Agra Knowledge Guide
Why visit Agra?
Agra has a rich cultural and historical background which is evident from the great number of tombs and mahals decorating the city beautifully. The tombs and palaces have an Islamic and Mughal architectural touch awe-inspiring the tourists to the core of their heart. The intricate details, the vivid culture, and friendly locals make it a great place for foreigners to taste something different and marvelous. Tourists from abroad must visit Agra once in their lifetime to quench their thirst of history and culture.
Agra is well connected by roads, railways as well as airways with trains and flights available from all the major cities of India.
Local food and market
Being a Mughal influenced place, the cuisine of Agra has a touch from the Mughal era. Trying the lip-smacking Mughal foods in Agra is an invisible but memorable souvenir from Agra. Sweets like jalebis and petha are famous for their flavors and tastes. Shawarma (chopped chicken roll with mayonnaise, and sauces), Bhalla or aloo Tikki ( fried and mashed potatoes with Indian spices, chickpea and served with chutney or dips) are must-try street foods of Agra.
Agra is a popular tourist destination of India, with tourists from all the corners of the world. It’s beautiful architectural marvels, the taste of food and the warmth of the friendly locals are sure enough to steal your heart.
Masud Sa'd Salman claims to have been there when Mahmud assaulted Agra, claiming the Raja Japal surrendered after seeing a nightmare. Mahmud however proceeds to pillage the city. The history of the city before the Muslim conquerors is unclear. The 17th century chronicler named Abdhullah said it was a village before the reign of Sikandar Lodi. The king of Mathura had used the Agra fort as a jail. The degradation in the status of the site was a result of the destruction brought upon it by Mahmud of Ghazni. Sultan Sikandar Lodī, the Muslim ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, shifted his capital to Agra in the year 1504. Before this, it was under the lordship of Bayana. After the Sultan's death, the city passed on to his son, Sultan Ibrāhīm Lodī. He ruled his Sultanate from Agra until he fell fighting to Mughal Badshah Bābar in the First battle of Panipat fought in 1526.
The golden age of the city began with the Mughals. It was known then as Akbarabād and remained the capital of the Mughal Empire under the Badshahs Akbar, Jahāngīr and Shāh Jahān. Akbar made it the eponymous seat of one of his original twelve subahs (imperial top-level provinces), bordering (Old) Delhi, Awadh (Oudh), Allahabad, Malwa and Ajmer subahs. Shāh Jahān later shifted his capital to Shāhjahānabād in the year 1648.Since Akbarabād 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 the river Yamuna. The garden is called the Arām Bāgh 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 Akbarabād called Fatehpur Sikri. This city was built in the form of a Mughal military camp in stone. His son Jahāngīr had a love of flora and fauna and laid many gardens inside the Red Fort or Lāl Qil'a. Shāh Jahān, known for his keen interest in architecture, gave Akbarabād its most prized monument, the Taj Mahal. Built in loving memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, the mausoleum was completed in 1653. Shāh Jahān later shifted the capital to Delhi during his reign, but his son Aurangzeb moved the capital back to Akbarabād, usurping his father and imprisoning him in the Fort there.
The Jat kingdom of Bharatpur waged many wars against the Mughal Delhi and in the 17th and 18th century carried out numerous campaigns in Mughal territories including Agra.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 the birthplace of the religion known as Dīn-i Ilāhī, which flourished during the reign of Akbar and also of the Radhaswami Faith, which has around two million followers worldwide. Agra has historic linkages with Shauripur of Jainism and Runukta of Hinduism, of 1000 BC. The Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites.