Agra is globally renown as the city of the Taj Mahal. But this royal Mughal city has, in addition to the legendary Taj, many monuments that emphasis the high point of Mughal architecture. Once the capital of India under the Mughals, Agra is full of magnificent monuments dating back to the 16th and 17th century. It was here that the founder of the dynasty, Babar, laid out the first formal Persian garden on the banks of the river Yamuna. Here, Akbar, his grandson raised the towering ramparts of the great Red Fort. Within its walls, Jehangir built rose-red palaces, courts and gardens, and Shahajahan embellished it with marble mosques, palaces and pavilions of gem-inlaid white marble.
The crowning glory of the city is obviously the Taj, a monument of love and imagination, that represents India to the world.
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Taj Mahal a poignant poetry in marble, stands serene and awesome on a raised marble platform, by the banks of the Yamuna. The most extravagant monument ever built for lover is a tribute to the timelessness of art and love. It is a mesmerizing experience to watch the play of light on the pristine white marble of the Taj. Its pure white marble shimmers silver in the soft moonlight, exudes a shell - pink glow at dawn, and at the close of the day, takes on the tawny, fiery hue of the majestic sun. Built by Shahjahan in the memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, the lady of the Taj, who died giving birth to their 14th child, it's construction started in 1631 and ended by 1653. About 20,000 people were recruited to give shape to this poetry in marble. The main architect, Isa Khan, came all the way from Shiraz in Iran. Shahjahan's intention to build a second taj of Black marble as his own tomb a negative image of the white Taj, was shattered when he was imprisoned in the Agra Fort by his son Aurangazeb. Shahjahan's is said to have spent his last days on earth looking wistfully at his wife's final resting place across the river. The Taj serve as a symbol of eternal love where the heart-broken Shahjahan was finally burried and reunited with his beloved Mumtaz.
Built by three of the greatest Mughal Emperors is the Agra Fort. The construction of this massive structure began in 1565, under Akbar, and continued till the time of his grandson, Shahjahan, when it changed from a principally millitary structure to a more luxurious palace. Armed with massive double walls, punctuated by four gateways, the fort houses palaces, courts, mosques, baths, gardens and gracious pavilions within its premises. Among the fascinating structures that are to be found within the fort is the red sandstone Jehangiri Mahal built by Akbar for his Hindu queen, Jodhabai. The palace is also notable for its smooth blending of Hindu and central Asian architectural styles. The Diwan - i - Am, the Diwan - i - Khas, the Khas Mahal, the Palace of Mirrors, the Pearl mosque, the Nagina Masjid, the Garden of Grapes, and the Fish Pavilion are the other monuments in the fort complex.
The Itmad-ud-daulah tomb stands in the centre of a grand Persian garden, an architectural gem of its times. It is the tomb of Mirza Ghiyas Beg, Emperor Jehangir's wazir, or Chief Minister, and also his father - in- law. The structure was built by Empress Noorjehan, between 1622 and 1628 and is very similar to the tomb she constructed for her husband, near Lahore in Pakistan. This splendid garden tomb is believed to be the precursor of the magnificent Taj Mahal, and was the first Mughal structure to be built entirely of marble, and the first, again, to make use of pietra dura, the inlay marble work that came to be typical of the Taj. Near the Agra Fort, is Jami Masjid, built by Shahjahan in 1648. An inscription over its main entrance indicates that it was built in the name of Jahanara, the emperor's daughter, who was imprisoned with the emperor by Aurangzeb.