Taj Mahal in Agra
|Nickname(s): Akbarabad; The Taj City|
|Elevation||171 m (561 ft)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Vehicle registration||UP 80|
Agra (i//; Āgrā) is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India. It is 378 kilometres (235 mi) west of the state capital, Lucknow, 206 kilometres (128 mi) south of the national capital New Delhi and 125 kilometres (78 mi) north of Gwalior. With a population of 1,686,993 (2013 est.), it is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh and the 19th most populous in India. Agra can also refer to the administrative district that has its headquarters in Agra city. It is a major tourist destination because of its many splendid Mughal-era buildings, most notably the Tāj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpūr Sikrī, all three of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Agra is included on the Golden Triangle tourist circuit, along with Delhi and Jaipur; and the Uttar Pradesh Heritage Arc, tourist circuit of UP state, along Lucknow the capital of the state and Varanasi. Agra falls within the Braj cultural region.
The city was first mentioned in the epic Mahābhārata, where it was called Agrevaṇa (derived from Sanskrit (अग्रेवण) meaning "the border of the forest"). Legend ascribes the founding of the city to Raja Badal Singh, a Sikarwar Rajput king (c. 1475), whose fort, Badalgarh, stood on or near the site of the present fort. However, the 11th century Persian poet Mas'ūd Sa'd Salmān writes of a desperate assault on the fortress of Agra, then held by the Shāhī King Jayapala, by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni. It was mentioned for the first time in 1080 AD when a Ghaznavide force captured it. Sultan Sikandar Lodī (1488–1517) was the first to move his capital from Delhi to Agra in 1506. He governed the country from here and Agra assumed the importance of the second capital. He died in 1517 and his son, Ibrāhīm Lodī, remained in power there for nine more years and several palaces, wells and a mosque were built by him in the fort during his period. Finally being defeated at the Battle of Panipat in 1526. Between 1540 and 1556, Afghans, beginning with Sher Shah Suri ruled the area. It achieved fame as the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1556 to 1658.
- 1 Climate
- 2 Demographics
- 3 History
- 4 Transport
- 5 Places of interest
- 5.1 Tāj Mahal
- 5.2 Agra Fort
- 5.3 Fatehpur Sikri
- 5.4 I'timād-Ud-Daulah
- 5.5 Akbar's Tomb, Sikandra
- 5.6 Mankameshwar Temple
- 5.7 Indrabhan Girls' Inter College
- 5.8 Gurudwara Guru ka Taal
- 5.9 Jamā Masjid
- 5.10 Chīnī kā Rauza
- 5.11 Rām Bāgh
- 5.12 Mariam's Tomb
- 5.13 Mehtāb Bāgh
- 5.14 Keetham Lake
- 5.15 Mughal Heritage Walk
- 5.16 The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
- 5.17 Paliwal Park (Hewitt Park)
- 6 Economy
- 7 Development
- 8 Education
- 9 Media
- 10 Radio stations
- 11 Fairs and festivals
- 12 Notable individuals
- 13 References
- 14 Further reading
- 15 External links
Agra features a semiarid climate that borders on a humid subtropical climate. The city features mild winters, hot and dry summers and a monsoon season. However the monsoons, though substantial in Agra, are not quite as heavy as the monsoon in other parts of India. This is a primary factor in Agra featuring a semiarid climate as opposed to a humid subtropical climate.
|Climate data for Agra, India|
|Record high °C (°F)||33.0
|Average high °C (°F)||22.3
|Daily mean °C (°F)||15.1
|Average low °C (°F)||8.0
|Record low °C (°F)||−2.2
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||13.2
|Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)||1.6||1.5||1.6||1.1||2.0||4.7||13.6||13.7||6.5||1.5||0.6||0.8||49.2|
|Average relative humidity (%)||64||55||45||35||34||46||72||77||67||54||56||64||56|
|Source #1: NOAA (1971–1990), World Meteorological Organization (precipitation 1901–2000)|
|Source #2: India Meteorological Department (records)|
According to the 2011 India census, Agra city has a population of 1,585,704, while the population of Agra cantonment is 53,053. The urban agglomeration of Agra has a population of 1,760,285. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Agra city has an average literacy rate of 73.11%, lower than the national average of 74%. Literacy rate of males is considerably higher than that of women. The sex ratio in the city was 875 females per thousand males while child sex ratio stood at 857. Agra district literacy rate is 62.56%. Agra is dominated by Yadavs and Jats.
