places of interest in agra
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.Construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1632, one year after her death The court chronicles of Shah Jahan’s grief illustrate the love story traditionally held as an inspiration for Taj Mahal.The principal mausoleum was completed in 1648 and the surrounding buildings and garden were finished five years later. Emperor Shah Jahan himself described the Taj in these words.
This was originally a brick fort and the Sikarwar held it. It was mentioned for the first time in 1080 AD when a Ghaznavide force captured it. Sikandar Lodi (1487-1517) was the first Sultan of Delhi who shifted to Agra and lived in the fort. He governed the country from here and Agra assumed the importance of the 2nd capital. He died in the fort in 1517 and his son, Ibrahim Lodi, held it for nine years until he was defeated and killed at Panipat in 1526. Several palaces, wells and a mosque were built by him in the fort during his period.After Panipat, Mughals captured the fort and a vast treasure – which included a diamond that was later named as the Koh-i-Noor diamond – was seized. Babur stayed in the fort in the palace of Ibrahim. He built a baoli (step well) in it. Humayun was crowned here in 1530. Humayun was defeated in Bilgram in 1540. Sher Shah held the fort for five years. The Mughals defeated the Afghans finally at Panipat in 1556.
The grounds are a precise 690 m square, aligned with the points of the compass, surrounded by walls, and laid out as a classic charbagh garden style. A gatehouse stands at the center of each wall, and broad paved avenues, laid out in Mughal style with central running water channels representing the four rivers of Paradise, lead from these to the tomb at the center of the square. The south gate is the largest, with four white marble chhatri-topped minarets which are similar to (and pre-date) those of the Taj Mahal, and is the normal point of entry to the tomb. The tomb itself is surrounded by a walled enclosure 105 m square. The tomb building is a four-tiered pyramid, surmounted by a marble pavilion containing the false tomb. The true tomb, as in other mausoleums, is in the basement.
Akbar had inherited the Mughal Empire from his father Humayun and grandfather Babur. During the 1560s he rebuilt the Agra Fort and established it as his capital. He had a son and then twins, but the twins died. He then consulted Salim Chishti the sufi saint who lived as a recluse in the small town Sikri near Agra. Salim predicted that Akbar would have another son, and indeed one was born in 1569 in Sikri. He was named Salim to honor the saint and would later rule the empire as Emperor Jahangir. The following year, Akbar, then 28 years old, determined to build a palace and royal city in Sikri, to honor Salim Chishti. The name, Fateh is Arabic in origin and means “victory”, also in Urdu and Persian language. It is at Fatehpur Sikri that the legends of Akbar and his famed courtiers, the nine jewels or Navaratnas, were born . The legendary musician Tansen is said to have performed on an island in the middle of the pool Anup Talao.
Ghiyās Beg immigrated to India from Persia after the death of his father and his family’s fall from grace. He was received by the Emperor Akbar, and quickly climbed his way through the intricate Mughal court, serving as a court official under Akbar and his son, Jahāngīr. He was an important official the rule of the Mughal Emperor Jahāngīr, and served as the Diwan of the Empire, the chief treasurer, and he was given the title ‘Itimād-ud-Daulah’ , which means ‘Pillar of the State’. His daughter, Mehrunnisā’ (Nūr Jahān) married Jahāngīr in 1611, and his son Abdul Hasan Āsaf Khān served as a general to Jahāngīr.