The Grandeur of Agra Fort

Agra rose to prominence during the Mughal reign and has been a major historical and heritage centre of India since then. Sultan Sikandar Lodi found the city in 1504 and in 1526, it was captured by Babur – the first Mughal emperor. His grandson Jalal ud-din Muhammed Akbar, upon becoming the king, made the city his capital. After his death, his descendants Jahangir and Shah Jahan too ruled India from here. The city fell into the British hands in 1803 and remained with them till 1947. Agra Fort-interiors1Although Taj Mahal is the most-visited attraction in the region, there are many other places of tourist interest here, such as Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort and Tomb of Akbar. People during their Agra tour consider flocking to these places of historical significance.

Agra Fort

The fort was built in the 11th century under the jurisdiction of the Rajputs. From the 16th century, the Lodis, Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan ruled from here. The walls of this 94-acre and semi-circular fortification reach a whopping 70 metres in height and one and a half mile in circumference. It is a massive complex with its front side having two walls; one behind the other. Agra Fort-interiors2Embrasures allowed the troops to fire arrows and bullets from a certain height from within the thick defensive exterior. Battlements allowing soldiers to man the buildings inside the complex can also be seen inside this military establishment. According to some historic accounts, about 500 buildings existed inside the fortress, most of which were destroyed by either Shah Jahan or colonists.

Four gateways are provided to enter inside, with one of them opening towards River Yamuna. The most prominent of them is the Delhi Gate, which is built in white marble and has a moat and a drawbridge. Another gate at an angle of 90 degrees was constructed after the former to make it tough for enemies to infiltrate. Contemporary entry is through the Amar Singh Gate, which opens up into the courtyard of the Diwan-i-Aam, having beautifully-decorated walls. The Machhi Mahal inclusive of gardens and water fountains is situated behind the hall of public audience. Interiors of this quadrangular complex are richly decorated while the outer walls of the inner buildings have brackets to balance light and provide shadows. A pillared hall is located in the north of the complex.

Agra Fort-interiors3The courtyard of Jahangir Mahal gives a magnificent view of the Taj Mahal and its terrace has two rooms and a number of reservoirs used for water supply. Overlooking the yard is a small room where Shah Jahan was held captive by his son Aurangzeb. Towards the north of the courtyard is the Moti Masjid or the Pearl Mosque. Agra is foremost among the various holidays destinations in India and is perfect for sampling the Mughal heritage.

Helpful Information for Visitors

This impressive fortress is open for tourists from sunrise to sunset and the entry fee is INR 20 for Indians and INR 300 for travelers coming from abroad. Children up to 15 years of age do not have to pay anything to witness its grandeur. Cigarettes, weapons and electronics are banned inside the complex as is touching and scratching the walls.

Historical Red Sandstone Forts in India

India, known for its glorious legacy and rich heritage, is visited by tourists from different parts of the world. Land of some of the earliest civilizations of the world, this country features ancient shrines, historical monuments and many architectural wonders. Among all prominent places of interest, historical complexes are among the most popular tourist attractions in the country. There are many palaces and other regal monuments here that flaunt exemplary ancient architectural designs. These quaint royal structures are symbols of the glorious past of this Asian country. Some popular monuments of India are – Agra Fort, which travelers can visit during Agra tours, Amer Palace in Jaipur and Red Fort in New Delhi. Two factors, which are common about these three structures, are that all three of them were constructed using red sandstone and by Mughal emperors.

Agra Fort

Agra Fort

Agra Fort

Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. This red-sandstone monument is visited by hordes of tourists, including historians, archaeologists and art patrons all-year round. Before the construction of the present-day edifice, a small palace stood at its place. The Mughals conquered that place after the First Battle of Panipat in the 15th century and built the current magnificent structure here. Sprawling over an area of more than 90 acres, this building has walls, which are up to 70 feet high. This ancient complex is sometimes known as the Walled City due to its expansive premises, which remains behind soaring walls. This destination is worth visiting for travelers who want to explore the actual grandeur of the Indian history.

Amer Palace

Amer Palace, constructed by Raja Man Singh I, is one of the most prominent historic structures in the city of Jaipur. Sprawling in full splendour atop a hill in the Aravalli range, this magnificent complex features breathtaking architecture and design. Its large ramparts, cobbled paths and rows of gates captivate the onlookers. The intricate carvings and paintings on the walls, as well as the pillars, interestingly feature Hindu elements. Reports from a recent survey revealed that, on an average, more than 5000 tourists visit this ancient heritage site in a day. This red-sandstone palace is a must-visit for those who are planning to spend their vacations on Jaipur tours.

