Agra

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Agra

Agravana
Taj-Mahal.jpg
Agra 33 - Shivaji monument in front of Red Fort (41541115414).jpg
Tomb of Akbar the Great.jpg
Itmad-ud-Daula's tomb-Agra3.jpg
Nickname(s): 
The Taj City (Taj Nagari)
India Uttar Pradesh location map.svg
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Agra
India location map.svg
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Agra
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Agra
Coordinates: 27°11′N78°01′E / 27.18°N 78.02°E / 27.18; 78.02 Coordinates: 27°11′N78°01′E / 27.18°N 78.02°E / 27.18; 78.02
CountryFlag of India.svg  India
State Uttar Pradesh
Division Agra
District Agra
Government
  Type Municipal Corporation
  BodyAgra Municipal Corporation
  Mayor [1] Naveen Jain (BJP)
   Divisional Commissioner Anil Kumar, IAS [2]
   Inspector General A. Satish Ganesh, IPS [3]
   District Magistrate and Collector Prabhu Narain Singh IAS [4]
   Senior Superintendent of Police Babloo Kumar, IPS [5]
Elevation
171 m (561 ft)
Population
 (2011) [6]
   City 1,585,704
  Rank 24th
   Metro
[7]
1,760,285
Language
  Official Hindi [8]
  Additional official Urdu [8]
  Local Braj Bhasha
Time zone UTC+5:30 (IST)
Telephone code0562
Vehicle registration UP-80
Sex ratio 875 / 1000
Literacy73.11%
Website Official District Website

Agra ( /ˈɑːɡrə/ ( Loudspeaker.svg listen )) is a city on the banks of the Yamuna river in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. [9] It is 206 kilometres (128 mi) south of the national capital New Delhi. Agra is the fourth-most populous city in Uttar Pradesh and 24th in India. [10]

Contents

It has been speculated that the city mentioned in Mahabharata as Agravana which translates as “front of the forest” is the present day Agra. [11] The Shurasena dynasty of Lord Krishna maintained an outpost at Agravana. [11] Greek geographer Ptolemy referred to Agra by its modern name in his Geographia and placed it in his world map in the 2nd century AD. [11] The 11th-century Persian poet Mas'ūd Sa'd Salmān writes of an assault on the fortress of Agra, then held by King Jaypal, by Mahmud of Ghazni. Despite his surrender, Mahmud sacked the place in 1080 AD. [12] A 17th century chronicle called Agra before Sikandar Lodī's time (1488–1517) as an old settlement which was merely a village, owing to its destruction by Mahmud of Ghazni. [13] Sikandar was the first sultan to move his capital from Delhi to Agra in 1504, its administration having previously been under Bayana. [14] [15] He governed the country from here and Agra assumed the importance of the second capital. He died in 1517 and his son, Ibrāhīm Lodī, remained in power there for nine more years. Several palaces, wells, and a mosque were built by him in the fort during his period. He was defeated at the Battle of Panipat in 1526. [16] Between 1540 and 1556, Afghans, beginning with Sher Shah Suri, ruled the area. It was the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1556 to 1648. The city was later taken by the Marathas and later still fell to the British Raj.

Agra is a major tourist destination because of its many Mughal-era buildings, most notably the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. [9] Agra is included on the Golden Triangle tourist circuit, along with Delhi and Jaipur; and the Uttar Pradesh Heritage Arc, a tourist circuit of Uttar Pradesh, along with Lucknow and Varanasi. Agra is in the Braj cultural region.

Climate

Agra features a semiarid climate that borders on a humid subtropical climate. The city features mild winters, hot and dry summers and a monsoon season. However, the monsoons, though substantial in Agra, are not quite as heavy as the monsoon in other parts of India. This is a primary factor in Agra featuring a semiarid climate as opposed to a humid subtropical climate.

Climate data for Agra, India (1981–2010, extremes 1901–2002)
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)33.0
(91.4)
35.6
(96.1)
42.8
(109.0)
46.5
(115.7)
48.6
(119.5)
48.5
(119.3)
46.5
(115.7)
43.0
(109.4)
41.4
(106.5)
41.1
(106.0)
36.1
(97.0)
31.0
(87.8)
48.6
(119.5)
Average high °C (°F)22.7
(72.9)
26.0
(78.8)
32.1
(89.8)
38.1
(100.6)
41.9
(107.4)
41.5
(106.7)
36.0
(96.8)
33.7
(92.7)
34.5
(94.1)
34.5
(94.1)
29.7
(85.5)
24.5
(76.1)
32.9
(91.2)
Average low °C (°F)7.5
(45.5)
9.9
(49.8)
14.4
(57.9)
20.0
(68.0)
24.6
(76.3)
26.3
(79.3)
25.0
(77.0)
23.8
(74.8)
22.8
(73.0)
18.0
(64.4)
12.4
(54.3)
7.8
(46.0)
17.7
(63.9)
Record low °C (°F)−2.2
(28.0)
−1.7
(28.9)
5.6
(42.1)
10.0
(50.0)
14.0
(57.2)
12.0
(53.6)
14.5
(58.1)
12.0
(53.6)
13.0
(55.4)
9.4
(48.9)
2.8
(37.0)
−0.6
(30.9)
−2.2
(28.0)
Average rainfall mm (inches)12.4
(0.49)
12.1
(0.48)
8.8
(0.35)
12.3
(0.48)
22.6
(0.89)
81.7
(3.22)
214.9
(8.46)
230.2
(9.06)
129.6
(5.10)
29.4
(1.16)
3.4
(0.13)
3.5
(0.14)
760.7
(29.95)
Average rainy days1.31.01.20.92.03.210.410.78.01.40.40.439.0
Average relative humidity (%) (at 17:30 IST)58473935354066736349525851
Source: India Meteorological Department [17] [18]

