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Monday, August 23, 2010

Agra



In the times of Mughals, Agra was one of largest Subas out of the 12 provinces of their empire and encompassed Gwalior, Kalpi, Kannauj, Koil (Modern Aligarh), Narnaul and Alwar. Abul Fazl, the court historian of Akbar, describes Agra as a large city with a healthy climate, situated in the bank of River Yamuna. He has also mentioned the villas, gardens and red sandstone fort built by Akbar. Badaoni and Nizamuddin, the other two contemporary historians also describe the grandeur and splendor of the Mughal Agra. A church, an orphanage, a Christian cemetery and a college were built by a Jesuit father at Agra. In 1585, Ralph Fitch noted that Agra had much more population and larger dimensions than London, while Jehangir boasted in his memoirs that the number of the buildings here were equal to several cities of Iraq, Khurasan and Mawar-un-Nahr put together. Agra attracted English and Dutch, who established their factories here. The capital of Moghul India for nearly a century, it sports beautiful palaces and splendid royal mausoleums and tombs. Today, the city is more famous for Taj, the white-marble tribute of Shah Jahan to his beloved queen Mumtaz mahal. The other places worth visiting here speaking volumes about the splendor of thise days are Itmad-ud-Daulah's tomb enshrining graves of Nur Jehan's parents and Moti Masjid. However, if we take the monuments away, the city has lost it all.

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