Agra is famous as being home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World-the Taj Mahal. The architectural splendor of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid remainder of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid reminder of the capital in the 16th and early 17th centuries.
The construction of this marble masterpiece is credited to the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan who erected this mausoleum in memory of his beloved wife, Arjumand Bano Begum, popularly known as Mumtaz Mahal, who died in AH 1040 (AD 1630). Her last wish to her husband was “to build a tomb in her memory such as the world had never seen before”.
The designer of Taj Mahal was Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. The material was brought in from all over India and central Asia and it took a fleet of 1000 elephants to transport it to the site. The central dome is 187 feet high at the centre. Red sandstone was brought from Fatehpur Sikri, Jasper from Punjab, Jade and Crystal from China, Turquoise from Tibet, Lapis Lazuli and Sapphire from Sri Lanka, Coal and Cornelian from Arabia and diamonds from Panna.
Fatehpur Sikri is an epic in red sandstone. A city of yesteryear, today lost in the mists of time. Fatehpur Sikri was built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar during 1564 A.D.. Mughal Emperor Akbar had no heir. He visited holy men to enlist their prayers for his son.
The mausoleums of emperor Akbar represent his philosophy and secular outlook, combining the best of Hindu and Muslim architectures in a superlative region. Completed in 1613 A.D. by his son Jahangir, it is one of the well preserved monuments. This is the last resting place of the Mughal Emperor Akbar.
The great Mughal Emperor Akbar commissioned the construction of the Agra Fort in 1565 A.D., although additions were made till the time of his grandson Shah Jahan. Agra Fort is located on the banks of the Yamuna near the railway station. Agra is well connected by air with Khajuraho, Varanasi, and Delhi. It has good rail and bus connections with major Indian cities. From the city, there are taxis, tempos, auto-rickshaws, and cycle rickshaws to carry one to the fort. Prepaid taxis and autos from the railway station are also available. Bicycles can also be hired on hourly basis.
Itmad-ud-Daulah is the tomb of Mirza Ghyas Beg, a persian who had obtained service in Akbar Court. The Marvel tomb was made by Emperor Jahangir’s Queen, Noorjahan, for his father Mirza Ghyas Beg during 1622-1628 A.D.
The Craftmanship at Itmad-ud-Daulah foreshadows that of the Taj Mahal. It was here that. “Pietra Dura”-the inlay work on marble-so characteristic of the Taj-was first used.
Radha Swami Samadhi
This is the head quarter of Radhaswami religion; here the holy ashes of the founder of the faith have been preserved. On the sprawing lawns here, is a beautiful marvel temple with beautiful carving of fruits, flowers, leavesand plants which have been reduced into stone true to nature, and are distinctive speciments of the plastic arts. This is under construction for almost 100 years.
Come February, and it’s springtime. The time of the year when nature dawns all its colorful splendor and Agra bursts into colorful celebrations. For 10 days there is sheer celebration of U.P.’s rich heritage of arts, crafts, culture, cuisine, dance and music. Yes, it is Taj Mahotsav time again. There are festivities all around and Agra truly puts on the colors of joy and gets transformed into one non-stop carnival. Organised by U.P. Tourism and held as an annual event at Shilpgram, literally next door to the Taj Mahal, the Taj Mahotsav is indeed a fitting tribute to the legendary skills of master craftsman and other exponents of art, music and cuisine.