AGRA PLACES TO SEE
There are a lot of famous places that people would like to visit in Agra. Being a historical city, there are a lot of old places that visitors can go for exploring indian culture. There are also modern structures that people can visit in the country.
A pristine example of architectural excellence and a symbol of the rich historical and cultural heritage of india; the Taj Mahal, occupying an area of 42 acres, stands tall in the city of Agra. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and proudly considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal is an integral part of the travel and sightseeing itinerary of all tourists who visit the area. in fact, most tourists consider visiting the Taj Mahal central to their tour plans.
The Taj Mahal was originally built by Mughal ruler Shah Jahan, in memory of his dearly beloved deceased wife Mumtaz. The word Taj means “crown” and Mahal means “palace”, thereby making it the crowning glory of the celebrated love between the Kind and his Queen. The monument is also a Mausoleum, where the Queen was originally entombed in the underground chamber. Later, after the death of the King, his grave also found a place next to his Queen in the same chamber. The place is steeped in history, deep love and attachment.
The task of building such a huge monument was gigantic by itself. History has it that it was planned and designed by Ustad Isa, the most recognized contemporary Islamic architect. Twenty thousand workers, gathered from Lahore, Delhi, Qannauj and Multan, and many brought in from the Middle East, toiled for twenty two years before the monument was finally complete in the year 1648. The expenses are believed to be approximately 32 million indian Rupees.
The Taj Mahal rests on a raised square platform measuring 186 X 186 feet with truncated corners, which form an octagonal shape. in the heart of the design is the concept of interlocking arabesque, which relies on individual structural elements standing on their own in perfect sync with the main structure of the building. The design pats special attention to conserving symmetry and employs use of self replicating geometry in the architecture. The dome in the center, 58 feet in diameter and 213 feet in height, is flanked by four domed chambers. There are four skillfully built Minarets in each corner, each 162.5 feet high. Both the interior and the exterior have rich Islamic decorations, inlays and calligraphy, which have intricate artwork and precious stones such as jasper and agate.
Located just 2.5 kilometers away from the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort is another bastion of the mastery in architecture that was prevalent during the rule of Mughal King Shah Jahan. Also called the Lal Qila (Red For) of Agra, this monument has great historical and cultural significance, and was built as a splendid city within its walled premises. It was planned as the center of the Mughal government in india during the reign of Emperor Akbar, and also as the place of residence of the royal family and governors.
Construction work for the Agra Fort began during the late 16th century, under the watchful eyes of Mughal emperor Akbar, the grandfather of King Shah Jahan. The emperor’s wish was to make Agra the central point of his rule, and he planned to shift his entire government base to the city. This is the reason why the Red Fort was conceived with elaborate planning and executed with finesse. Built with red sandstone, with the occasional use of marble, the monument has rare specimens of beautiful artwork and decorations of the time.
Unlike his grandfather, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal in white marble in place of red sandstone, and reportedly also destroyed some old buildings within the fort to make place for his own. Shah Jahan also used gold and semi precious stones to give his work a unique place in history.
The site of the Red Fort is semi-circular, encased in walls 21 meters high. The outer perimeter of the walls is roughly 2.4 kilometers. The structure has two gates. The Lahore gate is so named as it faces the city of Lahore, and is used for tourist entry. The Delhi gate is a grand structure, leading to Hathi Pol (Elephant Gate), an inner gate. in total, the monument is a gigantic structure featuring some of the best examples of contemporary architecture.
One very interesting fact about the Agra Fort is that this was also the place where King Shah Jahan was help prisoner by truant son Aurangzeb, during the last few years of his life. The king is rumored to have died while imprisonment in this very fort, in Muasamman Burj - a tower featuring a balcony made of marble, from which one could get a breathtaking view of the Taj Mahal. The Red Fort was also used during the Revolt of 1857, the first indian uprising against the British.
