Taj Mahal in Agra
monument of love. A symbol of eternal love. Taj
Mahal, one of the most fabulous monuments in the
world, history and time. Thronged by visitors year round,
Taj Mahal is 200 km from Delhi. It was built by the fifth
Mughal emperor Shahjahan, in memory of his beloved wife
Mumtaz. The monument is a perfect piece of architecture.
It took 22 years, 41 million rupees, 50 kilos of gold
and around 20,000 workers to complete this marvel of marble.
Situated by the river Yamuna, Taj
Mahal sits on a high red sandstone terrace,
topped by marble terrace. It is flanked by four minarets.
The jewel in-laid cenotaph of the empress lies within
the dome. The entire mausoleum is decorated with inlaid
design of flowers and calligraphy with semi precious stones
like jasper and agate.
One can take a train, either the Shatabdi or Taj Express.
Location: Tajganj, Agra
Timings: 6:00 am to 7:30 pm
Entrance fee: Rs 20/-. Rs 750/- (at sunset or sunrise).
The monument is closed on Fridays.
on the west bank of the Yamuna river and two km from Taj
Mahal, the Agra fort
was started by the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1565. The impressive
red sandstone fort extends for about 2.5 km and is surrounded
by a deep moat which was once filled with water of Yamuna.
Though Akbar built it mainly as a military centre, it
was under Shahjahan's rule that the fort became more of
a mini city.
Of the many gates, the only one open to public is the
Amar Singh gate, which leads into the fort. Immediately
on the right is the Jahangiri Mahal. The other impressive
monuments within the fort are the Diwan-i-Khas, where
the emperor met the dignitaries, the Diwan-i-Aam, Nagina
Masjid (built by Shahjahan for his harem) and the Moti
Masjid. Towards the northeast of the fort is the Musamman
Burj, where Shahjahan was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb.
Mathura (146 km southeast of Delhi)
is the birthplace of the world's popular deity, Lord
Krishna. With a history that traces itself to the beginnings
of world trade, Mathura is one of the most ancient cities
of India. It is situated on the banks of the Yamuna,
in Uttar Pradesh, and is one of the most important pilgrimage
centers in India.
Mathura is famous for the Krishnajanmabhumi Mandir,
Vishram Ghat and Sati Burj. It is believed that Lord
Krishna rested at Vishram Ghat after killing the tyrant
Kamsa. Evenings at the Vishram Ghat are generally a
very beautiful sight with hundreds of diyas floating
on the river. The Ghats offer very picturesque sights
with long flight of stairs leading to the river's edge.
You can find many pilgrims bathing in the river and
from a distance you can see the temple spires silhouetted
against the sky.
Sikri was built by the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1571
in honour of the Sufi saint, Sheikh Salim Chisti. It
was the Mughal capital for 14 years after which it was
abandoned, probably due to the lack of water. The capital
is amazingly beautiful with its palaces and it reflects
the architectural style Akbar patronised.
Even to this day, the entrance to the fort is through
the road that Akbar built. The road leads to the Buland
Darwaza, a huge 54 metres gateway. It later inspired
other lofty gates. Today young daredevils jump from
its ruins into the deep tank to earn money from the
tourists. Other inspiring monuments in Fatehpur Sikri
are the Hiran Minar, that Akbar built in memory of his
favourite elephant, Tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti, Birbal's
House and the Diwan-i-Khas.
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