TAJ MAHAL – The Taj Mahal, the epitome of love, stands on the banks of the river Yamuna. Built in the 17th century by the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan, the Taj attracts millions of tourists from all over the world. To experience the beauty of this architectural marvel, it needs to be viewed at different times of the day and year. The white marble building changes its hue with the variations in the daylight. In moonlight, particularly on the full moon night, the marble appears extraordinarily luminescent. Made entirely of white marble and decorated with exquisite pietra dura (stone inlay) work, different types of precious and semi-precious stones were used in the intricate inlay work done on the interiors. This magnificent monument is built around a Charbagh or ’four garden’ plan, split by watercourses— reflects the influence of Persian architectural style. On a tripto Taj, it is always better to sit around in the garden and admire the scenic beauty rather than rushing through to see the monument. Immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere to make your visit even memorable.
AGRA FORT – The city built by Emperor Akbar and beautified with palaces and gardens by Jehangir is dominated by Agra Fort. The crescent-shaped fort is enclosed by its 20-metre high, 2.4 km long outer walls. The fort contains a maze of buildings forming a small city within a city. One enters the fort through the Amar Singh Gate, into the southern part of the fort which includes nearly all the buildings of tourist interest. Jehangir’s palace commissioned by Akbar was the largest private residence in the fort.The Diwan-i-Aam (hall of public audience) and Diwan-i-Khas (hall of private audience) were built by Shahjahan for receiving audiences. Musamman Burj, an octagonal tower, stands close to Diwan-i-Khas. It was here that Shahjahan was imprisoned for his last after seven years by Aurangzeb. Other tourist attractions within the fort include the Sheesh Mahal (the mirror palace), Khas Mahal, and the Anguri Bagh (the Grape Garden).
ITMAD-UD-DAULAH – To the north of Agra fort, on the opposite bank of the Yamuna, is the tomb of Mirza Ghiyas Beg, Jehingir’s wazir, also known as Itmad-ud-daulah. The tomb is also referred to as the ’baby Taj’, as it was the very first Mughal structure to be totally built from marble and make extensive use of pietra dura.
SIKANDRA – The sandstone and marble tomb of Akbar lies in the centre of a serene garden at Sikandara, 4 km north-west of Agra. The mausoleum blends Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Christian motifs and styles to represents Akbar’s philosophy and secular outlook.
RAMBAGH – Ram Bagh, one of the earliest Mughal Gardens, laid out by the fisrt mughal emperor Babar lies 3 kilometers upstream from Itmad-ud-daulah. It is held that Babar was initially buried here before being permanently interred at his homeland in Kabul, Afghanistan.
DAYAL BAGH – Dayal Bagh, the headquarters of Radhaswami sect, has a beautiful white marble temple coming up. On a trip to the temple, having been under construction for almost 100 years now, one can witness the pietra dura marble inlay work in process.