Agra is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India. Agra is one of the most popular city in the state of Uttar Pradesh, and in India. It is as loved by Indians as it is by foreigners who throng here in large numbers to admire its beauty. Along with Delhi and Jaipur, Agra forms the Golden Triangle of tourism in India. Situated in Uttar Pradesh, Agra is synonymous with the Taj Mahal however there is lot more to the city than this world-famous monument.
Agra is 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. Agra is included on the Golden Triangle tourist circuit, along with Delhi and Jaipur; and the Uttar Pradesh Heritage Arc, tourist circuit of UP state, along Lucknow the capital of the state and Varanasi. Agra falls within the Braj cultural region.
The city was first mentioned in the epic Mahabharata, where it was called Agrevaa (derived from Sanskrit meaning - the border of the forest). Legend ascribes the founding of the city to Agre Jat clan, Agra is named after Agre or Agr Jat.
However, the 11th century Persian poet Masud Sad Salman writes of a desperate assault on the fortress of Agra, then held by the Shahi King Jayapala, by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni. It was mentioned for the first time in 1080 AD when a Ghaznavide force captured it. Sultan Sikandar Lodi (1488-1517) was the first to move his capital from Delhi to Agra in 1506. He governed the country from here and Agra assumed the importance of the second capital. He died in 1517 and his son, Ibrahim Lodi, remained in power there for nine more years and several palaces, wells and a mosque were built by him in the fort during his period. Finally being defeated at the Battle of Panipat in 1526. Between 1540 and 1556, Afghans, beginning with Sher Shah Suri ruled the area. It achieved fame as the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1556 to 1658.
Agra was the capital of the Mughal Empires. Under the Mughal reign Agra was called Akbarabad and was ruled by greats like Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan, etc. Their love for architecture, gardens and art and culture added a new dimension to Agra’s personality. From Persian gardens on the banks of the Yamuna to monuments and mausoleums, Agra’s golden age started during their rule. It was after the decline of the Mughal Empire and during the reign of the Marathas that Akbarabad became Agra. By 1803, it came under the British Raj that remained strong for most part until India gained independence in 1947.
Although Agra’s history is mainly associated with Mughal Empire, the place was established much before it and has linkages since Mahabharat period so Mahirshi Angira in 1000 BC. It is generally accepted that Sultan Sikandar Lodi, the Muslim ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, founded Agra in the year 1504. After the Sultan's death, the city passed on to his son, Sultan Ibrahim Lodi. He ruled his Sultanate from Agra until he fell fighting to Mughal padshah (emperor) Babar in the First battle of Panipat fought in 1526.
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 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 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 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 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.
Agra is well-connected with all major cities in India making it easily accessible. Being home to the Taj Mahal, it has been made sure that getting to the city and around is convenient for tourists. You can reach Agra via road, rail or air. Here is how to reach Agra:
As of now Air India connects Agra to the rest of the world via Khajuraho, Varanasi and Delhi 5 days a week. These flights are usually on time and observe full load factor. Agra still needs many more daily flights to chennai, hyderabad, chandigarh, ahmedabad Bangalore, Goa, Jaipur, Kochi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, and other tourist destinations within the country. Also need direct international flights should land at agra Airport from Dubai, oman, UAE, afghanistan, egypt, bejing, japan etc to reduce the traffic from new delhi airport & most of the central asian, african tourist want to visit this Taj city. Any international tourist to india can avoid any other place but mostly every tourist to india come to see this city atleast once. Many airlines are showing interest to start services from Agra in the near future.