Population

Demographics

As of 2011 India census, [6] [19] Agra city has a population of 1,585,704, while the population of Agra cantonment is 53,053. The urban agglomeration of Agra has a population of 1,760,285. [19] Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Agra city has an average literacy rate of 73%, below the national average of 74%. [19] Literacy rate of males is considerably higher than that of women. The sex ratio in the city was 875 females per thousand males while child sex ratio stood at 857. [19] Agra district literacy rate is 62.56%. [20]

According to the 2011 census, Agra district has a population of 4,380,793, [21] roughly equal to the nation of Moldova [22] or the US state of Kentucky. [23] This gives it a ranking of 41st in India (out of a total of 640). [21] The district has a population density of 1,084 inhabitants per square kilometre (2,810/sq mi) . [21] 52.5% of Agra's population is in the 15–59 years age category. Around 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Religions in Agra [19]
ReligionPercent
Hindu
80.68%
Muslim
15.37%
Not Stated
1.66%
Jain
1.04%
Sikh
0.62%
Christian
0.42%
Buddhist
0.19%
Other
0.02%
Distribution of religions

Religion

Hindus are 88.8% while Muslims are 9.3% of the population in Agra district. [24] Hinduism, Islam and Jainism are the major religions in Agra city with 80.7%, 15.4% and 1.0% of the population adhering to them; others are 2.9%. The Catholic minority is served by its own Metropolitan Archdiocese of Agra.

History

Medieval era

Masud Sa'd Salman claims to have been there when Mahmud assaulted Agra, claiming the Raja Japal surrendered after seeing a nightmare. Mahmud however proceeds to pillage the city. [12] The history of the city before the Muslim conquerors is unclear. The 17th century chronicler named Abdhullah said it was a village before the reign of Sikandar Lodi. The king of Mathura had used the Agra fort as a jail. The degradation in the status of the site was a result of the destruction brought upon it by Mahmud of Ghazni. [13] Sultan Sikandar Lodī, the Muslim ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, shifted his capital to Agra in the year 1504. Before this, it was under the lordship of Bayana. [15] After the Sultan's death, the city passed on to his son, Sultan Ibrāhīm Lodī. He ruled his Sultanate from Agra until he fell fighting to Mughal Badshah Bābar in the First battle of Panipat fought in 1526.

Mughal era

The Red fort, Agra, c. 1820 One of the drawings of Mughal monuments at Agra and Fatehpur Sikri.jpg
The Red fort, Agra, c. 1820

The golden age of the city began with the Mughals. Previously known as Akbarabād, Agra was the capital of the Mughal Empire under the Badshahs Akbar, Jahāngīr and Shāh Jahān. Akbar made it the eponymous seat of one of his original twelve subahs (imperial top-level provinces), bordering (Old) Delhi, Awadh (Oudh), Allahabad, Malwa and Ajmer subahs. Shāh Jahān later shifted his capital to Shāhjahānabād in the year 1648. [25]

Since Akbarabād was one of the most important cities in India under the Mughals, it witnessed a lot of building activity. Babar, the founder of the Mughal dynasty, laid out the first formal Persian garden on the banks of the river Yamuna. The garden is called the Arām Bāgh or the Garden of Relaxation. His grandson Akbar the Great raised the towering ramparts of the Great Red Fort, besides making Agra a centre for learning, arts, commerce, and religion. Akbar also built a new city on the outskirts of Akbarabād called Fatehpur Sikri. This city was built in the form of a Mughal military camp in stone.

Kos Minar #793 at 12-mile on Agra-Fatehpur Sikri Road section of National Highway 21 Kos Minar 793.jpg
Kos Minar #793 at 12-mile on Agra-Fatehpur Sikri Road section of National Highway 21

His son Jahāngīr had a love of flora and fauna and laid many gardens inside the Red Fort or Lāl Qil'a. Shāh Jahān, known for his keen interest in architecture, gave Akbarabād its most prized monument, the Taj Mahal. Built in loving memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, the mausoleum was completed in 1653.

Shāh Jahān later shifted the capital to Delhi during his reign, but his son Aurangzeb moved the capital back to Akbarabād, usurping his father and imprisoning him in the Fort there.

Later periods

The Jat kingdom of Bharatpur waged many wars against the Mughal Delhi and in the 17th and 18th century carried out numerous campaigns in Mughal territories including Agra. [26]

After the decline of the Mughal Empire, the city came under the influence of Marathas and was called Agra, before falling into the hands of the British Raj in 1803.