Hinduism, Islam, and Jainism are three major religions in Agra district with 80.68%, 15.37%, and 1.04% of the population following them. And others are 1.5% 52.5% of Agra's population is in the 15–59 years age category. Around 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.
Though Agra's history is largely recognised with Mughal Empire, the place was established much before it and has linkages since Mahabharat period so Mahirshi Angira in 1000 BC. It is generally accepted that Sultan Sikandar Lodī, the Ruler of the Delhi Sultanate founded Agra in the year 1504. After the Sultan's death the city passed on to his son Sultan Ibrāhīm Lodī. He ruled his Sultanate from Agra until he fell fighting to Bābar in the First battle of Panipat fought in 1526.
The golden age of the city began with the Mughals. It was known then as Akbarabād and remained the capital of the Mughal Empire under the Emperors Akbar, Jahāngīr and Shāh Jahān. Shāh Jahān later shifted his capital to Shāhjahānabād in the year 1649.
Since Akbarabād was one of the most important cities in India under the Mughals, it witnessed a lot of building activity. Babar, the founder of the Mughal dynasty, laid out the first formal Persian garden on the banks of river Yamuna. The garden is called the Arām Bāgh or the Garden of Relaxation. His grandson Akbar raised the towering ramparts of the Great Red Fort, besides making Agra a centre for learning, arts, commerce and religion. Akbar also built a new city on the outskirts of Akbarabād called Fatehpūr Sikrī. This city was built in the form of a Mughal military camp in stone.
His son Jahāngīr had a love of gardens and flora and fauna and laid many gardens inside the Red Fort or Lāl Qil'a. Shāh Jahān, known for his keen interest in architecture, gave Akbarabād its most prized monument, the Tāj Mahal. Built in loving memory of his wife Mumtāz Mahal, the mausoleum was completed in 1653.
Shāh Jahān later shifted the capital to Delhi during his reign, but his son Aurangzeb moved the capital back to Akbarabād, usurping his father and imprisoning him in the Fort there. Akbarabād remained the capital of India during the rule of Aurangzeb until he shifted it to Aurangabad in the Deccan in 1653. After the decline of the Mughal Empire, the city came under the influence of Marathas and was called Agra, before falling into the hands of the British Raj in 1803.
In 1835 when the Presidency of Agra was established by the British, the city became the seat of government, and just two years later it was witness to the Agra famine of 1837–38. During the Indian rebellion of 1857 British rule across India was threatened, news of the rebellion had reached Agra on 11 May and on 30 May two companies of native infantry, the 44th and 67th regiments, rebelled and marched to Delhi. The next morning native Indian troops in Agra were forced to disarm, on 15 June Gwalior (which lies south of Agra) rebelled. By 3 July the British were forced to withdraw into the fort. Two days later a small British force at Sucheta were defeated and forced to withdraw, this led to a mob sacking the city. However, the rebels moved onto Delhi which allowed the British to restore order by 8 July. Delhi fell to the British in September, the following month rebels who had fled Delhi along with rebels from Central India marched on Agra but were defeated. After this British rule was again secured over the city until the independence of India in 1947.
Agra is the birthplace of the religion known as Dīn-i Ilāhī, which flourished during the reign of Akbar and also of the Radhaswami Faith, which has around two million followers worldwide. Agra has historic linkages with Shauripur of Jainism and Runukta of Hinduism, of 1000 BC.
