Friday, June 5, 2009

Agra - Medieval Heritage City Of India


Overview

Agra, the name instantly reminds us the stunning Taj Mahal and gigantic Agra Fort. Agra was once the illustrious capital of Mughal dynasty and still boasts of a rich culture and heritage. With the time much of the scenario has been changed but the mystic flavor of royal city still beguiling travelers across the globe. The fine essence of bygone period is still lingering the landscape.

Agra was ruled by three generation of most dynamic dynasty in the country. The city was gifted by some incredible heritage monuments by Mughals from time to time. The monuments are undoubtedly the pride of India as people millions of visitors every year come here to have a glimpse of the monuments. The most dominant attraction in Agra is no doubt is the majestic Taj Mahal. However, the glory of Taj Mahal eclipses the charm of other monuments like Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri and others. Each Mughal Emperor left his mark on this city. It is a city where Mughal Emperors lived on their dreams and each one of them was credited to some unique monument that would be difficult to recreate now even with the best technology available.

Babar was the first Mughal who founded the city and set the first Persian gardens on the banks of the river Yamuna. His grandson Akbar again created a new whole city called Fatehpur Sikri and built his own mausoleum at Sikandra, also credited for the gigantic Agra Fort. Later on, Shah Jahan who was the epitome of Mughal creation renovated the Agra Fort and built mosques and palaces with gem inlaid white marble. Undoubtedly, Agra epitomizes Mughal architectural extravaganza and its rich culture and heritage even overshadows Delhi.

Quick Facts

State – Uttar Pradesh
Location – Western bank of river Yamuna
Climate – Agra falls in the tropical zone and experiences extreme temperature swings
Accommodation – Being one of the top most visiting sites in India, Agra has plenty of hotels ranging from deluxe to budget.
Transportation – Agra can be best covered on foot. Though the city is dusty and little clamorous, may be just walking would not be really convenient for most of the people. There are cycle rickshaws and auto rickshaws in plenty and they don’t even cost much.


Sightseeing and Activities

Agra Fort – Though the history of Agra fort is very old but it was first came to notice in 1574 when Mughal Emperor Akbar, on the bank of the river Yamuna built this fort. Some of the part of fort was closed to visitors and offers a varied and long list of sites of immense architectural and historical importance. There are exquisite palaces and structures inside the fort. Some of the renowned are Diwan-i-Aam or Hall of Public Audience and Diwan-i-Khas or Hall of Private Audience. The other attractions are Khas Mahal and the Shish Mahal that surely mesmerize tourists.

Taj Mahal – One of the most beautiful structures of the world epitomizes the love and glory of Emperor Shah Jahan. There are no words appropriately define the magnificence and glory of Taj Mahal. This symbol of love was built in a span of 22 years by more than 20000 artisans and craftsman. Taj is popular among architectures for its incredible perfect proportion and majestic scale. Not only than the detailed carvings that are visible on closer inspection is also fantastic. The hue and color of Taj changes from different mood. Taj can be best viewed in moonlight and remain unforgettable.

Fatehpur Sikri – The city made up of red sandstone was founded by Emperor Akbar in 1571. He built the city to pay respect to great Sufi saint Seikh Salim Chisti who had predicted the birth of a son to the ruler. This small city is built 40km away from Agra and boasts of incredibly beautiful structures in the form of arches, courtyard, and buildings. All those structures are fine impregnation of Hindu and Islamic architecture. The must see here is include the highest gate of India call Buland Darwaza, the Panch Mahal, the Jama Masjid, the palace of Maryamuzzami, Birbal Bhavan and the life-size chessboard where courtiers could play the role of pieces.

Shopping – The main shopping centers are Sadar bazaar and Fatehabad Road. There are plenty of good crafts available in the markets. The most popular one is the miniature Taj Mahal. Other noticeable things are shawls, platters, trays, zardozi-embroidered fabrics, leather goods, brassware, carpets and finely carved jewelry. It is advisable to but only from government emporium.

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