Agra, Main Street, c. 1858 Agra, Main Street, c.1858.jpg
Agra, Main Street, c. 1858
Map of the city, c. 1914 Agra (Baedeker, 1914).jpg
Map of the city, c. 1914

In 1835 when the Presidency of Agra was established by the British, the city became the seat of government, and just two years later it was witness to the Agra famine of 1837–38. During the Indian rebellion of 1857 , British rule across India was threatened, news of the rebellion had reached Agra on 11 May and on 30 May two companies of native infantry, the 44th and 67th regiments, rebelled and marched to Delhi. The next morning native Indian troops in Agra were forced to disarm, on 15 June Gwalior (which lies south of Agra) rebelled. By 3 July, the British were forced to withdraw into the fort. Two days later a small British force at Sucheta were defeated and forced to withdraw, this led to a mob sacking the city. However, the rebels moved onto Delhi which allowed the British to restore order by 8 July. Delhi fell to the British in September, the following month rebels who had fled Delhi along with rebels from Central India marched on Agra but were defeated. After this British rule was again secured over the city until the independence of India in 1947. [27]

Legacies

Agra is the birthplace of the religion known as Dīn-i Ilāhī, which flourished during the reign of Akbar and also of the Radhaswami Faith, which has around two million followers worldwide. Agra has historic linkages with Shauripur of Jainism and Runukta of Hinduism, of 1000 BC. The Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Administration and politics

Administration

General administration

Agra division which consists of four districts, and is headed by the divisional commissioner of Agra, who is an IAS officer, the commissioner is the head of local government institutions (including municipal corporations) in the division, is in charge of infrastructure development in his division, and is also responsible for maintaining law and order in the division. [28] [29] [30] [31] The district magistrate of Agra reports to the divisional commissioner. The current commissioner is K. Ram Mohan Rao. [32] [2] [33]

Agra district administration is headed by the district magistrate and collector (DM) of Agra, who is an IAS officer. The DM is in charge of property records and revenue collection for the central government and oversees the elections held in the city. The DM is also responsible for maintaining law and order in the city. [28] [34] [35] [36] The DM is assisted by a chief development officer; six additional district magistrates for finance/revenue, city, administration, land acquisition, civil supply, and protocol; one city magistrate; and three additional city magistrates. [33] The district has six tehsils viz. Sadar, Etmadapur, Kirawali, Fatehabad, Khairagarh and Bah, each headed by a Sub-Divisional Magistrate. [33] The current DM is Prabhu Narain Singh. [4]

Police administration

Agra district comes under the Agra Police Zone and Agra Police Range, Agra Zone is headed by an additional director general (ADG)-ranked Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, and the Agra Range is headed by a deputy inspector general (DIG)-ranked IPS officer. The current ADG, Agra Zone is Ajay Anand, [37] and IG, Agra Range is A. Satish Ganesh. [3]

The district police is headed by a senior superintendent of police (SSP), who is an IPS officer, and is assisted by six superintendents of police or additional superintendents of police for city, east, west, crime, traffic, and protocol, either from the IPS or the Provincial Police Service. [5] Each of the several police circles is headed by a circle officer in the rank of deputy superintendent of police. [5] The SSP is Babloo Kumar as of October 2019. [5]

Infrastructure and civic administration

The development of infrastructure in the city is overseen by Agra Development Authority (ADA), which comes under the Department of Housing and Urban Planning of the Uttar Pradesh government. The Divisional Commissioner of Agra acts as the ex-officio Chairman of ADA, whereas a vice-chairman, a government-appointed IAS officer, looks after the daily matters of the authority. [38] The current vice-chairman of ADA is Shubhra Saxena. [39]

The Agra Municipal Corporation oversees the city's civic infrastructure. The head of the corporation is the mayor, but the executive and administration of the corporation is the responsibility of the municipal commissioner, who is an Uttar Pradesh government-appointed Provincial Civil Service officer of high seniority. The current mayor of Agra is Naveen Jain from the Bharatiya Janata Party, whereas the municipal commissioner is Arun Prakash. [40] [41]

Politics

Agra district has two Lok Sabha constituencies, Agra and Fatehpur Sikri, and nine Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha (Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly) constituencies. The MP for Agra constituency is SP Singh Baghel and the MP for Fatehpur Sikri constituency is Rajkumar Chahar. Both are members of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Local Administration

Agra Municipal Corporation is divided into 100 wards [42] for the purpose of local administration.

Transport

Air

Air India and its subsidiary, Alliance Air, fly to Agra airport. Zoom Air also commences flight operations to Jaisalmer and New Delhi from Agra Airport. [43] Indigo will start flights to Bangalore from 27 March 2020 and direct flights from Lucknow, Varanasi and Bhopal to Agra Airport from 29 March 2020. [44]

Rail

Agra Cantt Railway Station Agra Cant railway station.jpg
Agra Cantt Railway Station

Agra City comes under the jurisdiction Of Agra Division Of North Central Railways Zone of the Indian Railways . Agra is on the Central Train line between Delhi (Station Code: NDLS) and Mumbai (Station Code: CSTM) and between Delhi and Chennai (Station Code: MAS) and many trains like Bhopal Shatabdi, Taj Express, Doon Express, Gatimaan Express, Bhopal Express, Malwa Express, Gondwana Express, Jabalpur - Jammutawi Express, Shreedham Express, Garib Rath, Tamil Nadu Express, Chennai Rajdhani, Agra Mathura Express etc. connect Agra with all major Indian cities like New Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Bengaluru, Pune, Bhopal, Indore, Kanpur, Kochi, Gwalior, Meerut, Saharanpur, Dehradun, Jabalpur, Ujjain, Jaipur, Haridwar, Aligarh, Mathura, Alwar, Lucknow, Thiruvananthapuram etc. every day. Some east-bound trains from Delhi also travel via Agra, so direct connections to points in Eastern India (including Kolkata) are also available. There are close to 20 trains to New Delhi and Gwalior Junction every day, and at least three or four to Bhopal, Indore, Nagpur, Mumbai and Chennai. There are three main railway stations in Agra: Agra Cantt, Raja Ki Mandi, and Agra Fort.