Tāj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Air India flies the following sectors in Agra airport:
Delhi - Varanasi - Agra (Monday, Wednesday, Saturday)
Agra - Khajuraho - Varanasi - Delhi (Monday, Wednesday, Saturday)
Mumbai - Agra - Mumbai (Tuesday, Thursday)
As of now Air India connects Agra to the rest of the world via Mumbai, Delhi 5 days a week. These flights are usually on time and observe full load factor. Agra still needs many more daily flights to Kolkata, Jaipur, Goa, Kochi, Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Varanasi and other tourist destinations within the country. Many airlines are showing interest to start services from Agra in near future.
Taj International Airport
A new greenfield international airport is proposed for Agra in a bid to give required fillip to tourism in Uttar Pradesh. Taj International Airport project at Agra would be implemented in right earnest with the state government according top priority to this project as Taj Mahal is one of the most visited tourist spots in the world.
Consortium of Rites Ltd and KPMG Advisory Services Pvt Ltd, the selected consultants for this project, made a detailed presentation to Infrastructure and Industrial Development Commissioner (IIDC), Anil Kumar Gupta on the future course of action. Consultants were asked to identify the best suited site by the end of the current financial year.
The project site would be selected in a way so as to enable prompt clearances and approvals for the implementation without any hindrances. To be developed through Public Private Partnership (PPP), in order to ensure time-bound execution of the project, the government has assured full co-operation at all levels of administration. Development of an international airport near the Taj Mahal will enhance the tourist inflow, the new airport would also cater to needs of frequent fliers, entrepreneurs and exporters from the region. If everything goes to plan, Agra will have an international airport within four to five years.
Agra is on the central train line between Delhi (Station Code: NDLS) and Bombay (Station Code: CSTM) and between Delhi and Madras (Station Code: MAS) and many trains like Bhopal Shatabdi, Taj Express, Bhopal Express, Malwa Express, Gondwana Express, Jabalpur - Jammutawi Express, Shreedham Express, Garib Rath, Tamil Nadu Express, Chennai Rajdhani, Allahabad Mathura Express etc. connect Agra with all major Indian cities like New Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Pune, Bhopal, Indore, Kochi, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Ujjain, Jaipur, Aligarh, Mathura, Alwar, Lucknow, Thiruvananthapuram etc. every day. Some east-bound trains from Delhi also travel via Agra, so direct connections to points in Eastern India (including Calcutta are also available. There are close to 20 trains to New Delhi and Gwalior Junction every day, and at least three or four to Bhopal, Indore, Nagpur, Bombay and Madras. There are three main railway stations in Agra.
Railway Stations served by the Indian Railways network at Agra are:
- Agra Cantonment Railway Station, Agra
- Agra Fort Railway Station, Agra
- Agra City Railway Station, Agra
- Raja Ki Mandi Railway Station, Agra
- Idgah Railway Station, Agra
- Yamuna Bridge Railway Station, Agra
- Billochpura Railway Station, Agra
- Fatehpur Sikri Railway Station, Agra
- Etmadpur Railway Station, Agra
- Keetham Railway Track
Agra-Delhi Semi-High Speed Train
In July 2014, a trial run of a "semi-high speed train" with 10 coaches and 2 generators reached a speed of 160 km/h (99 mph) between New Delhi and Agra. The railways plan to introduce such trains commercially from November 2014. New Delhi Agra Shatabdi Express is same type of train, which takes 2 hours to complete its journey. A new semi-high speed train Gatimaan Express that reduces travel time between Delhi and Agra to 100 minutes has been started from 5 April 2016.
Idgah Bus Stand, Taj Depot, Ford Depot and Inter State Bus Terminal (ISBT) are the major bus stands in Agra, connecting Agra to most of the bigger cities in North India. It is a major junction of highways with 3 national highways and 1 expressway originating from Agra. Another national highway passes through the city bringing the total highway outlet to 6.
- From Delhi: NH2, a modern divided highway, connects the 200 km (124 mi) distance from Delhi to Agra. The drive is about 4 hours. The primary access to the highway is along Mathura Road in Delhi but, if coming from South Delhi or Delhi Airport, it is easier to take Aurobindo Marg (Mehrauli Road) and then work up to NH2 via Tughlakabad.
