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Agra: The City of Taj Mahal

 
Agra the city of Tajmahal

"We have been walking up a long wide avenue with arcades of shops on either side and a tide of wall to wall people in between. Next we passed through an ancient, massive gate, and suddenly it was there before us - The Taj Mahal - to me the most beautiful and romantic building in the whole world."
"Never before have I been so overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of a structure as to get goose bumps just looking at it." ( Walter and Cherie Glaser in Rowing through Rajasthan & Agra)


Known to the world as Agra, the city of Taj Mahal, Agra has its roots, perhaps, dating back to the time of Mahabaratha. Agra is situated on the west-bank of River Yamuna, 204 km south of Delhi. The old part of the town, north of the fort, is where the main market place is. The modern township is on the south. Agra has a magnificent fort and many other monuments from the Mughul era, not to mention the Taj Mahal, which are major attractions to the tourists.

History

Side view of Agra Fort

In 1475 Raja Singh Badal laid foundation for the city of Agra. Sikander Lodi made Agra his capital in 1501. The city rose to its magnificence during the reign of Mughuls, during 16th - 17th century. Babar and Humayun started building the present Agra. Akbar shifted his capital to Agra in 1599 and ruled India from there till his death in 1605. Agra reached its zenith of prosperity during the reign of Shahjahan who built Jama masjid, most of the palaces and buildings inside Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal. It was the capital of Mughul empire until the capital was shifted to Red Fort, Delhi, in 1648. In 1761 Agra fell to Jats who did much of the damages to the city, even going so far as to plunder Taj. The Marathas came in 1770 and Agra went through several changes before British took over in 1903. The British merged Agra and Avadh to form United Province. In the post independent India the united province was re-named Uttar Pradesh.