Monuments of Agra

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Taj Mahal stands majestically on the banks of River Yamuna. The name “Taj Mahal” is derived from the name of Shah Jahan’s wife Mumtaz Mahal and means “Crown Palace”. The purity of the white marble, precious gemstones, the exquisite ornamentation used and its picturesque location, makes a visit to the Taj Mahal gain a place amongst the most sought-after tours in the world. The Taj is one of the most well preserved masterpieces of Indian Muslim architecture. Taj Mahal means the epitome of love and is a monument of immeasurable beauty. The beauty of the Taj Mahal is such that it is beyond the scope of words. The thoughts that come into the mind while watching the Taj Mahal of Agra is not just its phenomenal beauty, but the immense love of Shah Jahan to Mumtaz Mahal, which was the reason behind its construction. The Taj, truly majestic from the exterior, has equally splendid artistic work done in the interiors. There are charbagh water channels and fountains in the entrance which makes the monument even more spectacular. The reflection of this majestic spectacle on the Yamuna is almost poetic in its perfection! 

Agra Fort was built in the year 1573 under the reign of Akbar, the Great. It took more than eight years and 4000 workers to complete the fort. Bricks forms the base of Agra Fort’s structure. Red sandstone was brought from Rajasthan and was laid on the external surfaces of the Agra Fort. Further additions were made, particularly by his grandson Shah Jahan, using white marble. Agra fort was built primarily as a military structure, but Shah Jahan transformed it into a palace.The 94-acre huge fort has a semicircular plan, its chord lies parallel to the river Yamuna and its walls are seventy feet high. Agra Fort has double ramparts, which have massive circular bastions at intervals, with battlements, embrasures and string courses. Four gates are on its four sides, one Khizri gate opening on to the river. Agra Fort, also known as the walled city is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The fort is separated from its sister monument Taj Mahal by just 2.5 kilometers. Today, the fort is a major tourist spot and attracts many tourists from all over the world.

Tomb of Itmad Ud Daulah is also known as the Baby Taj as it is regarded as the draft of the Taj Mahal. The tomb of Itimad-Ud-Daulah is a delicate artwork with marble lattice screens and fine carvings. This is the first Mughal structure made with marbles by Nur Jahan, mother of Shah Jahan (builder of the Taj Mahal). This was the first of many tombs to be erected on the banks of the River Yamuna. The tomb represents the transition in Mughal Architecture from red sandstone to white marble. The main element of Itmad-Ud-Daulah tomb structure is the dome, which is similar to Persian architecture. This tomb was the first to have pietra dura style decoration with semi-precious stones. Every surface of the structure is decorated with motifs of flora, geometric structure, trees and others. Inlaid stone works are used to enhance the beauty of the interior of the tomb. Located on the eastern bank of the River Yamuna, the mausoleum is set in a large cruciform garden crisscrossed by water courses and walkways.

Mehtab Bagh is a charbagh(quadrangle) garden complex in Agra. It lies north of the Taj Mahal complex on the opposite side of the Yamuna River. The garden complex is square in shape, measures about 300 by 300 metres and is perfectly aligned with the Taj Mahal on the opposite bank. It is one of the 11 Baghs constructed by Babur and the only remaining one. It is to be noted that Emperor Shah Jahan had identified a site from the crescent-shaped, grass-covered floodplain across the Yamuna River as an ideal location for viewing the Taj Mahal. The garden was then created as “a moonlit pleasure garden called Mehtab Bagh.” White plaster walkways, airy pavilions, pools and fountains were also created as part of the garden, with fruit trees and narcissus. The garden was designed as an integral part of the Taj Mahal complex in riverfront terrace pattern. Measuring about 289 metres a compound wall surrounds the garden; it is made of brick, lime plaster, and red sandstone cladding and is partially intact. Built on platforms, there used to be domed towers of red sandstone in an octagonal shape around Mehtab Bagh.

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