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Taj Mahal
Agra is famous as being home to one of the seven wonders of the world- the Taj-Mahal. The architectural splendor of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid remainder of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid reminder of the capital in the 16th and early 17th centuries.

Taj Mahal Story
The story of Taj Mahal reflects the intensity of love. The fairy tale began when walking through the bazaar of Agra prince Qhurram saw a girl. The girl was exceptionally beautiful. It was a love at first sight for both of them. After five years, on an auspicious day they were married and from that moment began the great epic of love.

Shah Jahan, "The King Of The World"
Prince Qhurram was the fifth son of emperor Jahangir. He was the man of extraordinary brilliance, a great diplomat, a warrior and a lover of art. Once Jahangir wrote, "In art, in reason, in battle there is no comparison between him and my other children". In the honor of his numerous victories Jahangir entitled him as "Shah Jahan", "The King of the World". After Jahangir's death all his sons quarreled for the thrown, after fighting for years Shah Jahan killed all his brothers under suspicious circumstances and became the emperor, besides him stood his queen, comrade and confidante.

Mumtaz Mahal "The chosen one of the palace"
Shah Jahan titled her "Mumtaz Mahal", "The chosen one of the palace". A rare found combination of beauty and brain. She was her husband's best friend and confidante. She would counsel him in the diplomatic matters. She too was a great lover of art.

The End of the Fairy Tale
In 1631 Shah Jahan set up to berahanpur with his troops to subdue a rebellion, accompanied by Mumtaz Mahal Unfortunately during childbirth she suffered some complications and died. According to legend before dieing she extracted a promise from Shah Jahan that he would build a mausoleum as a tribute to their love.

The story of Taj Mahal begins Shah Jahan was obsessed to fulfill his wife's last wish. He invited the architects and artisans all over the world and planned for the building with absolute perfection. Taj Mahal was structured in Persian style combined with carvings of artisans called from Afghanistan and the garden designers from Kashmir. It took 22years to complete the Taj Mahal, a memento of love with the perfection of art. The carvings of Taj Mahal were decorated with very precious gemstones.

The story of Taj Mahal is unique in itself. It is an evidence that how the emotions and feelings are important to human life. The story of Taj Mahal is an example of devotion and faith. The story of Taj Mahal is a love story not found in papers but stands in the structural form. The story of Taj Mahal is rare.

Agra Fort
Built by the great Emperor Akbar in 1565 A.D. the fort Is a masterpiece of design and construction. Within the fort are a number of exquisite buildings, including the Moti Masjid, Diwane-E-Am, Diwani-E-Khaas and Musanman Burj, where the Emperor Shah Jahan died in imprisonment beside Jahangirs place, Khaas Mahal and the Sheesh Mahal.

The fort had originally four gates, two of which were later walled up. Delhi Gate in the west is fortified by massive octagonal towers and faces the bazaar and leads to the Lama Masjid in the city. Its architectural plan was imperviously devised to put the defenders in an advantageous position.
Delhi gate is now closed for visitors. The Amar Singh Gate lies to the South and is defended by a square bastion flanked by round towers. It had a crooked entrance with dangerous trap points and a steep rise. Its Naubat Khana Court with pillared pavilions is an impressive structure. Visitors are allowed entry through this gate only.

About The Fort
The construction of the Agra fort was started around 1565 when the initial structures were built by Akbar. Shah Jahan replaced most of these with his marble creations. Some however survived, among them are- Delhi Gate, Amar Singh Gate, Akbari Mahal and the Jahangiri Mahal.
The fort is crescent-shaped, flattened on the east with a long, nearly straight wall facing the river. It has a total perimeter of 2.4 km, and is ringed by double castellated ramparts of red sandstone punctuated at regular intervals by bastions. A 9mt. wide and 10mt.deep moat surrounds the outer wall. An imposing 22mt. high inner wall imparts a feeling of invincible defensive construction. The route through the Amar Singh gate is dog-legged. The layout of the fort was determined by the course of the river, which in those days flowed alongside. The main axis is parallel to the river and the walls bridge out towards the city.

Buildings inside the Fort

Jahangir Mahal
This is the first notable building that the visitor sees on his right hand side at the end of a spacious lawn, as one enters through the Amar Singh Gate and emerges out of the passage. It was built by Akbar as women's quarters and is the only building that survives among his original palace buildings. It is built of stone & is simply decorated on the exterior.

