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The main sites and monuments of Agra

the main sites of Agra.jpg

The main sites and monuments of Agra, as well as the city itself, are located on the banks of the Yamuna River in the state of Uttar Pradesh, 200 kilometres south of the Indian capital.​
Sikandar Lodi, Sultan of Delhi, made it the capital of Hindustan for the first time in 1504 and the city of Agra reached its peak with the Great Mughals from 1556 under the successive reigns of Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. It was the latter, builder of the Taj Mahal, who again transferred the capital of the empire to Shahjahanabad (now Old Delhi) in 1649.

In the 17th century, foreign travellers described Mughal Agra as a marvel of time, as much a major centre of commerce on land and water as a meeting place for saints, sages and scholars from all over Asia, full of magnificent buildings, palaces, mausoleums, all built in the middle of gardens inspired by the paradise of Allah. Some described it as at least twice the size of Isfahan while others called it one of the greatest cities in the world.

During Mughal times, the core of Agra was formed by the gardens of the ruling elite which lined both sides of the Yamuna River. The Taj Mahal is then part of this core and is by no means built on an isolated site. Thus, the centre of Agra has a suburban character. As for the Yamuna River, it is the main artery of the city allowing people to go from one garden to another by boat.

Taj Mahal the jewel of India


I went to see the famous Tagus-mahal, of whom, suffice it to say, having heard his praises since I had been in India, his beauty exceeded rather than fell short of my expectations. Reginald Heber, Bishop of Calcutta, 1825.​

One of the main sites of Agra, it is, above all, the icon of India. The Taj Mahal is a huge white marble funerary mausoleum built between 1631 and 1648 by order of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to perpetuate the memory of his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal. ​

It is the most perfect jewel of Muslim art in India, and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the heritage of humanity. The monument has been listed as a Unesco World Heritage site since 1983.

Le fort rouge d'Agra


Facing the Taj Mahal across the Yamuna River, this significant 17th century Mughal monument is a mighty red sandstone citadel enclosing the imperial city within its walls, with a large number of palaces, audience halls and two very beautiful mosques.

Akbar lays the foundations of this magnificent citadel built between 1565 and 1573 in demilune, seat and stronghold of the Mughal Empire for several generations: he built the walls and entrances, his grandson Shah Jahan erected the main buildings and Aurangzeb, the last great Mughal emperor, surrounded it with ramparts.​ One of Agra’s most important monuments, the Red Fort has been a Unesco World Heritage site since 1983.

monuments agra


The mausoleum was built between 1622 and 1628 on the right bank of the Yamuna River for Mirza Ghiyas Beg, father-in-law of Emperor Jahangir, who was given the title of "I'timad-ud-Daulah" ("Pillar of the State").

The tomb, often described as a jewel box, is sometimes referred to as the "Baby Taj". Along with the main building, the structure consists of numerous outbuildings and gardens. The white Rajasthani marble walls are inlaid with carnelian, jasper, lapis lazuli, onyx and topaz depicting wine bottles, cypress trees, cut fruits or vases filled with bouquets. As in the Taj Mahal, the only asymmetrical element of the complex are the cenotaphs of the spouses placed side by side as are those of Shah Jahan and his wife.

sites and monuments agra


Akbar’s tomb is a masterpiece of Mughal architecture, built from 1605 to 1613 at Sikandra, 8 km from Agra. ​ As tradition dictated, Akbar, the third Mughal emperor, began the construction of his mausoleum during his lifetime. His son Jahangir completed it after his death.

The buildings are primarily of red sandstone enriched with white marble features. The mausoleum is flanked by four white marble minarets similar to those of the Taj Mahal which they predate. ​ Red sandstone panels, inlaid and decorated as well as black slate, adorn the tomb. Their geometric, floral and calligraphic decorations prefigure the more complex and subtle ones that will be incorporated into the tomb of I’tmad-ud-Daulah.

principaux sites et monuments d'agra


Built in the second half of the 16th century, between 1569 and 1585, the great emperor Akbar, tired of Agra, made this city his capital for about fifteen years before leaving to go to Lahore.

The ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri is home to many palaces and temples as well as one of India’s largest mosques. Akbar advocated religious tolerance (he was the first Mughal to marry a Hindu Rajput princess): the buildings of the city merge Muslim and Hindu artistic traditions, thus reflecting the wishes of the emperor.

Located 36 km west of Agra, the site has been listed as a Unesco World Heritage site since 1983.

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