Taj Mahal :- Undoubtedly one of Agra’s most popular attractions, the Taj Mahal is not just famous in India but is a monument renowned across the world. Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his deceased wife Mumtaz, it is emblematic of the emperor’s deep love for his wife and the grief he experienced at her passing. A landmark monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Taj Mahal is one of the most admired Mughal masterpieces in the world and is nothing short of poetry crafted in marble. The architect of the Taj Mahal was Ustad Ahmed Lahauri and the design is representative of Indian, Persian and Islamic styles of architecture. It took 21 years for the Taj Mahal to be constructed (from 1632 to 1652) with over 20,000 labourers working night and day.
Agra Fort :- Spread over a sprawling 94 acres, this massive red sandstone fort lies parallel to the Yamuna River and is situated 2 kilometres northwest of the Taj Mahal. The Agra Fort was originally occupied by Sikarwar Rajputs and was later captured by Lodi rulers of Delhi. In 1526, after the Lodis were defeated in the Battle of Panipat, the victor Emperor Babur took over the fort. After losing the fort briefly to the Suri rulers, it was eventually reclaimed by Akbar who made Agra his capital. Akbar carried out extensive renovation of the dilapidated fort using red sandstone, which took over 4,000 workers and eight years to complete. Agra Fort is known for its majestic gates with the most impressive being the Delhi Gate and Lahore Gate. Another majestic gate is the Elephant Gate, which is situated between two red sandstone towers. Despite the magnificence of these gates, currently only the Amar Singh Gate is open to visitors.
Jama Masjid :- Situated opposite the Agra Fort is the grand Jama Masjid, Agra’s most important and largest mosque. Commissioned by Shah Jahan in 1648, the mosque topped with red sandstone domes, is known for its beautiful architecture. Five large arches lead to the main prayer hall inside the Jama Masjid, which are skimmed by a beautiful bolster of sandstone adorned with floral motifs.
Mehtab Bagh :- A garden built on the banks of Yamuna River, Mehtab Bagh was constructed by Emperor Babur and was the last of a series of 11 such gardens built along the east bank of the river. Mehtab Bagh was built as an integral part of the Taj complex as the gardens of the Taj are perfectly aligned with Mehtab Bagh, making it the best place to view the Taj from.
Birbal Bhawan :- Either built by Emperor Akbar or Birbal (there is lack of historical evidence regarding who built this structure), Birbal Bhawan is located in Fatehpur Sikri near the Jodha Bai Palace. The Birbal Bhawan is known for its intricate design and double domed architecture, which was designed to keep the building cool during summers. French author Victor Hughes was very impressed with Birbal Bhawan and said it looked like a miniature jewellery box.
Humayun’s Mosque :- Constructed in 1530 after Humayun ascended to power, Humayun’s mosque is one of the earliest monuments of the Mughal period. The mosque contains Persian inscriptions on it, which reveal that the construction was funded by Sheikh Zain Khawafi, a poet and a nobleman who was a close aid of Babur. This mosque was essentially built to cater to the religious needs of the Mughals and was named Kabul by the local residents. The mosque is built entirely out of brick masonry with white plaster over it. T In the vicinity of the mosque on the river bank is also Humayun’s astronomical observatory and a step well or baoli and a massive monolith.
Taj Museum :- The Taj Museum is one of the most popular museums in Agra and is visited by hundreds of tourists who wish to learn more about the history of the Taj Mahal. The museum, located inside Jal Mahal in the complex of the Taj Mahal, offers you an opportunity to look at the original drawings of the Taj, which help people understand the accuracy and precision that went into planning the structure. The drawings of the interiors of the Taj Mahal display the position of the graves with such accuracy that the foot of the graves faces spectators irrespective of the angle it is viewed from. Apart from drawings, the Taj Museum has many other interesting artifacts such as royal jewellery, ancient paintings of Mughal emperors and much more.
Jahangir Mahal :- One of the most exceptional buildings in the Agra Fort, Jahangir Mahal was essentially a zenana used by the Rajput wives of Akbar. The palace has a gateway that connects to an inner courtyard which sits amidst lavish halls that are decorated with engravings on stone, columns and crosspieces. The courtyard halls are adorned in a Gujarat-Malwa-Rajasthan architecture styles.