Agra (pronounced 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 when it was called Agrabana, or Paradise. Ptolemy, the famous 2nd century geographer, marked it on his map of the world as Agra. Tradition and legend ascribe the present city of Raja Badal Singh (around 1475) whose Fort, Badalgarh, Stood on or near the site of the present Fort.
However, the 12th century Persian poet Salman writes of a desperate assault on the fortress of Agra, then held by one King Jaipal, by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni.It was ruled by Sultan Sikandar Lodi in the year 1506. 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.
In 1631, Shah Jahan, emperor during the Mughal empire's period of greatest prosperity, was griefstricken when his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, died during the birth of their fourteenth child, Gauhara Begum. The court chronicles of Shah Jahan's grief illustrates the love story traditionally held as an inspiration for Taj Mahal.The construction of Taj Mahal begun soon after Mumtaz's death with the principal mausoleum completed in 1648. The surrounding buildings and garden were finished five years later.
Emperor Shah Jahan himself described the Taj in these wordsShould guilty seek asylum here, Like one pardoned, he becomes free from sin. Should a sinner make his way to this mansion, All his past sins are to be washed away. The sight of this mansion creates sorrowing sighs; And the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes. In this world this edifice has been made; To display thereby the creator's glory.
Idgah Bus Station is the biggest bus station in Agra. The Bus Stand is in Idgah Colony. The bus Stand is very close to both the Idgah Railway Station as well as the Agra Cantt, which is the main railway Station in Agra.
Auto rickshaw and Cycle Rickshaw are the main mode of transport in Agra and are available very readily. The Rickshaw are not metered so its best to negotiate the fares before the ride. City Buses are there but they frequency is very low. Polluting vehicles are not allowed near Taj Mahal, so one needs to take electric Auto's or Tanga (Tonga) from few KM outside Taj Mahal.
Fatehpur Sikri is a city and a municipal board in Agra district in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. It was the political capital of India's Mughal Empire under Akbar's reign, from 1571 until 1585, when it was abandoned, ostensibly due to lack of water. It is located in what is now Uttar Pradesh, India.
Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) operates hi-tech, deluxe, semi-deluxe and ordinary buses from here. From Delhi: NH2, a modern divided highway, connects the 200 km distance from Delhi to Agra. The drive is about 4 hours, a large chunk of which includes navigating the clogged roads around Delhi to get to the highway. The primary access to the highway is along Mathura Road in Delhi but, if coming from South Delhi or Delhi Airport, it is easier to take Aurobindo Marg (Mehrauli Road) and then work up to NH2 via Tughlakabad.
From Jaipur: National Highway , a two lane undivided highway, connects Agra with Jaipur via the bird sanctuary town of Bharatpur. The distance of around 255 Km can be covered in around 4 hours. From Gwalior A distance of around 120 km, takes around 1.5 hours on the National highway 3, also known as the Agra - Mumbai Highway.
From Lucknow / Kanpur NH2, the divided modern highway, continues on to Kanpur (285km, 5 hours) and from there to points east ending in Kolkata. From Kanpur, NH25 heads for the city of Lucknow (90 km, 2 hours). Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Agra, India. The fort is also known as Lal Qila, Fort Rouge and Red Fort of Agra. It is about 2.5 km northwest of its much more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. The fort can be more accurately described as a walled palatial city.
It is the most important fort in India. The great Mughals Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb lived here, and the country was governed from here. It contained the largest state treasury and mint. It was visited by foreign ambassadors, travellers and the highest dignitaries who participated in the making of history in India.