Railway Stations served by the Agra Division, North Central Railways network at Agra are:

Agra Cantt. Railway Station AGRA-agra railway station BY Fateh.RawKEy.jpg
Agra Cantt. Railway Station

Agra-Delhi Semi-High Speed Train – Gatimaan Express

In July 2014, a trial run of a "semi-high speed train" with 10 coaches and 2 generators reached a speed of 160 km/h (99 mph) between New Delhi and Agra. This is of the same class as New Delhi Agra Shatabdi Express, which takes 2 hours to complete its journey. The new semi-high speed train Gatimaan Express that reduces travel time between Delhi and Agra began in April 2016.

Road

Inner Ring Road link Yamuna Expressway to Lucknow expessway, Fatehabad Road, Shamshabad Road, NH-3, NH-11 Agra Agra-Inner-Ring-Road02 (32944081270).jpg
Inner Ring Road link Yamuna Expressway to Lucknow expessway, Fatehabad Road, Shamshabad Road, NH-3, NH-11 Agra

Inter-State Bus Terminal (I.S.B.T.), Idgah Bus Stand, Taj Depot and Fort Depot are the major bus stands in Agra, connecting Agra to most of the bigger cities in northern India. It is a major junction of highways with three national highways and two expressways (Yamuna Expressway & Agra Lucknow Expressway) originating from Agra.

Bus services are run by the Agra Municipal Corporation. Other para-transit modes include rickshaws. Polluting vehicles are not allowed near the Taj Mahal.

Agra Metro

Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES) has proposed 30 stations, 11 underground and 19 elevated, for two corridors of the Metro Rail in the city. The two routes are Sikandra to the Taj Mahal's east gate via Agra Fort and Agra Cantt to Kalindi Vihar. On 24 March 2017, State Chief Minister Yogi Aditya Nath approved the project. In December 2017, the cabinet of the UP Government approved the DPR as per New Metro Policy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of Agra Metro on 8 March 2019. [45]

Monumental Mughal legacy

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal from Agra fort TM from Red Fort.jpg
Taj Mahal from Agra fort
Tombs of Shah Jahan and his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal Persian prince tomb taj mahal.jpg
Tombs of Shah Jahan and his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal

The Taj Mahal is one of the most famous buildings in the world, the mausoleum of Shah Jahan's favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is one of the New Seven Wonders of the world, and one of the three World Heritage Sites in Agra. Agra is commonly identified as the "City of Taj". [46]

Completed in 1653, the Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal king Shah Jahan as the final resting place for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Finished in marble, it is one of India's many beautiful monuments and is set amidst landscaped gardens. Built by the Persian architect, Ustād 'Īsā, the Taj Mahal is on the south bank of the Yamuna River. It can be observed from Agra Fort from where Emperor Shāh Jahān gazed at it for the last eight years of his life, a prisoner of his son Aurangzeb. Verses of the Quran are inscribed on it and at the top of the gate are 22 small domes, signifying the number of years the monument took to build. The Taj Mahal was built on a marble platform that stands above a sandstone one. The most elegant dome of the Taj Mahal has a diameter of 60 feet (18 m), and has a height of 80 feet (24 m); directly under this dome is the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal. Shah Jahān's tomb was erected next to hers by his son Aurangzeb. The interiors are decorated with fine inlay work, incorporating semi-precious stones.

Taj Mahal-10 (cropped).jpg
Taj Mahal and outlying buildings as seen from across the Yamuna River (northern view)

Agra Fort

Amar Singh Gate, one of two entrances into Agra's Red Fort AgraFort.jpg
Amar Singh Gate, one of two entrances into Agra's Red Fort

Agra Fort (sometimes called the Red Fort), was commissioned by the conquering Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great in 1565, and is another of Agra's World Heritage Sites. A stone tablet at the gate of the Fort states that it had been built before 1000 but was later renovated by Akbar. The red sandstone fort was converted into a palace during Shāh Jahān's time, and reworked extensively with marble and pietra dura inlay. Notable buildings in the fort include the Pearl Mosque or Motī Masjid, the Dīwān-e-'Ām and Dīwān-e-Khās (halls of public and private audience), Jahāngīr's Palace, Khās Mahal, Shīsh Mahal (mirrored palace), and the Musamman Burj.[ citation needed ]

The forbidding exteriors of this fort conceal an inner paradise. The fort is crescent-shaped, flattened on the east with a long, nearly straight wall facing the river. It has a total perimeter of 2.4 kilometres (1.5 mi), and is ringed by double castellated ramparts of red sandstone punctuated at regular intervals by bastions. A moat 9 metres (30 ft) wide and 10 metres (33 ft) deep surrounds the outer wall.

Chhatrapati Shīvajī visited the Agra Fort, as a result of the conditions of the Treaty of Purandar entered into with Mirzā Rājā Jaisingh to meet Aurangzeb in the Dīwān-i-Khās (Special Audience Chamber). In the audience, he was deliberately placed behind men of lower rank. An insulted Shīvajī stormed out of the imperial audience and was confined to Jai Sing's quarters on 12 May 1666. Fearing the dungeons and execution he escaped on 17 August 1666.[ citation needed ]

The fort is a typical example of Mughal architecture, effectively showing how the North Indian style of fort construction differed from that of the South. In the South, the majority of forts were built on the seabed like the one at Bekal in Kerala. [47]

Fatehpur Sikri

The Mughal Emperor Akbar built Fatehpur Sikri about 35 km (22 mi) from Agra, and moved his capital there. Later abandoned, the site displays a number of buildings of significant historical importance. A World Heritage Site, it is often visited by tourists. The name of the place came about after the Mughal Emperor Bābar defeated Rāṇā Sāngā in a battle at a place called Sikrī (about 40 km (25 mi) from Agra. The Mughal Emperor Akbar wanted to make Fatehpur Sikri his headquarters, so he built a majestic fort; but due to shortage of water, he had to ultimately move his headquarters to Agra Fort.

