This monument is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site but also the most beautiful monument of the whole world. This was a mark of love and honour by Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved and favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is said that Mumtaz Mahal died while giving birth to her 14th child and Shah Jahan was completely shattered. After this he built this beautiful mausoleum about which he himself said that even the sun and the moon would shed tears after seeing it. The main building was built in 8 years after the monument started being built in the year 1631 but the whole complex was completed in the year 1653. The monument is built right on the banks of the River Yamuna and is a symbol of purity and love. The white marble used here makes the place looks even more peaceful when the reflection of the monument falls on the waters of the Yamuna. The red sandstone mosque is also a part of the monument complex. Immediately after the building was completed, Shah Jahan was overpowered by his son Aurangzeb and was imprisoned inside the Agra Fort. He could only sit and look at the Taj Mahal till he died in the year 1666. The building has intricate work especially the beautiful lattice work and the Quran is inscribed on the walls of the monument in the form of beautiful calligraphy. The Persian Garden inside the monument complex is another attraction for the tourists. Every week thousands of people come to visit this place and to experience their dream come true. Some also have to leave disappointed at times but there is alsways a desire left to come back.
This is a beautiful monument which was built by Emperor Akbar in the year 1565. The Red Fort was initially built as an establishment for the army but was later extended and beautified to convert it into a magnificent palace complex. Agra Fort is also known as the Red Fort of Agra as it is completely made of a beautiful red colour sandstone and is also connected to Delhi by a number of networks. There are four prominent gates of this fort but the Amar Darwaza after the name of Maharaja Amar Singh is still used for entry to the fort. Many of the palaces which were earlier built are not found now but among those which still remain are the Jahangiri Mahal, Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khas, Moti Masjid, Shaha Burj and Mausam Burj. The Jahangiri Mahal is the most attractive out of all palaces. This was a dedication of Akbar to his beloved wife Jodha Bai. It is a multi divisional palace and is still very attractive. This monument is one of the most visited tourist attractions of Uttar Pradesh.
Taj Mahal and Agra Red Fort
One of the most important monuments in the cultural as well as political scenario of India, the Red Fort is the pride of the capital city of Delhi. It was once the capital of Shahjanabad named after Emperor Shah Jahan. It was during his reign that this awesome monument took its form between 1638 and 1648. The whole structure was named Red Fort or Lal Qila due to the basic material of architecture which is sandstone. It served as the residence of the Mughal Kings for almost 200 years. Later when India became independent, the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru hoisted the National Flag here and the ritual is still carried on. Every year the Independence Day celebrations are organized here.
This is the garden you will find opposite the Taj Mahal which was made by Emperor Shah Jahan. He called this the moonlight garden or a place from where he could best admire the Taj. This was the same place where he wanted to get a twin of Taj Mahal built in black Marble to be a mausoleum for himself but could not put hs plan into action. From recent excavations another central garden along with the remains of as many as 25 fountains have been found here. This garden is almost always filled with people especially during the afternoons and the evnings who sit here and admire the beauty of the Taj Mahal while the cool breeze from the River Yamuna soothes them.
This is a city as well as fort in the extending part of Lucknow. This has its mentions as 'Saik' even in the Mahabharata which makes it very clear that this city existed even during the pre- historic Era. The city was further beautified by the Mughal rulers and the Fatehpur Sikri along with Buland Darwaza is an incomparable monument gifted by Mughal Rulers, especially Emperor Akbar. The fort complex is spread over a huge area and consists of mosque, the Dargah of Salim Salim Chisti, the palaces and so many more. The red sandstone structures with a few made of white marble makes it an awesome composition. The lattice work, jharokhas, pillars and facades are intricately carved. Salim Chisti Dargah was a mark of honor by Emperor Akbar to the great Sufi Saint Sheikh Salim Chisti whom he followed whole heartedly.
The capital city of India is a glorious concoction of the old and the new. Temples that are centuries old, archaic Muslim quarters, and modern residencies, all exist alongside each other. Home to over a crore people, Delhi is a treasure trove of historic gems, gardens, museums and a thriving food culture. Travel to the metropolis for the vibrant bazaars of Chandni Chowk that give way to Lutyens’ New Delhi, which is the historic heart of the city. For an insight into the legacy of the Mughal era, go to the 16th century Humayun’s Tomb, the towering sandstone mosque of Jama Masjid, and experience the sound and light show at Red Fort. Tourists can spend mornings at the extravagant Akshardham Temple and evenings at the Hazrat Nizam-ud-din Dargah (shrine) that boasts of sufi music and delicious kebabs. Another popular attraction of Delhi are its pulsating markets that sell everything from baubles to handicrafts, sell everything you can possibly think of. Those who have travelled to Delhi for its particular brand of food, will have a lot on their plates. From hole-in-the-wall eateries and local student cafes in North Delhi to lavish restaurants and bars in South Delhi, there is no dish or cuisine you won’t find here. A huge incentive for travellers is the variety of public transport, wherein the Delhi Metro is the cheapest and easiest way to get around the city.