Red Fort

Red Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located in Chandni Chowk area of Old Delhi and is a prominent tourist attraction. This historic complex has served as the residence to Mughal emperors for over 200 years, until the year 1857. Spread across an area of more than a hundred hectares, this palace houses ramparts, imperial apartments and large halls. Visitors spending their holidays on Delhi tours would not want to miss out exploring this prominent place of historical significance. Currently, there are many museums inside the premises of this ancient monument and elaborate light, and sound shows are conducted here attracting hordes of tourists all-year round. People who want to visit all the three attractions in one trip to India, can opt for the Golden Triangle tour package, which includes all three cities – Agra, Jaipur and Delhi, which are home to these glorious monuments.

Things That You would Come to Know on a Taj Mahal Agra Tour

Taj MahalWho does not know about Taj Mahal, that eternal monument made in white which signifies love. People coming to Delhi or to nearby cities go for the Agra day tour to see this monument. One can get ready early in the morning to visit this monument which is about 200 kms away from Delhi (roughly 2.5 hours drive). This can be done by using a taxi or a bus (group tours are conducted daily). Mind you there are no scheduled flights from Delhi to this city. Most of the time, the Taj Mahal Agra tour is conducted along with a visit to Fatehpur Sikri and Red Fort.

This article is to make you aware of the some of the unknown facts about this beautiful medieval monument. First is that the four minarets on the four corners of this monument are tilted at a slight angle outwards. This is because, in the event of an earthquake, these would fall away from the tombs.

Second interesting claim is that there was a plan to built another Taj, a replica of this one, in black marble, across the river. This plan is claimed by a European traveler who traveled Agra at that time, Jean Baptiste Tavernier. This presence of ruins of black marble base at the Mehtab Bagh is said to testify this claim. However, this claim is discounted by the modern archaeologists who do not think it to be true.

Third interesting fact about the Taj is that this has been built on a wooden base. Finest quality of Ebony wood was used in its foundation. Due to its being close to the bed of River Yamuna, the woods were provided with regular supply of water which strengthened its base and prevented this monument from collapsing for all these centuries.

Fourth interesting aspect is that the architecture of Taj has inspired construction of replicas worldwide. There is a Taj Mahal Bangladesh, Bibi ka Maqbara in Aurangabad, Tripoli Shrine Temple inWisconsin, US and Trump Taj Mahal in New Jersey, US.

Fifth, more than 2 million people visit this monument every year bringing in a good amount of tourist revenue to the government. It is definitely the most important part of the Golden Triangle tour packages being offered by the tourism companies.

Sixth, 28 types of precious and semi-precious stones were used in the white marble as a part of carvings. These were brought from different parts of Middle East and Indian subcontinent. Besides these stones, expert sculptors, calligraphers, stonecutters and other craftsmen were marshaled from different regions of Asia, extending as far as Syria in West to Bukhara in North.

Seventh, the actual tomb of Mumtaz Mahal has 99 names of God written on its sides.

Mughal Heritage of Agra To Be Seen On A Day Tour

The glory of Agra has been prevalent since the epic of Mahabharata and its grandeur magnified from the 1500s, when Sikandar Lodi made this place the capital of his kingdom. Since then, the imposing charm of this area was enhanced by other sovereigns, who further developed the city and established a multitude of graceful edifices. The majesty of this region has a stark influence from its prodigious architectural wonders. Furthermore, a sense of prestige and honor pervades the entire region, which was provided by great rulers like Babar, Akbar and Shah Jahan. Travelers who are planning to visit this historically-significant land can choose an Agra day tour, which offers a one-day trip to this location. During this tour, most important attractions of this city are covered.

The tour is organised to take travelers to the prominent attractions of Agra, thereby allowing people to make optimum use of their vacation time. Vacationers can arrive from various parts of the world and assemble at the starting point as designated by organisers. Meal options are generally provided in these packages along with comfortable means of transportation. Such trips are beneficial as they provide the opportunity to explore major sites in the shortest time. They are not bound to be at one place and can experience the splendour of various regions of India in bits and fragments.