- From Delhi / Noida: Yamuna Expressway, a modern access controlled highway connects the 200 km (124 mi) distance from Delhi to Agra. The drive is about 2 hours. This highway has junction to Aligarh and Mathura via state highways.
- Yamuna Expressway (formerly Taj Expressway) is a 6-lane (extendable to 8 lanes), 165 km (103 mi) long, controlled-access expressway, that connects Greater Noida with Agra via Khair and Mathura in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
- NH 93 is a National Highway that connects Agra to Moradabad via Aligarh
Bus services are run by the Agra Municipal Corporation. Other para-transit modes include rickshaws and autorickshaws. While passengers need to negotiate rates for the rickshaws and they are usually expensive, there is a system of (what is called) 'Tempo' which are autorickshaws that run on specific routes called out by the drivers. Tempos take around 6 people simultaneously and work out to be the most economical and practical. Polluting vehicles are not allowed near the Tāj Mahal, so one needs to take electric autos or Tanga (Tonga) from a few kilometres outside the Tāj Mahal.  is located at Agra Cantt railways station.
Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Akbar's Tomb, besides many other landmarks of the city will now have metro rail connectivity. The feasibility report submitted by Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES) has proposed 30 stations, 11 underground and 19 elevated, for two corridors of the Metro Rail in the city in the first phase. The two routes are Sikandra to Taj Mahal East gate via Agra Fort and Agra Cantt to Kalindi Vihar.
Places of interest
The Taj Mahal is one of the most famous buildings in the world, the mausoleum of Shah Jahan's favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is one of the New Seven Wonders of the world, and one of the three World Heritage Sites in Agra. Agra is commonly identified as the "City of Taj".
Completed in 1653, the Tāj Mahal was built by the Mughal king Shah Jahan as the final resting place for his beloved wife, Mumtāz Mahal. Finished in marble, it is perhaps India's most beautiful monument. This perfectly symmetrical monument took 22 years (1630–1652) of labour and 20,000 workers, masons and jewellers to build and is set amidst landscaped gardens. Built by the Persian architect, Ustād 'Īsā, the Tāj Mahal is on the south bank of the Yamuna River. It can be observed from Agra Fort from where Emperor Shāh Jahān gazed at it for the last eight years of his life, a prisoner of his son Aurangzeb. It is an acknowledged masterpiece of symmetry. Verses of the Quran are inscribed on it and at the top of the gate are twenty-two small domes, signifying the number of years the monument took to build. The Tāj Mahal was built on a marble platform that stands above a sandstone one. The most elegant dome of the Tāj Mahal has a diameter of 60 feet (18 m), and rises to a height of 80 feet (24 m); directly under this dome is the tomb of Mumtāz Mahal. Shah Jahān's tomb was erected next to hers by his son Aurangzeb. The interiors are decorated with fine inlay work, incorporating semi-precious stones.
Agra Fort (sometimes called the Red Fort), was commissioned by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1565, and is another of Agra's World Heritage Sites. A stone tablet at the gate of the Fort states that it had been built before 1000 but was later renovated by Akbar. The red sandstone fort was converted into a palace during Shāh Jahān's time, and reworked extensively with marble and pietra dura inlay. Notable buildings in the fort include the Pearl Mosque or Motī Masjid, the Dīwān-e-'Ām and Dīwān-e-Khās (halls of public and private audience), Jahāngīr's Palace, Khās Mahal, Shīsh Mahal (mirrored palace), and the Musamman Burj.
The forbidding exteriors of this fort conceal an inner paradise. The fort is crescent shaped, flattened on the east with a long, nearly straight wall facing the river. It has a total perimeter of 2.4 kilometres (1.5 mi), and is ringed by double castellated ramparts of red sandstone punctuated at regular intervals by bastions. A moat 9 metres (30 ft) wide and 10 metres (33 ft) deep surrounds the outer wall.
