Itimad ud Daulah

Top Attractions In Agra

Taj Mahal 

Taj Mahal

 

Grand tombs were rarely built for women, and the equation of tomb-beauty would’ve stayed overwhelmingly in favour of the men, had it not been for this one structure, this one monument that blew all competition out of the park – the Taj Mahal built to immortalize Shah Jahan’s love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal.

Before the Taj, the Mughals mostly built using red stone with marble being used mainly for decoration purposes or to break the monotony. By choosing to build the Taj Mahal entirely from marble, Shah Jahan intended to blur the distinction between royalty and divinity and elevated Mumtaz to the level of a saint. The white marble is transluscent, and loves to play with light – so depending on the sunlight and weather conditions when you visit, you may see a different Taj!

The river provides a serene backdrop to the Taj Mahal, and the cool breeze emanating from the river has a soothing effect. But the location next to the river gave rise to the greatest technical challenge to the Taj. The sand banks and the issue of river flooding. The Mughals came up with an ingenious way to secure the foundation. They made hollow cylinders of wood (large enough for a person to fit in) and thrust them into the soft sand. These wells were then filled with stones and iron, giving them strength.

The entire tomb is situated on a two-level platform, known as a chabutra. The first level, around 1.5m high is made of sandstone, while the second one, around 6m high, is clad with marble. The two platforms bestow a look of majestic grandeur to the main tomb – almost as if the architect is positioning the tomb and its occupant at a plane higher than earth and closer to heaven.

Taj Mahal – Key Information

Expected time spent:
Allow for a minimum of 1.5 hours if you intend to cover only the highlights
Opening days:
Open daily expect Friday
Opening hours:
Sunrise to sunset (typically 7 AM to 6 pm)
Entry fee/ Ticket price:
Indians (INR 40)/ Foreigners (INR 1000) and free for children under 15 years
Cameras: 
Still camera allowed for free, Video camera Rs 25. Shooting with a tripod is not allowed
Address:
Taj Road, Agra
How to get there:
Most common options are a 3-4 hour road trip from Delhi to Agra (204 km) by bus/ taxi or the Taj Express/ Shatabdi trains from Delhi. From the main parking area of the Taj, it’s a 7-10 min walk to the main Western Gate. You can also reach the Taj via the Eastern Gate or the Southern Gate

Agra Fort

Agra Fort

Agra Fort was built in 1565 – around 7 years before Fatehpur Sikri – at a time when Akbar was still expanding his foothold in the empire. Potential threats were still very high and the royal capital needed protection with massive fortifications, moats and defensive features. The Fort has many structures that are worth seeing –

  • Anguri Bagh – Angur means grapes, and those were grown here at some point of time and Bagh means garden. The garden itself has a design that resembles a carpet. Each of the quadrants have unique bed-dividers forming cartouches, which when planted with flowers look like a carpet.
  • Shish Mahal or Mirror Palace – This chamber had a lot of water devices inside to keep the royal family cool during Agra’s scorching summers. Keeping the heat out and ensuring privacy meant no windows, so the place would’ve been dark all day. How to provide adequate light? Solution: Mirrors!
  • Muthamman Burj – This octagonal tower that projects out of the fort is called either Muthamman Burj or Shahi Burj (Royal Tower). In this building, the Emperor would meet the highest dignitaries and his sons in secret council and also work with his main historian on editing the history of the reign.
  • Khas Mahal – The Khas Mahal was one of the early buildings in the Agra Fort with Shah Jahan’s imprint on it. The clear differentiation was marble – Red sandstone was discarded in favour of this smoother, more reflective and translucent stone.

Other points of interest if you have time are the Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khas and the Masjids or Mosques.

Agra Fort – Key Information

 

Expected time spent:
Allow for 1.5-2 hours
Opening days:
All days of the week
Opening hours:
Sunrise to sunset (typically 7 AM to 6 pm)
Entry fee/ Ticket price:
Indians (INR 40)/ Foreigners (INR 550) and free for children under 15 years
Cameras:
Still camera allowed for free, Video camera Rs 25. Shooting with a tripod is not allowed

Address:
Rakabganj, Taj Road 
How to get there
It’s a 20-25 minute walk from the Taj Mahal complex, quite close to the Agra Cantt railway station.

Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri

A magnificent complex on a hill, Fatehpur Sikri was for a brief period of 14 years in the 16th century, the nerve-centre of the mighty Mughal empire, then the world’s 2nd largest economy.

And then, for reasons that are still not clear, it was unceremoniously abandoned and gradually became a surreal, ghostlike complex.

The main palace complex is essentially 3 courtyards (with multiple buildings), plus a mosque.

– The first is the Public Courtyard, housing the Diwan-e- Aam or ‘Hall of Public Audience’ where ordinary people could get an audience with the Emperor to air their grievances, settle disputes and complaints, and the Emperor would proclaim his judgment.

– The second is a vast private courtyard called the Daulat Khana (or Abode of Wealth), which houses many interesting structures and was primarily restricted to the Emperor and his close, male nobles.

– A third courtyard houses the female quarters with palaces for the various queens, and living accommodations for their staff

– and finally, outside this complex, a short walk away, is the main mosque or Jama Masjid, which houses the tomb of the Sufi Saint Shaikh Salim Chishti

 

Fatehpur Sikri – Key Information

Expected time spent:
Allow for a minimum of 1.5 hours if you intend to cover only the highlights
Opening days:
Open daily
Opening hours:
Sunrise to sunset (typically 7 AM to 6 pm)
Entry fee/ Ticket price:
Indians (INR 40)/ Foreigners (INR 510) and free for children under 15 years
Cameras: 
Still camera allowed for free, Video camera Rs 25. Shooting with a tripod is not allowed
Address:
Fatehpur Sikri
How to get there:
Around 45 km from the Taj Complex, about 1 hour by road. You will need to hire a taxi for the trip, or you can take a local bus from the Idgah bus station in Agra. Buses are frequent but ensure you take a bus that goes to Fatehpur Sikri town, as many buses bound for Bharatpur will drop you 1 km away from the monument.

Itimad ud Daulah

Itimad ud Daulah

This tomb was built in honor of Mirza Ghiyas Beg, by his daughter Nur Jahan, Mughal Emperor Jahangir’s wife. It is her most significant architectural contribution.

It is called Itmad-ud- Daula meaning ‘pillar of the government’ in reference to the title conferred on her father by Jahangir. It is the first tomb in India made entirely of marble (as opposed to red stone) with an elaborately carved tomb. It has octagonal shaped towers and uses arched entrances signifying the Persian influence while the Indian influence is evident from the absence of a dome despite being a tomb.

Itimad ud Daulah – Key Information

Expected time spent:
Allow for 60-75 minutes
Opening days:
Open daily
Opening hours:
6 AM to 6 pm
Entry fee/ Ticket price:
Indians (INR 10)/ Foreigners (INR 250) and free for children under 15 years
Cameras: 
Still camera allowed for free, Video camera Rs 25. Shooting with a tripod is not allowed
Address:
Moti Bagh, Etmadpur, Agra
How to get there:
It is located in the Old Agra area, about 30 minutes from the Taj Complex, close to the Agra Fort

Sikandra, Tomb of Akbar the Great

Akbar’s Tomb via Ekabhishek

Akbar was the third Mughal Emperor and generally regarded as one of India’s greatest monarchs in its five-thousand-year history. A key factor driving the Mughal Empire’s longevity was Emperor Akbar who ruled for 49 long years, conquering a large part of the sub-continent including access to seaport for trade with Europe, and during his time established a centralised bureaucracy and other imperial institutions, especially in land revenue management.

The construction of this tomb, located about 10 km from the city centre, was started by Akbar himself and completed by his son, Jahangir. The gateway has large mosaic patterns set into it while its four minarets are built of red sandstone inlaid with marble patterns. The garden is laid in the Char Bagh style, common for all the famous Mughal tombs including the Taj Mahal and Humayun’s Tomb.

Akbar’s Tomb – Key Information

Expected time spent:
Allow for 45-60 minutes
Opening days:
Open daily
Opening hours:
6 AM to 6 pm
Entry fee/ Ticket price:
Indians (INR 10)/ Foreigners (INR 250) and free for children under 15 years
Cameras: 
Still camera allowed for free, Video camera Rs 25. Shooting with a tripod is not allowed
How to get there:Located on the main Mathura Road, it’s about 18 km/ 45 min drive from the Taj Mahal complex

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *