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Agra

Agra is famous as being home to one of the seven wonders of the world-the Taj Mahal. The architectural splendour of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid remainder of the capital in the 16th and early 17th centuries.

While its significance as a political centre ended with the transfer of the capital to Delhi in 1634 by Shah Jahan, its architectural wealth has secured its place on the international map.

A pleasant town with comparatively slow pace, Agra is known for its superb inlay work on marble by craftsmen supposedly the descendants of those who worked under the Mughals on the Taj. The city is also famous for its carpets, gold thread embroidery and leather shoes. Agra was once the capital of the Mughal Empire and even today it seems to linger in the past. Not surprising, for the Mughal emperors with their passion for building, endowed the city with some of the finest structures in the world. It is very easy to slip away here through the centuries into the grandeur and intrigues of the Mughal court. Agra is an old city and it is said that its name was derived from Agrabana, a forest that finds mention in the epic Mahabharata. In more recent times Agra came into prominence when Sikandar Lodhi made it his capital city in 1501. The Lodi rule was to end very soon and Agra passed into the possession of the Mughals. It was during the time of the third emperor Akbar that Agra came into its own. He embarked on the construction of the massive Agra Fort in 1565. Though Akbar was diverted into building a new capital at Fatehpur Sikri not far away.

Agra continued to retain its importance and Shah Jehan, Akbar's grandson ornamented the city with that masterpiece of Mughal architecture - the Taj Mahal and built several other beautiful buildings within the Agra fort.

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 immortalised 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 resplendent era that's long since gone by.

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.