Buland Darwāza or 'the lofty gateway' was built by the great Mughal emperor, Akbar in 1601 CE. at Fatehpur Sikri. Akbar built the Buland Darwāza to commemorate his victory over Gujarat. The Buland Darwāza is approached by 52 steps. The Buland Darwāza is 53.63 metres (175.95 feet) high and 35 metres (115 feet) wide. it is made of red and buff sandstone, decorated by carving and black and white marble inlays. An inscription on the central face of the Buland Darwāza demonstrates Akbar's religious broadmindedness, it is a message from Jesus advising his followers not to consider this world as their permanent home.

I'timād-Ud-Daulah

The Itmad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb I'timad-ud-Daulah, Agra.jpg
The Itmad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb

The Empress Nūr Jahān built I'timād-Ud-Daulah's Tomb, sometimes called the "Baby Tāj", for her father, Mirzā Ghiyās Beg, the Chief Minister of the Emperor Jahāngīr. Located on the left bank of the Yamuna river, the mausoleum is set in a large cruciform garden, criss-crossed by water courses and walkways. The area of the mausoleum itself is about 23 m2 (250 sq ft), and is built on a base that is about 50 m2 (540 sq ft) and about one metre (3.3 feet) high. On each corner are hexagonal towers, about thirteen metres (43 feet) tall. Small in comparison to many other Mughal-era tombs, it is sometimes described as a jewel box. Its garden layout and use of white marble, pietra dura, inlay designs and latticework presage many elements of the Taj Mahal.

The walls are white marble from Rajasthan encrusted with semi-precious stone decorations – cornelian, jasper, lapis lazuli, onyx, and topaz in images of cypress trees and wine bottles, or more elaborate decorations like cut fruit or vases containing bouquets. Light penetrates to the interior through delicate jālī screens of intricately carved white marble.

Many of Nūr Jahān's relatives are interred in the mausoleum. The only asymmetrical element of the entire complex are the tombs of her father and mother, which have been set side-by-side, a formation replicated in the Taj Mahal.[ clarification needed ]

Akbar's Tomb, Sikandra

Tomb of Akbar the Great Sikandra 066.JPG
Tomb of Akbar the Great

Sikandra, the last resting place of the Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great, is on the Delhi-Agra Highway, only 13 kilometres (8.1 miles) from the Agra Fort. Akbar's tomb reflects the completeness of his personality. The vast, beautifully carved, red-ochre sandstone tomb with deers, rabbits and langurs is set amidst a lush garden. Akbar himself planned his own tomb and selected a suitable site for it. To construct a tomb in one's lifetime was a Turkic custom which the Mughals followed religiously. Akbar's son Jahāngīr completed construction of this pyramidal tomb in 1613. The 99 names of Allah have been inscribed on the tomb.

Jamā Masjid

The Jāma Masjid is a large mosque attributed to Shah Jahan's daughter, Princess Jahanara Begum, built in 1648, notable for its unusual dome and absence of minarets. The inscription at its entrance shows that it cost Rs 500,000 at that time for its completion.

Jama Masjid, Agra Jama masjid Agra.jpg
Jama Masjid, Agra

Chīnī kā Rauza

Chini ka Rauza Chini ka Rauza, Agra.jpg
Chīnī kā Rauza

Notable for its Persian influenced dome of blue glazed tiles, the Chīnī kā Rauza is dedicated to the Prime Minister of Shāh Jahān, 'Allāma Afzal Khāl Mullā Shukrullāh of Shiraz.

Aram Bagh

The oldest Mughal garden in India, the Arām Bāgh was built by the Emperor Bābar in 1528 on the bank of the Yamuna. It lies about 2.34 km (1 mi) north of the Taj Mahal. The pavilions in this garden are designed so that the wind from the Yamuna, combined with the greenery, keeps them cool even during the peak of summer. The original name of the gardens was Ārām Bāgh, or 'Garden of Relaxation', and this was where the Mughal emperor Bābar used to spend his leisure time and where he eventually died. His body was kept here for some time before sending it to Kabul.

Mariam's Tomb

Tomb of Mariam-uz-Zamani, Sikandra, Agra. Mariam's Tomb, Sikandra, Agra.JPG
Tomb of Mariam-uz-Zamani, Sikandra, Agra.

Mariams Tomb, is the tomb of Mariam, the wife of great Mughal Emperor Akbar. The tomb is within the compound of the Christian Missionary Society.

Mehtāb Bāgh

Plan of the Taj complex with the Mehtab Bagh gardens to the left Taj site plan.png
Plan of the Taj complex with the Mehtab Bagh gardens to the left

The Mehtāb Bāgh, or 'Moonlight Garden', is on the opposite bank of the River Yamuna from the Taj Mahal.

Keetham Lake

Also known as Sur Sarovar, Keetham Lake is situated about 7 kilometres (4.3 miles) from the Akbar tomb in Agra, within the Surdas Reserved Forest. The lake has an impressive variety of aquatic life and water birds.

Mughal Heritage Walk

The Mughal Heritage Walk is a part of community development programme being implemented with the support of Agra Municipal corporation, USAID and an NGO; Center for Urban and Regional Excellence. It seeks to build sustainable livelihoods for youth and women from low resource communities and improve their living environments through infrastructure services and integration within the city.

