Agra : Love Story of the Taj
The splendor of the Taj Mahal draws in tourists like moths to the bright flame of Agra. In fact, the Taj has become a common motif in Agra due to its incredible popularity. However, that is not the only thing that this historically beautiful city has to offer.Agra is the legacy of the glorious Mughal Empire. They have left behind not only one of the wonders of the world but also some incredible pieces of architecture. Weaving through these fascinating places will leave you enriched with a slice of Mughal history. Its importance in the annals of Indian history cannot be underestimated. At the same time, its ancient charm provides the perfect atmosphere to be lost in the stunning vistas that open up before you.
How to Get There
Agra’s Kheria Airport is located about 12.5 km from the heart of the city. Agra is connected to Varanasi, Delhi and Khajuraho by air.
Agra is located in between the main train lines from Delhi to Mumbai and from Delhi to Chennai. It is like a junction and this makes Agra easy to reach by train from almost anywhere. Agra has tree railway stations. The main one is Agra Cant. The second one is Agra Fort which is the oldest train station in India and trains to east and central India passes from this station. The third one a small station called Raja Ki Mandi
Travel to Agra is even more interesting by the road transport as Agra has excellent road networks which is the national highway connecting Delhi and Agra. The main bus stations in Agra are Idgah and Agra Fort and there are scheduled, air-conditioned and luxury busses from Delhi, Jaipur, Gwalior, Jhansi and Lucknow.
You may have heard a lot about the Taj Mahal and seen a lot of pictures. It has been heaped praises upon praises by everyone. It is considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World. However, no matter how much high your expectations are you will never fail to be stunned and stupefied by the sheer beauty of the majestic Taj Mahal.
The Emperor Shah Jahan built this magnificent building as a memorial to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. He and his wife now lay peacefully side by side for eternity. The Taj Mahal is a pure ode to the joy of love.The incredible architecture of the Taj Mahal never fails to impress. Its immaculately designed minarets and dome stand with pride reflecting the love with which it was created. Exquisite marble screens cover the structure with fascinating pietra dura which is a kind of inlay work done in marble. Semiprecious stones were used with abandon to adorn the beautiful walls inside. The glory of the Taj lies in its white marble. The massive structure is composed almost entirely of white marble.
Specialists from Europe were brought along with 20000 workers from central Asia and India to work on the building during its creation. Calligraphers were brought from Persia and Syria while sculptors came from Bukhara. Stone cutters were hired from Baluchistan. Certain specialists were hired solely for crafting flowers from marble. All of their efforts resulted in one of the most beautiful buildings ever to have been created. The Taj Mahal is not just the epitome of love. It is also a symbol of hard work.
With the Taj Mahal looming large over the life of Agra, it is easy to forget that the city can boast of some other incredible structures. The immense Agra Fort is one of these spectacular structures. The massive fort is built mostly with red sandstone which has bestowed it the name, Lal Qila. While Akbar started the construction, it was Shah Jahan who completed it adding white marble wherever possible.Inside the Agra Fort, you should be ready to get lost in a maze of historical buildings. It is an incredibly romantic place where it seems a mystery lies in every corner. The entire fort, is however, not open for the public.
On the outskirts of the Agra city lays a spectacular mausoleum commemorating the glory of the greatest Mughal Emperor, Akbar. The enchanting blend of Rajput and Mughal architectural designs add the proper depth to the red sandstone structure. The white geometric patterns on its walls that attract you from afar are actually pieces of marble inlaid in the red sandstone. The jali work is excellent while the garden is laid out perfectly. In short, the beauty and magnificence of the structure befits the grandeur of Akbar, the most glorious Emperor of India
As you feast your eyes on the exquisite beauty of the tomb, you will understand why it has been nicknamed the Baby Taj. Although the beauty of this tomb is nowhere near to that of the Taj, it is still remarkable. Pietra dura has been used extensively in the structure adding to the glamour of the architecture. The walls have been decorated with semiprecious stones. The latticework is just as fascinating. The tranquil atmosphere at the tomb is improved by the sight of the Yamuna River flowing languidly nearby.
Fatehpur Sikri is a dream in red sandstone. The building, the courtyard and even the pavements have all been created in red sandstone. The beautiful fortified city was built by Akbar is honor of the Sufi saint Sheikh Salim Chishti who predicted accurately that Akbar would beget a son soon. Inside this ancient city lies a fantastic mosque dedicated to the great saint. The huge space inside Fatehpur Sikri is perfect for taking a walk surrounded by fascinating pieces of Mughal architecture. There are a few palaces inside as well which probably belonged to the wives of Akbar.