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Agra, The City of Love

by on July 2, 2007

Agra’s climate is tropical and prone to extremes, reaching as high as 45ºC (113ºF) during the summer and as low as 4ºC (40ºF) in the winter. The city is dirty and polluted. There are crowds everywhere and the exhaust fumes threaten to choke you. The rainy season is between June and September and the city receives annual rainfall of 660 millimeters (26 inches). But one look at the Taj Mahal and you forget everything else. I stood in a queue for half an hour and was frisked before entering the complex but did not mind the waiting at all once I set my eyes at mausoleum. It’s is beyond beautiful and no pictures can do justice to its perfect symmetry. It towers above all, and the marble changes colour with the passage of the day. I roamed the lawns and the fountains and took pictures from what seemed thousands vantage points.

Agra also has beautiful forts, palaces and mosques. The Agra Red Fort is a sprawling structure and the Jama Masjid awe inspiring. The abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri is an architectural marvel. It was built by Akbar from scratch who wanted to make it his capital. But the city was abandoned within a year due to scarcity of water. Nevertheless, it is beautiful, built with red sand stone. It has huge courtyards, arches, palaces and domes. 37 km from Agra, it combines Islamic and Hindu styles of architecture, reflective of Akbar’s ideology. Fatehpur Sikri means the City of Victory. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Agra also had exciting shopping options. I am enamoured with handicrafts and Agra seemed to be the perfect choice for me. Shops were stacked with marble and soft stone inlay work, leather ware, brassware, carpets, jewellery and zari and zardozi forms of embroidery. Agra is also well known for its sweets ‘Petha’ and ‘Gazak’ and Ssaltish snack ‘Dalmoth.

Hotels in Agra offer a wide variety of cuisines which will tingle your taste buds and make you Hungry. Specialty Restaurants in the Hotels offer evening entertainment besides mouth watering delicacies which were perfected over centuries and passed on to the generations uptilll now.
Agra is famous for the Taj Mahotsav. During this time, visitors to the city will be graced by cultural performances and get an insight into the arts and crafts of the region. Traditional music, poetic recitals, classical dances and rides on bedecked camels and elephants are other highlights. Other major religious festivals including Eid and the Kailash Fair, honouring Lord Shiva, are also celebrated here.

Agra epitomises the high point of Mughal architectural achievement with its heritage and cultural splendor and in this respect even overshadows Delhi which was the capital of various kings and emperors for over a thousand years.

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