CHINI KA ROZA
Situated a few furlongs away from the Itmad-Ud-Daulah, on the banks of the river Jamuna, the rectangular Chini Ka Roza is another striking example of Agra’s great history of Mughal architecture. The monument has strikingly beautiful artwork, made with glazing colors and a huge rounded dome. in the center of the monument are two cenotaphs. One of these is dedicated to Shukruilahteredirt, who later became the finance minister of Mughal King Shah Jahan. After his death at Lahore in the year 1639, his corpse was brought and entombed here. Islamic texts are inscribed along the top of the chamber. Although the monument has not been maintained properly and is not in good condition, it’s worth checking out just for the amazing craftsmanship.
Chini Ka Roza was constructed during the 16th century, under the supervision of Allama Afzal Jhan Shukrullah of Shiraz; Prime Minister of Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor. The monument is lavishly decorated with bright colors. The monument is unique as it is the first of its kind of india, employing decorations chiefly through the use of glazed colors and tiles. Constructed mainly of brown stone, this monument is of a rectangular shape. The name Chini Ka Roza is also derived from the use of “Chini” or colorful tiles in the construction and decoration of this monument.
The Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daula is located in Agra and is about one and a half kilometers, away from the Taj Mahal. The Itmad-ud-Daula tomb was constructed between 1622 and 1628 and made of pietra dura insert and white marble. The tomb is considered as the transitional monument between, the first and second phase of Mughal architecture. During the first phase, the monuments were constructed out of red sandstone with marble adornment, as seen in tombs of Akbar and Humayun located in Sikandra and Delhi, respectively. in the second phase, the Agra Itmad-ud-Daula's Tomb was built, which is markedly different from the tombs that were built before its construction, during the Mughal reign and due to its similarity with the Taj is frequently considered, as its draft or Baby Taj.
The Mughal ruler, Jahangir’s wife Nur Jahan especially had the Itmad-ud-Daula's Tomb built for her father named Mirza Ghiyas Beg, who had been honored with the designation of Itimâd-ud-Daulâ, which means leader of the state. The tomb of Itmad-ud-Daula in Agra is located on the left bank of the river Yamuna and consists, of the main building and several gardens and outbuildings. in a large cruciform garden, the burial chamber is situated, which is intersected by footpaths and watercourses.
The tomb of Itmad-ud-Daula in Agra is square, measures 23 meters, and is positioned on a base of about 50 meters square, which has a height of around 1 meter. in every corner of the tomb, there are about 13 meters tall, hexagonal towers. The walls of Itmad-ud-Daula's Tomb Agra are constructed of white marble that was brought from Rajasthan and have been encrusted with semi-precious stones including topaz, cornelian, onyx, and jasper in intricate ornamental images of cut fruits, wine bottles, cypress trees and vases holding bouquets. This has helped to make Itmad-ud-Daula's Tomb in Agra, look even more splendid.
Mahtab Bagh in Agra was build from 1631 to 1635 and is located on the sandy banks of the river Yamuna, directly opposite to the mausoleum, Taj Mahal. While, standing in the Agra based Mahtab Bagh, one can admire the beauty of the Taj Mahal and for this very reason; the main attraction of the Bagh is the Taj, itself. The meaning of the name Mahtab Bagh is a garden lighted by the moon, which it gets from the dazzling reflection in its pool of the Taj Mahal, at night. The garden has an interesting history for it is said that Shah Jahan, the ruler who built the Taj Mahal for his wife, wanted a similar one built for himself at Mahtab Bagh. Nevertheless, the findings of archaeological surveys have established the existence of garden compound. Whatsoever may be the belief, the Mahtab Bagh is must visit place for from it, one gets an eye catching picture of the Taj Mahal.
