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Taj Mahal Tour Package

Agra is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India.  It is a major tourist destination because of its many splendid Mughal-era buildings, most notably the Taj Mahal, Agra fort and Fatehpur Sikri, all of which are the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  Agra is included on the Golden Triangle tourist circuit, along with Delhi and Jaipur.

Tourist Attractions:

The Taj Mahal is called the  "crown of palaces", pronounced  also as "the Tajis”,  a white domed marble mausoleum, the most familiar component of the great monument   built by the Mughal Emperor Shahabuddin Muhammad Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife,  Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is widely recognized as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage".

The Taj Mahal is regarded by the world as the finest example of , a style that combines elements from Islamic Persian culture and Indian architectural styles. It is actually an integrated complex of the entire structure and blows your breath away, floating like a fantasy, as you admire the fountains, the water canals, perfect symmetry of the charbagh gardens……. Thus, christened as the seventh wonder of the world! This proud edifice was made with tons of white marble was lugged from the quarries of Makrana in Rajasthan, red sandstone from Fatehpur Sikri, precious stone inlay work with lapis lazuli from Ceylon, turquoise from Tibet, jasper from Cambay, malachite from Russia, carnelian from Baghdad, chrysolite from Egypt, as well as agate, chalcedony, sardonyx, quartz, jade, amethyst and black marble, created by master craftsmen and jewellers.  Thence you could go on being in awesome praise of this ultimate pinnacle and symbol of eternal love of a devoted husband for his possessively endeared wife, on the Taj Mahal -Agra Holiday Package!

Ever since its construction, the building has been the source of an adulated transcending culture and geography, and hence personal and emotional responses have consistently eclipsed scholastic appraisals of the monument.

It is an acknowledged masterpiece of symmetry as verses  of the Koran are inscribed on it and at the top of the gate are twenty-two small domes, signifying the number of years the monument took to build. The Tāj Mahal was built on a marble platform that stands above resting sandstone.

The complex is set around a large Charbagh or Mughal garden. The garden uses raised pathways that divide each of the four quarters of the garden into sunken parterres   or flowerbeds. A raised marble water tank at the center of the garden, halfway between the tomb and gateway with a reflecting pool on a north-south axis, reflects the image of the mausoleum. The raised marble water tank is called al Hawd al-Kawthar, in reference to the "Tank of Abundance" promised to Muhammad. Elsewhere, the garden is laid out with avenues of trees and fountains as the charbagh garden is a design inspired by Persian gardens and referred to as the paradise garden.

After this splendour you could move on to the Agra Fort (sometimes called the Red Fort), commissioned by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar and has an inscribed stone tablet at the gate. The red sandstone fort was converted into a palace during Shah Jahan’s time, and reworked extensively with marble and pietra dura inlay. Notable buildings in the fort include the Pearl Mosque or Motī Masjid, the Dīwān-e-'Ām and Dīwān-e-Khās (halls of public and private audience), Jahangir’s Palace Khās Mahal, Shīsh Mahal (mirrored palace), and the Musamman Buri.

The forbidding exteriors of this fort conceal an inner paradise, which is crescent shaped and flattened on the east with a long, nearly straight wall facing the river. It has a perimeter which is ringed by double castellated ramparts of red sandstone punctuated at regular intervals by bastions, and a moat surrounds the outer wall.

Your next destination could be the Fatehpūr Sikrī built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, a short drive from Agra who moved his capital there. Later abandoned, the site displays a number of buildings of significant historical importance. It is often visited by tourists and the Buland Darwaza or 'the lofty gateway' was built by the great Mughal emperor, Akbar in 1601 CE. at Fatehpūr Sikrī’ or the  `Gate of Magnificence’ or the loft gateway is made of red and buff sandstone, decorated by white and black marble and towers above the courtyard of the mosque. It is symmetrical in plan and is topped by large free standing kiosks, which are the  chhatris, and also has the  styled roof terrace edge gallery-kiosks on the roof, stylized buckler-battlements, small minar-spires, and illuminating inlay work with white and black marble. Akbar built the Buland Darwāza to commemorate his victory over Gujarat and an inscription on the central face of the gate demonstrates Akbar's religious broadmindedness.  It is a message from Jesus advising his followers not to consider this world as their permanent home.

Another interesting monument is that the Empress Nur Jehan built  I’timad-Ud-Daulah’s tomb,  sometimes called the "Baby Tāj", for her father, Mirza Ghiyas Beg.  Located on the left bank of the Yamuna river, the mausoleum is set in a large cruciform garden, criss-crossed by water courses and walkways and it is sometimes described as a jewel box. Its garden layout and use of white marble, pietra dura inlay designs and lattice work presage many elements of the Taj Mahal. The walls are white marble from Rajasthan encrusted with semi-precious stone decorations, –cornelian, jasper, lapis lazuli, onyx and topaz, in images of cypress trees and wine bottles, or more elaborate decorations like cut fruit or vases containing bouquets. Light penetrates to the interior through delicate jali screens of intricately carved white marble. Irresistable sights on the Taj Mahal-Agra Holiday Package!

