City of Taj
The city of Agra is synonymous with the Taj Mahal. What most people do not know is that this city of Uttar Pradesh, located on the banks of river Yamuna, was famous even before the Taj was built.
Agra has been referred as “AryaGriha” or the abode of the Aryans. It also finds its mention in the Mahabharata as Agravana. It is said that Sultan Sikandar Lodi the Ruler of Delhi Sultanate founded Agra in the year 1504. After the Sultan’s death the city passed on to his son Sultan Ibrahīm Lodī. He ruled his Sultanate from Agra until he fell fighting Babar, in the First battle of Panipat fought in 1526.
It was during the Mughal Empire that Agra (then was known as Akbarabad, after the famous king Akbar), began to develop. It was the capital city of the empire from where Jahangir, his son Akbar and grandson Shah Jahan ruled. The city holds the architectural stamp of those times even today.
Agra – the heritage, travel and honeymoon destination
It is to experience the rich cultural and architectural heritage and vast pool of knowledge about the history of India, that tourists make a beeline to this ancient city.
This is also an ideal locale for a honeymoon stopover on the way to Dharmashala or any place in the north. Travellers love the idea of visiting the Taj, which has since time immemorial been the epitome of love.
The city is also famous for its handicrafts, marble inlay work or the craft of Pietra Dura, used extensively in many of the architectures of the Mugal era.
Like most cities in India, the city of Agra has been in the past ruled by different rulers, who have influenced the culture and the religion in the city. Nonetheless, Agra has been mostly influenced by the Mughals and hence, people speak Hindi and Urdu. This city is an apt example of an Indian city where Hindus and Muslims live together in harmony.
One, must-have sweet dish for all travellers is the “Agra ka Petha”, a very famous sweet made up of Pumpkin. You will find Panchi Petha outlets all around the city.
Agra is a perfect example of modernity amalgamated with the traditions and cultures of yesteryears. Today Agra is as much a modern destination as it is a heritage city. Good educational institutions, opportunities for trade, jobs and industries can be seen in the city. The Agra University is one of the Oldest Universities in India. With industrialization, and proximity to Yamuna River, many small scale industries have cropped up in Agra. The government is taking necessary steps to preserve the National Monuments by having strict control on pollution levels.
The tourism industry provides livelihood to most of the natives of Agra. Others have opened shops with beautiful Marble work and handicrafts. Taking advantage of this the government has even provided occupation to prison inmates, who earn an honest living by making the famous bamboo and banana fibre sarees and dress materials sold in all handloom houses of the city.
Climate and best time to visit
Summers are extremely hot and arid in the region, with mild rains during monsoons. Hence winter time, between November to March, is ideal to visit Agra.