Chhatrapati Shīvajī visited the Agra Fort, as a result of the conditions of the Treaty of Purandar entered into with Mirzā Rājā Jaisingh to meet Aurangzeb in the Dīwān-i-Khās (Special Audience Chamber). In the audience he was deliberately placed behind men of lower rank. An insulted Shīvajī stormed out of the imperial audience and was confined to Jai Sing's quarters on 12 May 1666. Fearing the dungeons and execution he escaped on 17 August 1666.
The fort is a typical example of Mughal architecture, effectively showing how the North Indian style of fort construction differed from that of the South. In the South, the majority of forts were built on the seabed like the one at Bekal in Kerala.
The Mughal Emperor Akbar built Fatehpūr Sikrī about 35 km (22 mi) from Agra, and moved his capital there. Later abandoned, the site displays a number of buildings of significant historical importance. A World Heritage Site, it is often visited by tourists. The name of the place came about after the Mughal Emperor Bābar defeated Rāṇā Sāngā in a battle at a place called Sikrī (about 40 km (25 mi) from Agra). Then the Mughal Emperor Akbar wanted to make Fatehpūr Sikrī his headquarters, so he built a majestic fort; due to shortage of water, however, he had to ultimately move his headquarters to Agra Fort.
Buland Darwāza or 'the lofty gateway' was built by the great Mughal emperor, Akbar in 1601 CE. at Fatehpūr Sikrī. Akbar built the Buland Darwāza to commemorate his victory over Gujarat. The Buland Darwāza is approached by 52 steps. The Buland Darwāza is 53.63 metres (175.95 feet) high and 35 metres (115 feet) wide. it is made of red and buff sandstone, decorated by carving and black and white marble inlays. An inscription on the central face of the Buland Darwāza demonstrates Akbar's religious broadmindedness, it is a message from Jesus advising his followers not to consider this world as their permanent home.
The Empress Nūr Jahān built I'timād-Ud-Daulah's Tomb, sometimes called the "Baby Tāj", for her father, Mirzā Ghiyās Beg, the Chief Minister of the Emperor Jahāngīr. Located on the left bank of the Yamuna river, the mausoleum is set in a large cruciform garden, criss-crossed by water courses and walkways. The area of the mausoleum itself is about 23 m2 (250 sq ft), and is built on a base that is about 50 m2 (540 sq ft) and about one metre (3.3 feet) high. On each corner are hexagonal towers, about thirteen metres (43 feet) tall. Small in comparison to many other Mughal-era tombs, it is sometimes described as a jewel box. Its garden layout and use of white marble, pietra dura, inlay designs and latticework presage many elements of the Tāj Mahal.
The walls are white marble from Rajasthan encrusted with semi-precious stone decorations – cornelian, jasper, lapis lazuli, onyx, and topaz in images of cypress trees and wine bottles, or more elaborate decorations like cut fruit or vases containing bouquets. Light penetrates to the interior through delicate jālī screens of intricately carved white marble.
Many of Nūr Jahān's relatives are interred in the mausoleum. The only asymmetrical element of the entire complex are the tombs of her father and mother, which have been set side-by-side, a formation replicated in the Taj Mahal.[clarification needed]
Akbar's Tomb, Sikandra
Sikandra, the last resting place of the Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great, is on the Delhi-Agra Highway, only 13 kilometres (8.1 miles) from the Agra Fort. Akbar's tomb reflects the completeness of his personality. The vast, beautifully carved, red-ochre sandstone tomb with deers, rabbits and langurs is set amidst a lush garden. Akbar himself planned his own tomb and selected a suitable site for it. To construct a tomb in one's lifetime was a Turkic custom which the Mughals followed religiously. Akbar's son Jahāngīr completed construction of this pyramidal tomb in 1613. The 99 names of Allah have been inscribed on the tomb.
The Mankameshwar Temple is one of four ancient temples dedicated to Lord Shiva located on the four corners of Agra City. It is located near the Jāma Masjid and is about 2.5 kilometres (1.6 miles) from the Tāj Mahal and less than 1 km (0.6 mi) from Agra Fort. Being located in the old city, the temple is surrounded by markets, many of which date back to the Mughal Era.