The Mughal Heritage Walk is a one-kilometre (0.62-mile) loop which connects the agricultural fields with the Rajasthani culture, river bank connected with the ancient village of Kuchhpura, the Heritage Structure of Mehtab Bagh, the Mughal aqueduct system, the Humanyun Mosque and the Gyarah Sidi.

Other places of interest

Mankameshwar Temple

The Mankameshwar Temple is one of four ancient temples dedicated to Lord Shiva located on the four corners of Agra City. It is located near the Jāma Masjid and is about 2.5 kilometres (1.6 miles) from the Taj Mahal and less than 1 km (0.6 mi) from Agra Fort. Being located in the old city, the temple is surrounded by markets, many of which date back to the Mughal Era.

Shri Mankameshwar Temple IAshishTripathi Mankameshwar Temple Agra.jpg
Shri Mankameshwar Temple

Indrabhan Girls' Inter College

The college is widely considered to be the birthplace of great poet Mirza Ghalib. It is located near the Mankameshwar Temple and is about 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) from the Taj Mahal and less than 1 km (0.6 mi) from Agra Fort. Being located in the old city, the college is surrounded by markets. Approximately four or five years ago, the birth room of Mirza Ghalib was hidden behind the wall by the Management of the college to keep the identity of the place secret. [48]

Gurudwara Guru ka Taal

Guru ka Tal was originally a reservoir meant to collect and conserve rainwater built in Agra, near Sikandra, during Jahangir's reign next to the Tomb of I'tibār Khān Khwājasara in 1610. In the 1970s a gurudwara was erected here. Guru ka Tal is a holy place of worship for the Sikhs. Four of the ten Sikh Gurus are said to have paid it a visit. Enjoying both historical and religious importance, this shrine attracts a large number of devotees and tourists. Boasting elaborate stone carvings and eight of the twelve original towers. It is located by national (Delhi-Agra) highway-2.

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Agra.

Paliwal Park (Hewitt Park)

Paliwal Park, during the British Raj was known as Hewitt Park, is now renamed in memory of Shri Krishna Datta Paliwal, who was the first finance minister of Uttar Pradesh, when Shri Govind Ballabh Pant was the Chief Minister of the State.

Paliwal Park is located in the heart of Agra, spread over an area of around 70 acres (28 ha). It also has a small lake and a vast variety of trees.

Paliwal Park links the residential areas of Vijay Nagar Colony and Gandhi Nagar to the financial Hub of the city i.e. Sanjay Place.

John's Public Library, also known as the Agra Municipal Library, is also located here and has rare books on diverse topics.

Many people come here for morning walk, as a result, this place is full especially during the summer holidays when youngsters play all sorts of different games.

Soamibagh Samadhi

Located in Dayalbagh area, Soamibagh Samadhi [49] is another magnificent marble building and a popular tourist attraction. The carving of the marble pillars and posts is intricate and exhibits good craftsmanship. It is a place of worship for Radhasoami Faith followers and is dedicated to the founder of Radhasoami Faith, Param Purush Puran Dhani Soami Ji Maharaj (Sri Shiv Dayal Singh Seth). It is very quiet and peaceful inside the Satsang hall, an environment built for meditation.

Economy

Tajview hotel, the first five-star hotel in Agra, operated by the IHCL group Tajview Agra 2019 002.jpg
Tajview hotel, the first five-star hotel in Agra, operated by the IHCL group
A marble table top in Pietra Dura, a craft practised since the Mughal era in Agra PIETRA DURA - Agra - India.png
A marble table top in Pietra Dura , a craft practised since the Mughal era in Agra
A street scene in Agra, India A street scene in Agra, India.jpg
A street scene in Agra, India
The Sadar Bazar market Sadar Bazar, Agra.jpg
The Sadar Bazar market
An Agra craftsman working with marble stone inlays. The marble is coloured red to give contrast while working. Marbleworks-1.jpg
An Agra craftsman working with marble stone inlays. The marble is coloured red to give contrast while working.

Due to the presence of the Taj Mahal and other historic monuments, Agra has a booming tourism industry as well as royal crafts like Pietra Dura, marble inlay and carpets.

Today 40% of the population depends largely on agriculture, and others on the leather and footwear business and iron foundries. Agra is the second most self-employed in India in 2007, behind Varanasi, followed by Bhopal, Indore and Patna. According to the National Sample Survey Organization, in 1999–2000, 431 of every 1,000 employed males were self-employed in the city, which grew to 603 per 1,000 in 2004–05. [50] Tourism contributes to the economy of Agra. The Tajview hotel by the IHCL was the first one in the five-star category that was opened in the city.[ citation needed ] Agra is home to Asia's largest spa called Kaya Kalp – The Royal Spa, at the Hotel Mughal in Agra. [51]

Agra has many industries. Uttar Pradesh's first plant biotech company Harihar Biotech is located near the Taj. There are about 7,000 small scale industrial units. Agra city is also known for its leather goods, the oldest and famous leather firm Taj Leather World is in Sadar bazar. The carpets, handicrafts, zari and zardozi (embroidery work), marble and stone carving and inlay work. Agra is known for its sweets (Petha and Gajak) and snacks (Dalmoth), garment manufacturers and exporters and automobile industry. Carpet making was introduced to the city by Moghul Emperor Babur and since then this art has flourished.

