Area Size : 188.4 Sq. Km.Population : 1.65 Millions.
Popular Languages : Hindi, English
Agra is a city on the banks of the Yamuna River in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India. It finds mention in the epic Mahabharata where it was called Agreva, or 'the border of the forest'.Legend ascribes the founding of the city to Raja Badal Singh (around 1475), whose fort, Badalgarh, stood on or near the site of the present Fort. However, the 11th century Persian poet Mas'ud Sa'd Salman writes of a desperate assault on the fortress of Agra, then held by the Shahi King Jayapala, by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni.Sultan Sikandar Lodhi was the first to move his capital from Delhi to Agra in the year 1506; he died in 1517 and his son Ibrahim Lodhi remained in power there for nine more years, finally being defeated at the Battle of Panipat in 1526.It achieved fame as the capital of the Mughal emperors from 1526 to 1658 and remains a major tourist destination because of its many splendid Mughal-era buildings, most notably the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, all three of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
History: Agra is a medieval city situated on the banks of the river Yamuna. It is generally accepted that Sultan Sikandar Lodi, the Ruler of the Delhi Sultanate founded it in the year 1504. After the Sultan's death the city passed on to his son Sultan Ibrahim Lodhi. He ruled his Sultanate from Agra until he fell fighting to Babar in the First battle of Panipat fought in 1526.
In the year 1556, the great Hindu warrior, Hemu Vikramaditya also known as Samrat Hem Chander Vikramaditya won Agra as the Prime Minister cum Chief of Army of Adil Shah of the Afghan Suri Dynasty. The commander of Humayun / Akbar's forces in Agra, Tardi Beg Khan was so scared of Hemu that he retreated from the city without a fight. This was Hemu's 21st continuous win since 1554, and he later went on to conquer Delhi, having his coronation at Purana Qil'a in Delhi 0n 7th Oct. 1556 and re-established the Hindu Kingdom and the Vikramaditya Dynasty in North India.
The golden age of the city began with the Mughals. It was known then as Akbarabad and remained the capital of the Mughal Empire under the Emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. Shah Jahan later shifted his capital to Shahjahanabad in the year 1649.
Since Akbarabad 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 river Yamuna. The garden is called the Aram Bagh or the Garden of Relaxation. His grandson Akbar raised the towering ramparts of the Great Red Fort, besides making Agra a center for learning, arts, commerce and religion. Akbar also built a new city on the outskirts of Akbarabad called Fatehpur Sikri. This city was built in the form of a Mughal military camp in stone.
His son Jahangir had a love of gardens and flora and fauna and laid many gardens inside the Red Fort or Lal Qil'a. Shah Jahan ,known for his keen interest in architecture, gave Akbarabad its most prized monument, The Taj Mahal. Built in loving memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, the mausoleum was completed in 1653.
Shah Jahan later shifted the capital to Delhi during his reign, but his son Aurangzeb moved the capital back to Akbarabad, usurping his father and imprisoning him in the Fort there. Akbarabad remained the capital of India during the rule of Aurangzeb until he shifted it to Aurangabad in the Deccan in 1653. After the decline of the Mughal Empire, the city came under the influence of Marathas and Jats and was called Agra, before falling into the hands of the British Raj in 1803.
In 1835 when the Presidency of Agra was established by the British, the city became the seat of government, and just two year later it was the 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 lead 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.
Agra is the birth place of the religion known as Din-i Ilahi, which flourished during the reign of Akbar and also of the Radhaswami Faith, which has around two million followers worldwide.
When it comes to visiting Taj Mahal, there is no such thing called best time and worst time, because the Taj Mahal offers a different perspective to all the visitors all the time. The colors of Taj Mahal changes at different hours of the day and during different seasons.
Like a jewel, the Taj sparkles in moonlight when the semi-precious stones inlaid into the white marble on the main mausoleum catch the glow of the moon.
The Taj is pinkish in the morning, milky white in the evening and golden when the moon shines.
The best time to visit Taj Mahal revolves around the weather of Agra, the city of the Taj Mahal. As per the climate of Agra, the peak season for Taj Mahal visit is the winter season i.e., from October to March. Otherwise, there is no such thing as "the best time" to visit this magnificent monument. You may see Taj Mahal in any month of the year and it will come forward as breathtaking as it has always been. Infact, different seasons as well as different hours of the day lend a different aura to it.
By now, we have answered your question of "when to visit Taj Mahal of Agra". Remaining is, how much time to spend there. We will suggest that spend at least a day at the Taj Mahal to capture its beauty fully.
Indian airlines connects Agra to Delhi, Khajuraho and Varanasi. Kheria Airport is about 9 km. from Govt. of India Tourist Office.
BY RAIL :
Agra is a major railway junction on main broad guage routes to the south, east and west. Two of the best trains viz. Shatabdi Express (between Delhi and Bhopal) and Taj Express ( between Delhi and Gwalior) are available to access agra. Some other train servicing the city are : G.T. Express ( New Delhi to Chennai), Dadar Express (Mumbai to Amritsar), Jhelum Express (Jammu to Pune), Kalinga Utkal Express (New Delhi to Puri), Karnataka Express (New Delhi to Trivendrum), Ujjani Express (Dehradoon to Ujjain) and Hyderabad Express (New Delhi to Hyderabad).
BY ROAD :
Agra, on cross roads of national highways 2, 3 and 11, is excellently connected to all parts of the country. Some important road distances from Agra are: Bharatpur-54 km., Delhi-204 km., Gwalior-119 km., Jaipur-232 km., Khajuraho-400 km., Lucknow-369 km., Mathura-45 km., Nainital-353 km., Varanasi-605 km. and Mussorie-417 km.