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Agra History


For anyone with a deep interest in history, a summary of Agra's history would indeed provide a wealth of information. Situated on the banks of river Yamuna between Mathura and Surajpur, Agra was originally a part of the Surasena Empire with Mathura as its capital. But it came into limelight when Sikander Lodhi, the Sultan of Delhi made it his capital in the 16th century. After the advent of the Mughals, there was a shift in the power play and Agra became the most important seat of Mughal power in India between the 16th and 17th centuries.

Since Agra was one of the most important cities under the Mughals, it witnessed some big scale renovation and development from time to time. Babar, the founder of the Mughal dynasty laid out the first formal Persian garden on the banks of river Yamuna. His grandson Akbar raised the towering ramparts of the Great Red Fort besides making Agra a center for learning arts and commerce. His son Jehangir built rose-red palaces, courts and gardens inside the red fort, and emperor Shah Jahan, known for his great love for architecture gave Agra its most prized monument, the magnificent Taj Mahal. Built in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, the mausoleum took 20 years to finish with the combined efforts of 20,000 laborers, architects and engineers.

Shah Jahan had shifted the capital to Delhi during his reign, but Aurangzeb shifted it back to Agra and imprisoned his father in the Agra Fort. Agra remained capital of India during the rule of Aurangzeb till his death. After the decline of the Mughal Empire, the city came under the Marathas and Jats before falling into the hands of the British in 1803.

Agra came under different rulers and dynasties from time to time, but it was the Mughal rulers who left an indelible mark on this historic city. Anywhere you go, the city's Mughal heritage can easily be discerned, something that Agra has managed to retain in spite of the ravages of time and change.


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