As per the original plan, the Archaeological Survey has renovated the garden because of which, Mahtab Bagh in Agra has been enhanced with over 40 varieties of plants. Construction of the garden has been done in the characteristic Charbagh fashion.
in the recent years, there has been rising anxiety for the Taj and its gardens, which are facing destruction from the increasing number of tourists, urban sprawl, and air pollution. This concern has in a way contributed, to the increased level of awareness towards the Mehtab Bagh in Agra, which is a real delight for the eyes that have grown tired, by looking at dirt and pollution of city life.
in india, the oldest Mughal garden is the Ram Bagh garden in Agra, which was initially, built by Babur, the Great Mughal Emperor, in 1528 A.D. The other name of the garden is Bagh-i-Gul Afshans and from the Taj Mahal, it is located, at a distance of five kilometers. The Ram Bagh garden in Agra is famous because Babur was for some time buried there, prior to being interred in Kabul.
During there reign in india, the Mughals build numerous gardens, forts, tombs, and palaces. in these enjoyment gardens, the Mughal rulers tried to bring to life the picture of paradise, as described in the Islamic texts. A similar attempt was made in the construction of the Ram Bagh garden in Agra, which is planned as per the Charbagh pattern that comprises of four main divisions, intersected via water and pathways. in Islam, water is given much importance and in these enjoyment parks, it is almost compared to life. Water in the Ram Bagh garden is supplied mainly from the river Yamuna, which is distributed in the entire park in a chain of three falls, developed above three terraces.
Two viewing pavilions, in the Ram Bagh garden face the river, Yamuna and join a subterranean ‘tahkhana.’ Visitors used the ‘tahkhana’ in the summers, to protect themselves from the scorching sun.
INDRABHAN GIRL'S INTER COLLEGE
This college is regarded as the birthplace of Mirza Ghalib, who was one of the great poets in the country. This college is located at a distance about 3 Km from the Mankameshwar Temple. Therefore, the college is also welcomed by tourists who wish to explore more about the local heritages when they stay in Agra.
BHARATPUR BIRD SANCTUARY
Bharatpur Bird sanctuary (aka Keoladeo National Park) is a famous bird sanctuary located in Bharatpur district of Rajasthan.It is considered as Ornithologist’s paradise owing to the fact it has great variety of bird species. It is situated at 60Km. from Agra and sometimes also known as Ghana National Park.
In past, this place was being used for duck shoots organized by ruler of Behrampur. The bird sanctuary has received the ‘World Heritage Site’ status by UNESCO. The Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary has multitudes of bird species like aquatic or non-aquatic, migratory as well as indigenous birds. It is a must-visit place for those tourists who love to watch bird sanctuary.This bird sanctuary provides ultimate pleasure to tourists and makes them feel relaxed and happierwith the display of its natural beauty.One can see many migratory birds flying through the sanctuary as they come here every year from central Asia and Siberia to expend winter season.
This bird sanctuary covers almost area of 29 sq. Km. and contains as many as 375 various species of birds consisting various types of birds. One can even watch famous Siberian-cranes in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. Some other bird species which can be seen in this beautiful place are Cormorants Egrets, Darters, Stork, Ducks, Eagles, Buntings,Hawks, Pipits, Wheatears, Wagtails, Cranes,Flycatchers, Larks, Pelicans, Warblers, Shanksand StintsGrey Heronsetc.
Although all these bird come and rest here for some time, the main attraction of this sanctuary is Siberian Cranes which cover around 6500Km. to come here from Siberia just for spending winter season here.
Tourists can travel around this bird sanctuary through well-defined forest trails or by rickshaw. Some other tourist attractions of Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary are the Bharatpur Government Museum, the Bharatpur Palace and Deeg fort known for its stunningly beautiful gardens and history andLohagarh Fort (Strong fort having greathistory).A temple of Hindu god, Lord Shiva can also be found here.
Chambal Safari Lodge is place to relax your mind from day to day hassle. Located on the boarder of three states, UP, Rajasthan and MP, Chambal can be easily visited in Agra tour by traveling around 86 Kms south from Agra. Located near river Chambal, this lodge is spread over space of 35 acres. A feel of wildlife and nature brings freshness to your mind when you are in Chambal Safari Lodge. This feeling remains throughout the day, thanks to the surroundings of this beautiful place. A family runs this attractive place that takes all tiring feeling out of your mind.