Rajasthan’s opulent capital is a magical land brimming with desert camps and lakeside palaces. Sitting on the edge of the Thar desert and surrounded by the Aravali hills, the Pink City boasts of hilltop forts, bustling bazaars and the best pyaaz kachoris you’ll ever taste. Among the places to visit in Jaipur, the grandiose pink sandstone Palace of Winds, or Hawa Mahal, towering over the hustling streetscapes and the majestic City Palace are the ones attracting the most tourists. The 18th century old astronomical observatory of Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is a UNESCO world heritage site and a major tourist attraction. Perched proudly on the top of a hill is Amber Fort, dating back to the 16th century. The red sandstone structure houses palaces, temples, gardens and a lake inside its premises. One of the most favoured things to do in Jaipur is to walk through the lively Bapu Bazaar, and come out with bags stocked with bandhani-printed sarees, lac bangles, meenakari trinkets and blue pottery. And while you’re at it, shop for some string puppets or kathputlis that make for some excellent souvenirs. Galtaji temple, also called the Monkey Temple, is another must visit. If your eyes just can't get enough, visit Amber Fort, which has its own 600-year-old story to narrate, through its spectacular light and sound shows, cultural performances and folk music. Rajasthani tailored clothes, jewellery and handicrafts are a huge hit as souvenirs, for their exquisite mirror work, embroidery, leather and splashes of colour. Some famous places this illustrious workmanship can be bought from are Rajasthali, Anokhi, Johari bazaar and Sireh Deori Bazaar, but remember to bargain. Central Museum and Albert Hall museum are great places to learn about Rajasthan's rich history and culture and also to buy handicrafts. The Jaipur Literature Festival, the world's largest free literature festival, is dear to almost every bibliophile around the globe. Here, enjoy literature and music, amidst the likes of William Dalrymple, Stephen Fry and many other renowned writers and personalities. The 5-day festival is hosted in Diggi Palace, which gives people around the world an insight into Rajasthan's captivating cultural heritage. For those interested in pampering their palates with the flavourful Rajasthani cuisine against the backdrop of a picturesque village should visit Chokhni Dani. For a regal experience, a stay at the Suvarna Mahal is a must visit.
Lucknow or the City of Nawabs sitting on the banks of the Gomti river, is regarded as North India’s cultural capital. Uttar Pradesh’s capital, Lucknow is replete with historical elements dating back to the colonial era that are known over the world for their Awadhi-style architecture. But Lucknow’s ethos lies in its delectable cuisine and its unique Chikankaari (shadow-work embroidery) garments that are must-buys if you are in the city. Lucknow is also known for its sweeping gardens and pure Kathak dance-forms that are showcased in numerous events held across the city. The city is also thriving with a lovely Urdu poetry scene. The ginormous tomb complex of Bara Imambara is home to a stunning labyrinth and neighboured by the equally popular mausoleum of Chhota Imambara, the Husainabad clock tower and a fantastic art gallery. And while in Lucknow, feast on its delightful assortment of Awadhi and Mughlai food that comprises of everything from kebabs to the makhan malai (a saffron-flavoured local ice-cream).
Located in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, Nainital is one of the most beautiful hill stations in Northern India. The stunning Nainital lake is bang in the middle of the city and offers tourists stunning sunsets and enchanting sunrises. One legend says that Nainital derives its name from the Goddess Naina, whereas another legend claims that once when the Goddess Sati was being carried by Lord Shiva, her eye fell in the area. The lovely hill station promises a rejuvenating weekend break for those who are coming from the capital city and is definitely worth a visit. Like most hill stations, Nainital has a bustling mall road, warm cafes and a very busy Tibet market. The mall road houses shops selling candles with intricate designs, wooden knick knacks and colourful woollens. Do bring back some souvenirs as keepsakes! If you have time, do visit Sattal, Naukuchiatal (for paragliding and kayaking) as well as Ranikhet for its surreal beauty. If you are looking for a quiet, carefree holiday, visit between the months of January and April. It'll be cold, but there won't be any crowd.
Situated close to the vibrant city of Jaipur, Alwar is a perfect weekend getaway. Home to the wonderful Sariska Tiger Reserve, the grand City Palace and the stunning Siliserh Lake, Alwar offers you a mix of history, architecture and nature. Though the Sariska Tiger Reserve is perhaps the best way to spend your time in Alwar, you can also spend a little time exploring the lake and Government Museum. When visiting the reserve, do book a safari in advance lest you miss out on a great slot. Early mornings and early evenings are the best way to explore the reserve. Boasting of tigers, including the Bengal Tiger, the reserve is home to the Indian Leopard, Indian Jackal, Sambhar and Wild Boars. Of course, you'll also spot monkeys making a ruckus and a crowd of Neelgais and that is quite fun to watch as well. Avoid eating anything while on the safari since it's a strict no. The Siliserh Lake is another lovely spot where you can indulge in a bit of boating and a delicious lunch. The food here is a bit on the expensive side but it's totally worth it. While here, you can also take a trip to City Palace. You may feel that there are tons of palaces around Rajasthan that are way more beautiful, but this one has its own charm. Away from the chaos of the main city, it offers you a respite from dilapidated, ill maintained forts. Do try food at one of the restaurants in the city. Not only is the food delicious, the hospitality is warm and adds to the meal.
If history, art and architecture spell a perfect holiday for you, Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh is definitely a must visit! The city houses numerous historic monuments, including the very popular Gwalior Fort. Gwalior Fort, an imposing structure situated on a hill has received praise from rulers throughout history. Known for its architectural brilliance and intricate design, exploring the fort can take up an entire day. If you are not fond of historical tours, you can spend your time admiring the stunning views of the fort and from the fort. Do also visit Ghaus's Tomb, which is the tomb of Muhammad Ghawth, a notable Sufi and the guru of Tansen. The site is also home to the Samadhi of Tansen and perhaps this is why the wonderful Tansen music festival is celebrated here. There are numerous hotels here and you can choose one according to your budget, though for a more local experience, it is always best to pick a homestay.
Best Time to Visit Agra
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