Agra is one of THE most popular destinations in North India, however many visit Agra for a short period only- many make just a day trip, see the Taj and leave. Sure, the Taj is downright magnificent, and who can blame them for a long day trip from Delhi for one attraction? But as is often the case, a city with a mega famous sight often has equally spectacular sights which are not too famous and get left out. Which is why I decided to keep 2 nights for Agra, when we went to Delhi in December.
Agra was the capital of the Mughal empire from 1556 to 1658. Today, apart from the monuments, Agra is a shabby, chaotic mess of a city (but with great food).
Having arrived from Delhi in the afternoon, we decided to visit Mariam's tomb first. Mariam was the only Hindu wife of emperor Akbar.
The tomb is not well maintained, owing in part to how few tourists visit the place.
Very close by is the complex of Akbar's tomb, a much bigger one.
This is a great report, because it cannot be denied that even somebody like me only thinks of the Taj Mahal when Agra is mentioned. Luckily, I am still the sort of person who reads guidebooks, so I would never go there with a total lack of knowledge of anything else worth seeing. Your photos most definitely prove that there are quite a few things!
Making our way to Mehtab Bagh, the park right across river Yamuna from the Taj Mahal.
The fog persisted well into the afternoon, unlike usual winter days when fog is only heavy in the mornings. Right across to the Taj Mahal.
Emperor Shahjahan wanted to build the 'Black Taj' as his own mausoleum in Mehtab Bagh, right across from his wife's tomb in the Taj Mahal, but he was imprisoned (declared incompetent to rule after falling sick) by his son Emperor Aurangzeb and the Black Taj never finished construction- just fragments of it lie about.
Mirza Ghiyas Beg was a Persian who moved to Emperor Akbar's court in order to improve his family's financial status. He began an important figure in the empire, whose children worked as wives, mothers and generals of Mughal emperors. He was awarded the status of Itmad-ud-Daula (Pillar of the State). His tomb is located in Agra.
This is a truly beautiful and impressive report, Ansh! I have to echo Lizzy about the foggy Taj photos. They are not only lovely, but I also got a better sense of the place than from the gazillions of Taj/reflecting pool shots I've seen. I'll also echo Kerouac about the empty spaces. They add so much to the grandeur of the monuments and are a relief from all the tourists parading through photos of many famous places.
Of course the Taj is beautiful, but certainly less dazzling after seeing the exquisite workmanship and jewel-like perfection of Akbar's tomb. Seeing it does make the sad state of Mariam's tomb even sadder, though, as i must have been magnificent at one time.
The only thing I ever knew about Agra was from literature, when this or that character visits the great sights. What a treat to get this photo essay from our own modern-day reporter!