Sikandra Tomb

Sikandar Lodi tomb

Sikandar Lodi tomb

This tomb of the great emperor Akbar is a significant landmark of Mughal architecture, which exhibits the amalgamation of Indian and Persian design. It is named after Delhi ruler Sikandar Lodi and is built immaculately with precise carvings on its walls. The main highlight of this edifice is its gateway that has four minarets with marble chhatris mounted over them. The tomb has a four-tiered pyramidal construction inside that has a marble pavilion containing the false tomb; whereas the real tomb lies in the basement. Akbar himself ordered the construction of this complex as per the Tartary tradition of the erstwhile period and the final touch was provided by his son Jahangir. Art enthusiasts and other tourists frequently visit this place to admire its beauty and pay homage to the great Mughal king.

Mehtab Bagh

Mehtab Bagh

Mehtab Bagh

This finely-manicured garden is also called Moonlight Garden as it lies parallel to the majestic Taj Mahal and provides a breathtaking view of this white edifice under lucent moon. Mehtab Bagh, spread over an area of 25 acres, proves to be an exemplary spot for travellers to spend their leisure time. It is a charbagh complex, which has a square shape and was last of the eleven gardens that was built by the Mughals along the bank of Yamuna River. The place also has an archaeological significance as excavations carried out by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in the area unearthed an octagonal tank comprising 25 fountains. During India holidays, tourists can visit many such beautiful architectural wonders of this historic city.

Spent Quality Time walking through the Historical Bylanes of Agra

The historical city of Agra puts India on the world map as it is home to architectural marvel Taj Mahal, among other significant monuments. In addition, it holds the distinction of being the capital of undivided pre-independence India under the Mughal rule. A day would not do justice to the brilliance that the place is but, loaded with the right information, a successful Agra tour could be designed that inculcates all the highlights.

 

The Grand Design

 

A day that promises to be filled with learning historically important details and visiting imposing structures such as the Taj, should start with a hearty breakfast. Tourists could savour a calorie rich first meal comprising of Kachoris and Jalebis, a local favourite at any restaurant or roadside eatery of choice.

 

Post breakfast, the first stop must be the legendary monument dedicated to love, Taj Mahal that was built by the Mughal ruler Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife, Mumtaz. Symmetrically designed and decorated with domes, arches and a pond, in which the reflection of the structure can be seen, it took over twenty years and over twenty thousand men to construct the structure. It is claimed that the emperor maimed the workers who had worked on the monument so that anything like it could never be rebuilt. The monument has claimed back its place on the Seven Wonders of the World list. It has the tombs of Mumtaz and Shah Jahan. Jama Masjid, a mosque honouring Jahanara Begum, the daughter of the emperor, lies at a close distance from the epic carved in marble. Completed in the year 1648, it has an expansive cemented verandah and rubs shoulders with the large mosques in India. Agra Fort, right opposite Jama Masjid, is where Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son and successor, Aurangjeb. It is said that the former king spent his last years, sitting by a window inside the fort, longingly gazing in the direction of the tomb of his wife. Built by Akbar the Great, it is a UNESCO World Heritage. This can be the first round of Agra day tour to an end.

 

Visitors should then proceed for lunch to the main market of the city that has a selection of every possible cuisine due to the global nature of Agra. Tandoori dishes and curd-based preparations are highly recommended. Having been refuelled, the time for a drive is ripe to the third World Heritage Site in the city, Fatehpur Sikri, which is situated on the outskirts. The town of Fatehpur Sikri was where a fierce battle between the Mughal ruler Babur and Rana Sanga was fought. It has many beautiful buildings such as the Buland Darwaza and the Royal Palace.

 

With that, the sightseeing part of the trip is over and tourists could return to the city for enjoying an evening snack, chaat, a street delicacy that comprises of aloo tikkis, dahi bhallas and papdi. In addition to taking back great memories, visitors are advised to also take back the famed local sweetmeat, Petha.

Holiday Packages in India for an Agra Sojourn

Agra is known for its rich heritage, which is beautifully reflected in the historical monuments spread across the city. The most important reason for the popularity of this region is the famous Taj Mahal, which is located in the heart of the city. Though holidaymakers who have opted for Agra tour packages can visit its other renowned places of interest, such as Chini ka Rauza, Mehtab Bagh, Sikandra Fort and Dayal Bagh, this mausoleum receives the maximum footfall round the year. Apart from this, Agra Fort also reflects the impressive history of this city, and these places have been declared as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. A visit to these globally acclaimed masterpieces, form a part of most holiday packages offered by travel agencies and websites to this destination. Apart from Indian tour planners, international organizers plan trips to these places while on a tour to India. This is the reason why these attractions witness a high footfall from foreigners, apart from Indians.