The city centre place at Agra has jewellery and garments shops. The silver and gold jewellery hub is at Choube Ji Ka Fatak. The Shah Market area is an electronics market while Sanjay Place is the trade centre of Agra.

Development

Agra ranked fifth on both the financial penetration index, which measures things like the presence of ATMs and bank branches, and on the consumption index, indicating the city's transformation into an urban town. There are many new buildings, shopping complexes, malls, roads, flyovers and apartments coming up. On the India City Competitiveness Index, the city ranked 26th in 2010, [52] 32nd in 2011 [53] and 37th in 2012 [54]

Education

It was during the advent of the Mughal era that Agra grew as a centre of Islamic education. In the year 1823, Agra College, one of the oldest colleges in India was formed out of a Sanskrit school established by the Scindia rulers. In the British era, Agra became a great centre of Hindi literature with people like Babu Gulab Rai at the helm.

Universities and colleges

and catered to colleges spread across the United Provinces, the Rajputana, the Central Provinces and almost to entire northern India. There are 10 institutes comprising various departments and around 700 Colleges are affiliated to this university. The historic Agra University was later rechristened as Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar University by the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati.

Media

Agra is home to the Dainik Jagran newspaper, the most read Hindi newspaper in India. Other widely read papers include Amar Ujala , Rajasthan Patrika ,Aaj, Hindustan,The Sea Express, "daily Amar Bharti", Deepsheel Bharat, DLA. The English dailies published are The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Economic Times, and The Pioneer. The Urdy dailies published are Prabhanjan Sanket, and Inksaaf. There is also the Hindi and English mixed newspaper tabloid I-NEXT.

State-owned All India Radio has a local station in Agra which transmits various programs of mass interest. There are four private FM radio stations, 92.7 BIG FM (Reliance Broadcast Network Limited), 93.7 Fever FM, 94.5 Tadka FM and Radio City 91.9 FM. [55] There is a community Radio Station 90.4 FM.

Radio stations

Fairs and festivals

Taj Mahotsav

Taj Mahotsav is a cultural festival that was started in the year 1992 and has grown since then. The year 2019 was the 28th year of this Mahotsav. This festival also figures in the calendar of events of the Department of Tourism, Government of India. A large number of Indian and foreign tourists coming to Agra join this festivity in the month of February (18 to 27). One of the objectives of this craft fair is to provide encouragement to the artisans. It also makes available works of art and craft at reasonable prices that are not inflated by high maintenance cost.

Ram Barat

Ram Barat (Hindi: राम बारात) is a part of Ramlila celebration in Agra. It is one of the biggest annual events in North India. Ram Barat literally means Baraat Marriage procession of Sri Ram. Every year a new locality is chosen in Agra and is elaborately decorated with lights & flowers. The area is given a major facelift befitting the venue for the divine marriage.

Taj Literature Festival

Taj Literature Festival saw stars of the literary world manifest themselves on the earth of Agra. The galaxy included the stalwarts, Muzaffar Ali, Shobha De, Prahlad Kakker and Raghu Rai. The stage shone brilliant and the heritage city breathed life. This festival, an attempt to rejuvenate that aesthetic spirit which is a soul of this historically rich city, Agra. The city that nurtured the likes of Ghalib, Tansen, Surdas, Nazeer and many more.

Kailash Fair

The Kailash Fair is held in the town of Kailash, about 12 km (7 mi) from Agra, in the month of August/September. It is a major fair celebrated in honour of Lord Shiva who is believed to have appeared here in the form of stone Lingam.

Taj Municipal Museum in Paliwal Park Agra

The museum-cum-public library is housed in an old heritage structure, built in 1922 and renovated in the 1940s. Queen Victori's bronze statues are also exposed to this Museum. The other old statues and memories of the Mughal Era are exposed for the attraction of tourists, something new other than usual attraction.

Balloon Festival

Agra Balloon Festival is organised in February every year.

Notable individuals

Sister cities

Agra is twinned with:

See also

Related Research Articles

Taj Mahal Marble mausoleum in Agra, India

The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the southern bank of the river Yamuna in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal; it also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan himself. The tomb is the centrepiece of a 17-hectare (42-acre) complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall.

Fatehpur Sikri Town in Uttar Pradesh, India

Fatehpur Sikri is a town in the Agra District of Uttar Pradesh, India. The city itself was founded as the capital of Mughal Empire in 1571 by Emperor Akbar, serving this role from 1571 to 1585, when Akbar abandoned it due to a campaign in Punjab and was later completely abandoned in 1610.

Mumtaz Mahal Chief consort of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan

Mumtaz Mahal was the Empress consort of the Mughal Empire from 19 January 1628 to 17 June 1631 as the chief consort of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The Taj Mahal in Agra, often cited as one of the Wonders of the World, was commissioned by her husband to act as her tomb.

The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum in Agra, India, built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan.

Agra Fort UNESCO World Heritage site in India

Agra Fort is a historical fort in the city of Agra in India. It was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638, when the capital was shifted from Agra to Delhi. Before capture by the British, the last Indian rulers to have occupied it were the Marathas. In 1983, the Agra fort was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is about 2.5 km northwest of its more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. The fort can be more accurately described as a walled city.

