India is a country steeped in history, and the remarkable fact is that in spite of numerous foreign invasions both by rulers and cultures, she still retains a unique flavour of her own. There is a great architectural heritage in India and Agra, or Agraban, as it was called in the Mahabarat times, a charmed city that can boast of the most splendid monuments in the world, including three World Heritage monuments.
Perhaps no other historical monument has evoked as much awareness and admiration from tourists and travelers alike, as the magnificent Taj Mahal - fondly called by people as the ultimate requiem of love, from a great Mughal Emperor to his beloved. Agra is a part of Brijbhoomi, the land associated with the birth and legendry activities of Lord Krishna. In Agra City there are five Shiva temples which are the symbols of ancient culture.
Agra was the capital city of Sikander Lodhi, the second ruler of the Lodhi dynasty, who defeated by the persian King Babur in 1526 A.D. Babur too made Agra his capital city and so began the great Mughal rule. It was Babur who build the first monument in Agra, a planned garden garden called Gul-e-Afgaan or the Aaram Baugh.
So overwhelming is the exquisite beauty and presence of this marble mausoleum that centuries later today, even the very land where it has been located - Agra - has been immortalized as the 'City of the Taj'. Yet, it doesn’t take much for the roving eye to discover that there's more to Agra than just the fabled Taj Mahal. The city is a virtual gateway to a world of discovery… a freeze-frame from a resplendant era that's long since gone by. In the great epic 'Mahabharat' the region of Agra is described as 'Agraban' (an integral part of the Brij Bhumi or the land of Lord Krishna). The latter part of Indian history outlines the origins of Agra to 1475 A.D., when the reign of Raja Badal Singh.
However, Agra came into limelight during the rule of Afghan King Sikandar Lodhi - who had made it the capital of his empire.Later in 1526 A.D., the Mughal Emperor Babar took upon himself the task for rendering Agra, a unique character and beauty of its own. The visionary that he was and a great patron of the arts, Emperor Babar brought in a change in the culture and life-style among the people of Agra, which then brought forth some of the finest craftsmen, artists, statesmen, warriors and nobility, this part of India had ever withnessed. The golden age of Agra's history, thus began to set in.
The next few hundred years of Agra witnessed the rise of the pomp and pageantry of three great Mughal monarchs - Emperor Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jahan - all of whom lavished on this fabled city, their love and riches immeasurable to transform the land into one of the great centers of art, culture, learning and commerce.
Much of the city's impressive past lives in evidence even today, in the haunting presence inside the monuments, the majesty of the buildings, the exquisite arts and crafts and not to forget, the lure of an exceptional cuisine… all, cherished as priceless legacies of a nostalgic past. The older city of Agra has impressively retained much of its resplendent history… captivating every visitor with fond memories to take back home. Today, luxury and modern convenience also exist adjacent to tradition - luxury hotels, shopping malls and plazas, wide avenues and a superb choice of venues for recreation, business, sports, pleasure, education and the arts.