World Heritage Sites – Taj Mahal and Agra Fort

This city has earned the sobriquet of the City of Taj due to the famous Taj Mahal. This white marble mausoleum was built by Shah Jahan who was the fifth Mughal emperor. This structure is dedicated to Mumtaz Mahal, wife of Shah Jahan. Situated on the bank of the Yamuna River, this complex comprises a guest house, mosque, outer courtyard with cloisters, and the main entrance to its south. A unique fact about this mausoleum is that masons, carvers, stone-cutters, dome builders, painters and calligraphers were invited from far-off locations like Persia and Italy to carve out this masterpiece. Looking the same from all the four sides, this tribute is so dexterously carved that it has earned a place among the seven wonders of the world. The four entrances of Taj Mahal have Quranic verses inscribed on them. Contrary to its contemporaries and other monuments of the same generation, there is a specialty in the way the inscriptions have been carved. In spite of the shape of its entrance, the inscriptions appear to be exactly of the same size. This has been deftly done by gradually increasing the size of the letters. Employing nearly 20000 workers, it took almost 22 years to build this gem of a monument.

Akbar, arguably the greatest of the Mughal rulers in India, deputed the construction of Agra Fort but the construction works were added till the reign of Shah Jahan. The exteriors of this monument is so constructed that it does not divulge the intricacies of the architecture hidden in its interiors and appears to be a fortified castle. Moti Masjid, a mosque built with immense expertise in white marble, is one among the many buildings, which have been erected inside this fort. Other important buildings inside the structure is Diwan-I-Am, Diwan-I-Khas and Musamman Burj, which give a vivid detail of the Muslim-Persian architecture prevalent in those days. Tourists planning to tour this city must visit all these attractions and get a glimpse of the architectural expertise of the people from the Mughal era.

 

Behold the Sight of the Interiors of Taj Mahal during an Agra Tour

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

An Agra tour is incomplete without a trip to the famous Taj Mahal, a symbol of love. This mausoleum was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. In order to fulfil her wish to construct an unforgettable monument to immortalise their love, the ruler organised a worldwide competition to finalise one particular design of the structure, which is now a masterpiece called Taj Mahal. Ustad Ahmad Lahauri designed its present day structure that took almost 22 years to get completed. Moreover, it was the hard work of approximately 20,000 craftsmen that resulted in such a magnificent masterpiece. This heritage building, an architectural marvel, showcases a fusion of both Islamic and Mughal architecture. The memorial complex includes many independent structures like tombs, mosques, gardens, fountains and gateways.

The Splendid Architecture of the Memorial

The enchanting mausoleum is made in the Pietra Dura technique, inlaid in geometrical and floral patterns with semi-precious and precious stones, such as Cornelian, Agate, Emerald, Mother of Pearl and Lapis-lazuli. The magnificent architecture of this Mughal era edifice describes the obsession of the emperor for perfection. The Mughal ruler himself paid attention to the minutest details of the construction and architecture of this majestic structure. The white marble was brought from quarries in Rajasthan and the red sandstone was transported from Delhi. Talking about the precious stones, if Jasper was carted from Punjab, then Carnelian was imported from Baghdad. On one hand, Turquoise was brought from Tibet, on other, jade, malachite and crystal transported were from Turkistan.

Taj Interiors

This UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated at the banks of Yamuna River, boasts of perfect symmetry across the length and width and therefore, seems intriguing to every passing visitor, leaving them gasping in awe. The visual appeal of this monument is enhanced on the night of a full moon that leaves it shining like a pearl.

Also called the Rauza-i-Munauwara, the mausoleum is the main attraction erected at the northern most end of the entire complex. The Taj Mahal is built on a square-shaped plinth and has an iwan (arch-shaped doorway) with a big dome and finial. The base is a multi-chambered cube with corners resembling an unequal octagon. Each of its four sides has a pishtaq (vaulted archway) to frame the iwan that comprises two arched balconies placed on either side. The tomb is framed by four minarets, one on all four corners of the square plinth. The main chamber consists of false sarcophagi of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal while their actual graves lie on a lower level.

The spectacular view of this architectural masterpiece is mesmerising as its huge dome and minarets having a slightly inward tilt and the walls are inscribed with verses of the Holy Quran in arabesque ornamentation. For a memorable trip to Agra with family, travellers can opt for family holiday packages in India that can offer them great deals and discounts.