterpieces built by his son Jahangir between 1605-1613. The site of the tomb was selected by Akbar himself.
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The tomb has four minarets like those similar to Taj Mahal. The tomb is built mainly in red stone and decorated with white marble. The tomb and the main gateway have carvings and scriptures in geometric, floral and calligraphic design carved and inlaid with black slate.
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6. Mehtab Bagh
Mehtab Bagh a ‘Char Bagh’ Complex is located on the northern side of the Taj Mahal. Mehtab Bagh is perfectly aligned to the gardens of Taj Mahal and is a popular sunset spot. Mehtab Bagh is the last of eleven gardens that the Mughals built in Agra.
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Emperor Shah Jahan had selected this crescent shaped garden as the best place for admiring the beauty of Taj Mahal and viewing the reflection of Taj Mahal in the waters of the garden on the moonlit nights. So, these gardens were called as the Mehtab Bagh It has four sandstone towers at every corner of the octagonal tank built at the centra of the garden.
7. Tomb Itimad-ud-Daulah
Inspired from the Taj Mahal, built on the banks of River Yamuna the tomb Itimad-ud-Daulah is also called as the ‘Bachcha Taj’ or ‘Baby Taj Mahal’ as it is believed to be the copy of Taj Mahal. The construction of the tomb was commissioned by Nur Jahan, the wife of Jahangir for her father Mir Gheyas Beg or Itimad-ud-Daulah. Itimad-ud-Daulah was one of the ministers in the court of Shah Jahan.
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The tomb was built between 1622-1628 and it is regarded as the transition in the Mughal Architectural style which used the pietra dura technique which is a mosaic work done using semi-precious stones. The walls of the tomb are decorated with many different semi-precious stones like lapis lazuli, jasper, onxy, topaz, cornelian etc. and basically consists of Indo-Islamic style of architecture. When seen from a bird’s eye view, the tomb looks like a jewel box placed in a garden.
8. Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri was also one the capital of Mughal Empire, a city largely built in red stone, was founded in 1571 by the Mughal Emperor Akbar. It was the capital of Mughal Empire for about 15 years. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Jahangir, the son of Emperor Akbar was born in Sikri and after Jahangir’s second birthday, Akbar began with the construction of the city walls and the imperial palace. Then the city got its name ‘Fatehpur Sikri’ or the ‘City of Victory’ after Akbar’s victory over Gujarat in 1573. Fatehpur Sikri houses the Palace of Jodha Bai, Jama Masjid, the magnificent Buland Darwaza, tomb of Salim Chisti, Panch Mahal, Naubat Khana, Mariam-uz-Zamani's Palace, Apun Talao, Ibadat Khana, Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khas, Hujra-i-Anup Talao, Hiran Minar, Daftar Khana or the records office, karkhana or the royal worship place, Khazana or the treasury, hamman which were the Turkish baths, Pachisi Court for playing board games, stables etc.
9. Chini Ka Rausa:
Chinika ka Rauza, located at about a kilometer away from Itmad-Ud-Daulah Tomb on the eastern banks of River Yamuna, is a funeraray monument and a tomb of Afzal Khan Shirazi who was the Prime Minister in the Court of the Emperor Shah Jahan and was also a scholar and a poet. The facade of the monument is decorated with intricate pietra dura inlay work and glazed tile work called kasha or chini with many colours. ‘Rauza’ means shrine or tomb in Arabic, hence, the monument is called as Chini ka Rauza
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