Agra is a city that is believed to have been founded by Sultan Sikander Lodi in the early 16th century. However, the city came into prominence when it came under the reign of Mughal emperors – each of whom built monuments, gardens and structures that moulded the city’s unique identity. Today, several of these structures have been classified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Here’s a listicle of monuments that shaped Agra as we know her today.
- Taj Mahal
A monument of extraordinary proportions, the Taj Mahal in Agra is often regarded as the jewel in India’s crown. Shah Jahan, a Mughal emperor was heartbroken when his 3rd wife Mumtaz died during childbirth. The Taj Mahal, built entirely of white marble was commissioned to house her tomb. Today, this monument is universally regarded as a symbol of love, besides also being considered the finest example of Mughal architecture.
- Agra Fort
Constructed by Emperor Akbar and later renovated by his grandson Shah Jahan, the Agra Fort easily qualifies as one of the most famous architectural landmarks in India. The Agra Fort was built as a military structure on the banks of the River Yamuna with massive walls, intricate underground structures and a maze of buildings. While Shah Jahan attempted to convert it into a palace, it was here that he was held captive by his son Aurangzeb until his death.
- Mehtab Bagh
Commissioned by Emperor Babur during the 16th century, the Mehtab Bagh is located on the eastern bank of the Yamuna River. Its build and design were taken into account during the construction of the Taj in order to create sync in terms of design and build. It was the last of an 11-series park construction undertaken by the Emperor and was complete with walkways, sheltered pavilions, fountains and pools, besides exotic flora and plantations.
- Mariam’s Tomb
Heer Kunwari, a Rajput princess was married to Emperor Akbar in 1562. After she gave birth to Jehangir, she was given the title ‘Mariam-uz-Zamani’, which when translated means ‘Mary of the Age’. Her death in 1623 led Jehangir to construct a mausoleum, now called Mariam’s Tomb in her honour. Although the original structure was built by the Lodis, it was considerably redesigned and renovated to imitate Mughal-style architecture and gardens.
- Birbal Bhavan
Believed to resemble a jewellery box, the Birbal Bhavan located in Fatehpur Sikri is a sight not to be missed. Easily accessible from most of the centrally located hotels in Agra, this structure is admired for its double domed architecture as well as intricate carvings and designs in its interiors. Historians are unsure whether the structure was built by or for Birbal, a witty courtier who lived during the reign of Emperor Akbar.