The most important feature of the edifice are its ornamental stone brackets which support the beams. In front is a large stone bowl which was probably used to contain fragrant rose water. Ornamental Persian verses have been carved along the outer rim, which record its construction by Jahangir in 1611 A.D. This elegant, double storied palace reflects a strong Hindu influence with protruding balconies and domed chhatries.

Jodha Bai's Palace
To the right of Jahangiri Mahal is Akbar's favorite queen Jodha Bai`s Palace. In contrast to other palaces in the fort, it is rather simple. Through the slits in the wall one can see the Taj. A better place to take photographs is further on.

Anguri Bagh
These formal, 85m square, geometric gardens lie to the left of the fort. During Shah Jahan's time the beauty of the gardens was considerably enhanced by decorative
flower beds.

Golden Pavilions
The curved chala roofs of the small pavilions by the Khaas Mahal are based on the roof shape of Bengali village huts constructed out of curved bamboo, designed to keep off heavy rain. The shape was first expressed in stone by the Sultans of Bengal. Originally gilded, these were probably ladies' bedrooms, with hiding places for jewellery in the walls. These pavilions are traditionally associated with Shah Jahan's daughters-Roshanara and Jahanara Begum.

Khaas Mahal
Situated in between the golden pavilions is the Khaas Mahal. Built entirely of marble by Shah Jahan, the palace demonstrates distinctive Islamic-Persian features. These are well blended with a striking range of Hindu features such as chhatries. It is considered to be emperor's sleeping room or' Aramgah', The Khaas Mahal provides the most successful example of painting on a white marble surface.

On the left of the Khaas Mahal is the Musamman Burj built by Shah Jahan. It is a beautiful octagonal tower with an open pavilion. With its openness, elevation and the benefit of cool evening breezes blowing in off the Yamuna river, this could well have been used also as the emperor's bedroom. This is where Shah Jahan lay on his death bed, gazing at the Taj. Access to this tower is through a magnificently decorated and intimate apartment with a scalloped fountain in the centre. The inlay work here is exquisite, especially above the pillars. In front of the fountain is a sunken courtyard which could be flooded and in the Sheesh Mahal opposite are further examples of decorative water engineering in the hammams.

Sheesh Mahal
Opposite to the Mussaman Burj and just below the Diwan-e-Khaas hall is the Sheesh Mahal or the Glass Palace. It is believed to have been the harem dressing room and its walls are inlaid with tiny mirrors which are the best specimens of glass-mosaic decoration in India. The Sheesh Mahal is composed of two large halls of equal size, each measuring 11.15m x 6.40 m. Both are connected in the centre by a broad arched opening and on the sides by two narrow passages.

To the right of Sheesh Mahal is Diwan-e-Khaas, the Hall of Private Audience. Presently entry is not allowed inside Diwan-e-Khaas but the fine proportions of the building can easily be appreciated. The marble pillars are inlaid with semi-precious stones in delightful floral patterns.

To the right of Diwan-e-khaas is the Hammam-e-Shahi or the Shah Burj. Foreign travelers who visited Agra during the reigns of Jahangir and Shah Jahan have described these apartments as the Ghusal Khana (bathroom). It was not the Turkish bathroom as is generally but erroneously supposed. It was really an "air-conditioned" apartment, attached to the residential quarters and was used as a summer retreat. Business of very confidential nature was conducted here.

Opposite to the Diwan-i-Khaas is the Macchhi Bhawan, the Fish Enclosure. The emperor sat on the white marble platform facing this enclosure. It once contained pools and marble fountains which were carried off by Jat Raja Surajmal to his palace at Deeg. Around the Macchi Bhawan were the imperial offices.

Itmad - Ud - Daula
To the north of the fort and across the river yamuna are several fine examples of mughal architecture. The itmad -ud -daula was build by the empress Noor Jehan as a memorial to her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg, is beautifully ornamented with pietra dura inlay and lattice work marble screens.

Chini Ka Rauza
The tomb of Afzal khan, the Persian poet and minister at Shah Jehan's court gets its name from the brightly colored glazed tiles that decorate it, lies just 1km beyond itmad-ud-daula.

Sikandra Fort
12km the tomb of Akbar, begun by the emperor himself and completed by his son, Jehangir. This richly decorated structure is a quaint mixture of styles.
Radhaswamy Satsang, Dayalbagh

This highly ornate memorial to the founder of the Radhaswamy satsang has been in the making for several years and is still being worked upon. It is entirely in marble, upon which every manner of ornamentation has been applied.

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