Agra was once the capital of the Mughal Empire and even today it seems to linger in the past. Not surprising, for the Mughal emperors with their passion for building, endowed the city with some of the finest structures in the world. It is very easy to slip away here through the centuries into the grandeur and intrigues of the Mughal court. Agra is an old city and it is said that its name was derived from Agrabana, a forest thats finds mention in the epic
Mahabharta.In more recent times Agra came into prominence when Sikandar Lodi made it his capital city in 1501. The Lodi rule was to end very soon and Agra passed into the possession of the Mughals. It was during the time of the third emperor Akbar that Agra came into its own. He embarked on the construction of the massive Agra Fort in 1565. Though Akbar was diverted into building a new capital at Fatehpur Sikari not far away, Agra continued to retain its importance and Shah Jehan, Akbar's grandson ornamented the city with that masterpiece of Mughal architecture -the Taj Mahal and built several other beautiful buildings within the Agra Fort. Agra is an ancient city on the Yamuna River in India, within the state of Uttar Pradesh. It is famous as being home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World-the Taj Mahal. It achieved prominence as the capital of the Mughal sovereigns from 1526 to 1658 and remains a major tourist destination because of its many splendid Mughal-era buildings. A pleasant town with a comparatively slow pace, Agra is known for its superb inlay work on marble and soapstone by craftsmen who are descendants of those who worked under the Mughals. The city is also famous for its carpets, gold thread embroidery and leather shoes.
HistoryFor anyone with a deep interest in history, a summary of Agra's history would indeed provide a wealth of information. Situated on the banks of river Yamuna between Mathura and Surajpur, Agra was originally a part of the Surasena Empire with Mathura as its capital. But it came into limelight when Sikander Lodhi, the Sultan of Delhi made it his capital in the 16th century. After the advent of the Mughals, there was a shift in the power play and Agra became the most important seat of Mughal power in India between the 16th and 17th centuries.
business center during the Mughal Agra was one of the most important cities under the Mughals, which is amply evident from the numerous historical monuments in and around the city. The earliest reference for Agra comes from the epical age, when Mahabharata refer Agra as Agravana. In the sources prior to this, Agra has been referred as Arya Griha or the abode of the Aryans. The first person who referred Agra by its modern name was Ptolemy. Agra came to its own when Shahjahan ascended to the throne of Mughal Empire. He marked the zenith of Mughal architecture, when he built the Taj in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. In his later years, Shahjahan shifted his capital to the new city of Shahjahanabad in Delhi and ruled from there. Shahjahan was dethroned in 1658 by his son, Aurangzeb who imprisoned him in the Agra Fort. Aurangzeb shifted the capital back to Agra till his death. After the death of Aurangzeb, Mughal Empire could not touch its peak and many regional kingdoms emerged. The post-Mughal era of Agra saw the rule of the Jats, Marathas and finally the British taking over the city.
How to Get There
By AirAgra has its own airport which connects Agra with all the major places in India. The Agra airport or the Kheria airport has all the major domestic airlines having their services to this place.
By TrainAgra has a major railway station by having stoppage for almost all the Buy Trains to south India, Mumbai and many Buy Trains to Calcutta. The Rajdhani and Shatabdi Buy Trains have also their stoppage in Agra. Agra is connected Buy Train with all major cities of the country.
By RoadAgra, on cross-roads of National Highways 2, 3. and 11, is excellently connected to all parts of the country. The state transports have ordinary as well as deluxe bus services for this place of the Taj.
Agra fairs & festivalsFairs and festivals are celebrated with traditional gaiety and fervor to invoke divine blessings as well as for the sheer joy of living. A celebration of life at its best.
Bateshwar FairSituated at a distance of 70 km. from Agra on the banks of river Yamuna, Bateshwar is an important spiritual and cultural centre. The place is named after the presiding deity of the region, Bateshwar Mahadeo and has 108 temples dedicated to the gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon. During the months of Oct. & Nov. a large fair is organized from Shashthi of Kartik month to Panchami of Agrahayan month. Devotees congregate here in large numbers to worship Lord Shiva and take holy dips in river Yamuna. A livestock fair is also organized and owners and buyers conduct serious business combined with the gaiety of a market place.
Taj MahotsavThe Taj Mahotsav at Agra is a colorful display of the Arts, crafts, culture and cuisine of the Braj area. Organized by U.P. Tourism and held as an annual event at the Shilpgram, Taj Mahotsav is a fitting tribute to the legendary skills of master craftsmen of Agra and adjoining regions.
Ram BaratThe marriage procession of Sri Ram, is held every year during Ramlila celebrations at Agra. Every year a new locale of the town is chosen as Janakpuri, which is elaborately decorated to perform the royal wedding. The Rambarat (marriage procession) starts from Lala Channomaiji Id Baradari for Janakpuri passing through different parts of the town. The barat is a large procession of Jhankis followed by the swaroops of Ram-Lakshman mounted on elephants.
Lathmar HoliLathmaar Holi is the most colourful and exuberant form of traditional Holi festival celebrated at Barsana, 48 km. from Mathura and at Nandgaon 7 km. ahead, women folk here beat the men with 'Lathis' or Bamboo poles while showering coloured water on them with great rejoice and merriment.
Kailash FairHeld at Kailash, 12 kms from Agra. It is a major fair celebrated in honour of Lord Shiva who is believed to have appeared here in the form of a stone lingam. It is celebrated during the months of August-September.
JanmasthmiThe twin cities of Mathura-Vrindavan celebrate the festival of Janmasthmi with great pomp and show. Temples are heavily decorated with 'Jhankis' or tableaus, depicting various episodes of Lord Krishna's life. The special attraction during the period are the gold and silver 'Jhulas' or swings which are taken out on display only during the occasion and the 'Ghatas', when the entire temple is decorated in only one colour-the colour of the 'Ghata' decided for that Day. The Raaslila enactments further add to the festive spirit.
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