Indrabhan Girls' Inter College
It is widespreadly considered to be the birthplace of great poet Mirza Ghalib. It is located near the Mankameshwar Temple and is about 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) from the Tāj Mahal and less than 1 km (0.6 mi) from Agra Fort. Being located in the old city, the College is surrounded by markets. Approximately four or five years back, the birth room of Mirza Ghalib was hidden behind the wall by the Management of the college to keep the identity of the place secret.
Gurudwara Guru ka Taal
Guru ka Tal was originally a reservoir meant to collect and conserve rainwater built in Agra, near Sikandra, during Jahangir's reign next to the Tomb of I'tibār Khān Khwājasara in 1610. In the 1970s a gurudwara was erected here. Guru ka Tal is a holy place of worship for the Sikhs. Four of the ten Sikh Gurus are said to have paid it a visit. Enjoying both historical and religious importance, this shrine attracts a large number of devotees and tourists. Boasting elaborate stone carvings and eight of the twelve original towers. It is located by national (Delhi-Agra) highway-2.
The Jāma Masjid is a large mosque attributed to Shah Jahan's daughter, Princess Jahanara Begum, built in 1648, notable for its unusual dome and absence of minarets. The inscription at its entrance shows that it cost Rs 5 Lakhs at that time for its completion.
Chīnī kā Rauza
The oldest Mughal garden in India, the Rām Bāgh was built by the Emperor Bābar in 1528 on the bank of the Yamuna. It lies about 2.34 km (1 mi) north of the Tāj Mahal. The pavilions in this garden are designed so that the wind from the Yamuna, combined with the greenery, keeps them cool even during the peak of summer. The original name of the gardens was Ārām Bāgh, or 'Garden of Relaxation', and this was where the Mughal emperor Bābar used to spend his leisure time and where he eventually died. His body was kept here for some time before sending it to Kabul.
On Ram Bagh to Tundla road near Etmadpur, there is a famed Yoga Ashram of Mahaprabhu Ramlal ji Maharaja(First Guru Gaddi), Yogeshwar Mulakhraj Ji Maharaja(Second Guru Gaddi) & Yogeshwar DeviDayal Ji Mahadev(Third GuruGaddi) blessed Swami Chandra Mohan Ji Maharaj named Shri Siddha Gufa Sawai. Thousands of devotees and seekers visit this holy place.
The Mehtāb Bāgh, or 'Moonlight Garden', is on the opposite bank of the River Yamuna from the Tāj Mahal.
Also known as Sur Sarovar, Keetham Lake is situated about 7 kilometres (4.3 miles) from the Akbar tomb in Agra, within the Surdas Reserved Forest. The lake has an impressive variety of aquatic life and water birds.
Mughal Heritage Walk
The Mughal Heritage Walk is a part of community development programme being implemented with support of Agra Municipal corporation, USAID and an NGO; Center for Urban and Regional Excellence. It seeks to build sustainable livelihoods for youth and women from low resource communities and improve their living environments through infrastructure services and integration within the city.
The Mughal Heritage Walk is a one-kilometre (0.62-mile) loop which connects the agricultural fields with the Rajasthani culture, river bank connected with the ancient village of Kuchhpura, the Heritage Structure of Mehtab Bagh, the Mughal aqueduct system, the Humanyun Mosque and the Gyarah Sidi.
The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Paliwal Park (Hewitt Park)
Paliwal Park, during the British Raj was known as Hewitt Park, is now renamed in memory of Shri Krishna Datta Paliwal, Who was the first finance minister of Uttar Pradesh, when Shri Govind Ballabh Pant was the Chief Minister of U.P State.
Paliwal Park is located in the heart of Agra, India. It is spread over an area of around 70 acres (280,000 m2). It also has a small lake and has vast variety of trees.
Paliwal Park links the residential areas of Vijay Nagar Colony & Gandhi Nagar to the financial Hub of the city i.e. Sanjay Place.
John's Public Library, also known as the Agra Municipal Library, is also located here and one can find rare books on diverse topics here.
Many people come here for morning walk, as a result this place is full especially during the summer holidays when youngsters play all sort of different games.
