Agra: The city of Taj

Agra possesses the most precious jewel in India's crown - the eternal, the glorious and the splendid Taj Mahal. One of the wonders of the world, it attracts thousands of tourists every year. With its glorious past, the Mughal city of Agra has lots more to offer a discerning traveller besides the mystics and splendours of the Taj Mahal, like Itmad-Ud- Daulah Tomb and Agra fort. To the lover of art and to the traveller seeking the wonders of the world, Agra is the ultimate destination. The architectural splendour of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces in Agra are a vivid reminder of the opulence of the legendary Mughal Empire for nearly a hundred years from 1564.

Nevertheless, many tourists visit Agra to immerse themselves in the beauty of the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is the mausoleum of Empress Mumtaz Mahal, the beloved spouse of Shah Jahan, who died in 1630. The mausoleum is phenomenal not in the beauty alone that shines forth, but in the deep planning and design that went into its making, and the ethereal idea of immortalizing love. The Taj complex comprises a forecourt, a lofty entrance, a charming formal Mughal garden with canals and a central tank with a series of fountains, the tomb proper, and an attached mosque on the west and its symmetrical counterpart on the east. The Taj is remarkable for its perfect proportion and the delicate carvings in marble vie with gorgeous pietra dura for attention. The building, often called "a dream in marble" is said to have taken at least 22 years (1631-1653) to build.

Another fascinating sight is the The Agra Fort. Built by three generations of Mughal Emperors starting with Akbar the Great in 1565 AD, it is a masterpiece of design and construction. It housed both the residential Palaces of the Royal family, and the military quarters.

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