Mughal architecture Indo-Islamic architecture from 16th to 18th century India

Mughal architecture is the type of Indo-Islamic architecture developed by the Mughals in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries throughout the ever-changing extent of their empire in the Indian subcontinent. It developed the styles of earlier Muslim dynasties in India as an amalgam of Islamic, Persian, Turkic and Indian architecture. Mughal buildings have a uniform pattern of structure and character, including large bulbous domes, slender minarets at the corners, massive halls, large vaulted gateways, and delicate ornamentation; "grandiose architecture was the most visible of the ways that the Mughals used to assert their sense of superiority and their supremacy over what in many ways remained to them an alien land". Examples of the style can be found in modern-day India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

Buland Darwaza

Buland Darwaza, or the "Door of victory", was built in 1602 A.D. by Mughal emperor Akbar to commemorate his victory over Gujarat. It is the main entrance to the Jama Masjid at Fatehpur Sikri, which is 43 km from Agra, India.

Akbars tomb an important Mughal architectural masterpiece located in sikandra Agra

Akbar's tomb is the tomb of the Mughal emperor Akbar. This tomb is an important Mughal architectural masterpiece. It was built in 1605–1613 by his son Jahangir and is situated in 119 acres of grounds in Sikandra, a sub of Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Culture of Uttar Pradesh

The Culture of Uttar Pradesh is an Indian Culture which has its roots in the Hindi and Urdu literature, music, fine arts, drama and cinema. Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, has several beautiful historical monuments such as Bara Imambara and Chhota Imambara. It has also preserved the damaged complex of the Oudh-period British Resident's quarters, which are being restored.

Mehtab Bagh Charbagh garden in Agra, India, opposite the Taj Mahal

Mehtab Bagh is a charbagh complex in Agra, North India. It lies north of the Taj Mahal complex and the Agra Fort on the opposite side of the Yamuna River, in the flood plains. The garden complex, square in shape, measures about 300 by 300 metres and is perfectly aligned with the Taj Mahal on the opposite bank. During the rainy season, the ground becomes partially flooded.

Agra Fort railway station

Agra Fort Railway Station, is located near Agra Fort, in Rawatpara, Agra. It used to be one of the stations in India that had both broad gauge and metre gauge, until the line to Jaipur was converted to broad gauge. Agra Fort Railway Station comes under the North Central Railways.

Agra Cantonment railway station main railway station in the Indian city of Agra

Agra Cantonment is the main railway station in the Indian city of Agra. It is located near the Sadar Bazaar towards the southwest of the city. It lies on the main Delhi-Chennai and one of the Delhi-Mumbai lines.

Tourism in Uttar Pradesh

Situated in the northern part of India, bordering with the capital of India New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh is one of the most popular and an established tourist destination for both Indians and non-Indians alike in India. The most populous state of India, Uttar Pradesh contains many historical monuments and places of religious significance. Geographically, Uttar Pradesh is very diverse, with Himalayan foothills in the extreme north and the Gangetic Plain in the centre. It is also home of India's most visited sites, the Taj Mahal, and Hinduism's holiest city, Varanasi. Kumbh city, Allahabad. Kathak, one of the eight forms of Indian classical dances, originated from Uttar Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh is at the heart of India, hence it is also known as The Heartland of India. Cuisine of Uttar Pradesh like Awadhi cuisine, Mughlai cuisine, Kumauni cuisine are very famous not only in India but also many places abroad.

Chini Ka Rauza

Chini ka Rauza is a funerary monument, rauza in Agra, India, containing the tomb of Allama Afzal Khan Mullah, a scholar and poet who was the Prime Minister of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. The tomb was built in 1635. Chini ka Rauza is situated just 1 kilometer north of Itmad-Ud-Daulah Tomb, on the eastern bank of Yamuna river in Agra.

Akbari architecture

Akbari architecture refers to the style of Indo-Islamic architecture conceived during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar using elite Indic architectural vocabulary. His successors further added to this style, leading to the unique and individualistic style of Mughal architecture. Some examples of this style are Humayun's Tomb, which was the first of a long succession of garden-tombs, the Agra Fort, the Allahabad Fort, the Lahore Fort, the abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri and Akbar's own tomb.

Architecture of Uttar Pradesh

The architecture of Uttar Pradesh demonstrates a diverse and eclectic combination of Buddhist, Hindu, Indo-Islamic and Indo-European architectural styles. Two of its architectural monuments—the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort as well as the township of Fatehpur Sikri founded by the famous Mughal Emperor Akbar are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The architectural structures in Uttar Pradesh include Buddhist Stupas and Viharas, ancient monasteries, townships, forts, palaces, temples, mosques, mausoleums, memorials and other community structures.

Black Taj Mahal legendary black marble mausoleum

The Black Taj Mahal, also known as the Black Taj, Kaala Taj, or The Second Taj, is a legendary black marble mausoleum that is said to have been planned to be built across the Yamuna River opposite the Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. Mughal emperor Shah Jahan is said to have desired a mausoleum for himself similar to that of the one he had built in memory of his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

<i>Persian Inscriptions on Indian Monuments</i> book by Hekmat E Shirazi

Persian Inscriptions on Indian Monuments is a book written in Persian by Dr Ali Asghar Hekmat E Shirazi and published in 1956 and 1958 and 2013. new edition contains the Persian texts of more than 120 epigraphical inscriptions found on historical monuments in India, many of which are currently listed as national heritage sites or registered as UNESCO world heritage sites. The most recent edition, containing an additional 200 epigraphical inscriptions from Indian monuments, has been published in Persian; an English edition is also being printed.

Kandahari Begum was the first wife of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and the mother of his first child, Princess Parhez Banu Begum.

Ram Nath is an Indian historian who specializes in Mughal architecture. He obtained a doctorate from the Agra University, and later taught at the University of Rajasthan. He is regarded as one of India's leading art historians.

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Further reading