Due to the presence of the Taj Mahal and other historic monuments, it has a tourism industry as well royal crafts like Pietra Dura, marble inlay and carpets
Today 40% of the population depends largely on agriculture, and others on the leather and footwear business and iron foundries. Agra is the second most self-employed in India in 2007, behind Varanasi, followed by Bhopal, Indore and Patna. According to the National Sample Survey Organization, in 1999–2000, 431 of every 1,000 employed males were self-employed in the city, which grew to 603 per 1,000 in 2004–05. Tourism contributes to the economy of Agra. Agra is home to Asia’s largest spa called Kaya Kalp – The Royal Spa, at the Hotel Mughal in Agra.
Agra has many industries. Uttar Pradesh's first plant biotech company Harihar Biotech is located near the Taj. There are about 7,000 small scale industrial units. Agra city is also known for its leather goods, the oldest and famous leather firm Taj Leather World is in Sadar bazar . The carpets, handicrafts, zari and zardozi (embroidery work), marble and stone carving and inlay work. Agra is known for its sweets (Petha and Gajak) and snacks (Dalmoth), garment manufacturers and exporters and an automobile industry. Carpet making was introduced to the city by Moghul Emperor Babur and since then this art has flourished.
The city centre place at Agra has jewellery and garments shops. The silver and gold jewellery hub is at Choube Ji Ka Fatak. The Shah Market area is an electronics market while Sanjay Place is the trade centre of Agra.
Property is one of the growing sectors of the Agra's economy.
There are several malls such as Big Bazzar, TDI Mall, Pacific Mall, Ratan Mall, Omaxe SRK Mall, Ashoka Mall (Sanjay Place).
- Agra International Airport
- Metro Rail in Agra
- Agra Lucknow Expressway
- Night Markets in Agra
- Radio Taxi
Agra ranked fifth on both the financial penetration index, which measures things like the presence of ATMs and bank branches, and on the consumption index, indicating the city’s transformation into an urban town. There are many new buildings, shopping complexes, malls, roads, flyovers and apartments coming up. On the India City Competitiveness Index, the city ranked 26th in 2010, 32nd in 2011 and 37th in 2012
It was during the advent of the Mughal era that Agra grew as a centre of Islamic education. British people introduced the western concept of education in Agra. In the year 1823, Agra College, one of the oldest colleges in India was formed out of a Sanskrit school established by the Scindia rulers. In the British era, Agra became a great centre of Hindi literature with people like Babu Gulab Rai at the helm.
Universities and colleges
Agra University was established on 1 July 1927 and catered to colleges spread across the United Provinces, the Rajputana, the Central Provinces and almost to entire North India, at present 10 institutes comprising various departments and around 700 Colleges are affiliated to this university. The historic Agra University was later rechristened as Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar University by the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Ms. Mayawati.
- Sachdeva Institute of Technology, Also known as SIT, Mathura since 2001.
- The Institute of Mental Health and Hospital, formerly known as Agra Lunatic Asylum, was established in September 1859 governed by the State of Uttar Pradesh. It is spread over on extensive and beautiful ground of 172.8 acres (69.9 ha) land and is well known centre for the treatment, training and research on mental disorders in Northern India. The institute was renamed as Mental Hospital, Agra in 1925. It was being managed under the provisions of Indian Lunacy Act, 1912 till 1993. Presently all admissions and discharges are being done under the provisions of Mental Health Act, 1987. Following a public writ, the Supreme Court of India in the year 1994, renamed the Institution as Agra Mansik Arogyashala, made it an autonomous institution and outlined the objectives to improve treatment and care of mentally ill persons including rehabilitation as well as to develop activities for professional teaching, training and research. In compliance of the order of the Supreme Court, the UP government declared the hospital as an autonomous institution on 31 January 1995. In view of the objectives laid down by the court, it was renamed as Institute of Mental Health and Hospital on 8 February 2001.