Sikandra the last resting place of Akbar the Great, is on the Delhi-Agra Highway, a short distance from the Agra Fort.  Akbar’s tomb reflects the completeness of his personality and the vast, beautifully carved, red-ochre sandstone tomb with deers, rabbits and langurs is set amidst a lush garden.

Closeby there is the Mankameshwar Temple    one of four ancient temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, located on the four corners of Agra City. It is located near the Jāma Masjid and as it belongs to the old city, the temple is surrounded by markets, many of which date back to the Mughal Era.

The Guru ka Tal was originally a reservoir meant to collect and conserve rainwater built in Agra, near Sikandra, during Jahangir's reign next to the Tomb of I'tibār Khān Khwājasara and later a Gurudwara was erected here. It is now  a holy place of worship for the Sikhs. Enjoying both historical and religious importance, this shrine attracts a large number of devotees and tourists, boasting of elaborate stone carvings and eight of the twelve original towers.

The Jama Masjid is a large mosque attributed to Shah Jahan's daughter, Princess Jahanara Begum, notable for its unusual dome and the absence of minarets. Notable for its Persian influenced dome of blue glazed tiles, The Chini ka Rauza is dedicated to the Prime Minister of Shāh Jahān, 'Allāma Afzal Khāl Mullā Shukrullāh of Shiraz’ and both are noteworthy sites!

The oldest Mughal garden in India, the Ram Bagh was built by the Emperor Babar  on the bank of the Yamuna, north of the Taj Mahal. The pavilions in this garden are designed so that the wind from the Yamuna, combined with the greenery, keeps them cool even during the peak of summer. The original name of the gardens was `Ārām Bāgh’, or 'Garden of Relaxation'.  Mariams Tomb is the tomb of Mariam, the wife of great Mughal Emperor Akbar and the tomb is within the compound of the Christian Missionary Society. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Agra. 

The Mughal Heritage Walk is a one kilometre loop which connects the agricultural fields with the Rajasthani culture, river bank connected with the ancient village of Kuchhpura, the Heritage Structure of Mehtab Bagh, the Mughal aqueduct system, the Humayun Mosque and the Gyarah Sidi. The Taj Mahal attracts a large number of tourists from India and the overseas, on the Taj Mahal-Agra Holiday Package!

The small town to the south of the Taj, known as Taj Ganji or Mumtazabad, was originally constructed with caravan serais, bazaars, and markets to serve the needs of visitors and workmen.  Lists of recommended travel destinations mostly feature the Taj Mahal, which also appears in several listings of Seven Wonders of the Modern World, including the recently announced New Seven Wonders of the World!

Shopping:

Agra is well-known for handicrafts, but the local markets are chaotic while the big shops are expensive. The pietra dura or marble inlay work seen on the Taj is still practiced by a dwindling number of craftspeople. Marble inlay on tables, boxes, knick-knacks, even sofas, may be available for purchase. The city’s craftsmen are also famous for carpet weaving and there are good cotton durries too. Zardozi gold wire embroidery, usually on silk, is another speciality. There are plenty of handmade leather works such as bags, sandals, purses, shoes, belts, accessories, artefacts and curios in marble and sandstone, semi-precious stones with jewels, and wood and metal craft.  Shilpgram is famed with a collection of open- air stalls with mostly handcrafted items, high-quality emporia, and there are outlets like CIE for marble inlay, carpets, metal work, Saga for heritage products with a contemporary touch and branded items, Kalakriti for marble and handicrafts, while Jems Art, Sadar Bazaar, too has several emporium style shops and to brave a local experience, tourists may head to Pratap Pur or Kinari Bazaar for jewellery.

Cuisine:

In Agra, the heat, crowds and noise do not discourage visitors to explore the local eateries, with their traditional flavour, even though the Mughal’s buffet lunch is highly popular with tourist groups, while Clarks Shiraz offers decent food.  Dasaprakash on Gwalior Road has idli-dosa-sambar combos and the famed Chiman near the Jama Masjid is known for its thalis. Capri in Hari Parbat serves good North Indian and Mughlai dishes. For a decent variety, try the Pinch of Spice at Wazirpura Road, favoured by backpackers. Take home angoori and kesar petha from Panchhi Petha in Sadar Bazaar and Hari Parbat or from Kedarnath Phool Chand Pethawala in Johri Bazaar.

Climate:

Agra has a climate which is rather hot during the summer months and fairly cold during the winter months.  Rain showers are unpredictable, and may not occur as per their scheduled time of the year as light showers can occur at any time of the year!

Take rejuvenating or showers of blessing on the fertile doab of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers on the Agra Holiday Package!


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