- Central Institute of Hindi, (also known as Kendriya Hindi Sansthan) is an autonomous institute under Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India engaged in teaching Hindi as a foreign and second language. Apart from running residential Hindi language courses for foreign students, the institute also conducts regular training programmes for teachers of Hindi belonging to non-Hindi states of India. The institute is situated at a 11 acres (4.5 ha) campus on the outskirts of Agra city. Headquartered in Agra the institute has eight regional centres in Delhi, Hyderabad, Mysore, Shillong, Dimapur, Guwahati, Ahmedabad and Bhubneshwar. The institute is the only government run institution in India established solely for research and teaching of Hindi as a foreign and second language.
- Sarojini Naidu Medical College, is one of the three oldest medical colleges of India. It is located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh state. It is named after the first lady Governess of Uttar Pradesh, poet and freedom fighter, Bharat Kokila Smt. Sarojini Naidu.
- Agra College, is one of the oldest institutions in India. Pandit Gangadhar Shastri, a noted Sanskrit scholar founded the college in 1823. Till 1883 the institute was a government college and after that a Board of Trustees and a Committee of Management managed the college. Agra College produced the first graduate in Uttar Pradesh and the first Law graduate to Northern India.
- St. John's College, Agra, is a college established in 1850, now part of the Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar University, earlier known as Agra University. It is amongst the oldest and one of the most beautiful Christian colleges in India. The college runs a study centre of Indira Gandhi National Open University (ignou), a central university.
- Raja Balwant Singh College, Established in 1885 owes its existence to Raja Balwant Singh Ji of Awagarh who enabled the institution to grow as one of the oldest and biggest colleges of Uttar Pradesh. Raja Balwant Singh College is located at Bichpuri, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. The college is affiliated to Uttar Pradesh Technical University, Lucknow, and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University, Agra.
- Dayalbagh Educational Institute, Radhasoami Satsang Sabha, started the Radhasoami Educational Institute, as a co-educational Middle School, open to all, on 1 January 1917. It became a Degree College in 1947, affiliated to Agra University. In 1975, it formulated a programme of undergraduate studies which received approbation from the Government of Uttar Pradesh and the University Grants Commission, as a result of which in 1981 the Ministry of Education, Government of India, conferred the status of an institution deemed to be a University on the Dayalbagh Educational Institute, to implement the new scheme.
- UEI Global, consecutively ranked among the top management institutes of India by Competition Success Review for year 2013 and 2012. The college has 12 campuses across India and provide programs in Hotel Management and Business Management.
Agra is home to the Dainik Jagran newspaper. which is the most read Hindi newspaper in India. Other newspapers that are widely read include Amar Ujala, Aaj, Hindustan,The Sea Express. The English dailies published are The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Economic Times, The Pioneer, etc. There is also the Hindi and English mixed newspaper tabloid I-NEXT.
Morphers Animation Studios LLP is an animation studio in Agra, which caters 3d visualisation services to clients. State-owned All India Radio has a local station in Agra which transmits various programs of mass interest. There are two private FM radio stations, 92.7 BIG FM (Reliance Broadcast Network Limited)and Radio Mantra 91.9 FM (Shri Puran Multimedia). There is a community Radio Station 90.4 FM.
- 90.4 MHz – Agra ki Awaaz
- 90.8 MHz – Aap ki Awaaz
- 91.9 MHz – Radio Mantra
- 92.7 MHz – Big 92.7 FM
- 105.6 MHz – IGNOU Gyan Vani
Fairs and festivals
This cultural festival was started in year 1992 and has grown since then. The year 2014 is the 23d year of this Mahotsav. This festival also figures in the calendar of events of the Department of Tourism, Government of India. A large number of Indian and foreign tourists coming to Agra join this festivity in the month of February. One of the objectives of this craft fair is to provide encouragement to the artisans. It also makes available works of art and craft at reasonable prices that are not inflated by high maintenance cost.
Ram Barat (Hindi: राम बारात) is a part of Ramlila celebration in Agra. It is one of the biggest annual events in North India. Ram Barat literally means Baraat Marriage procession of Shri Ram. Every year a new locality is chosen in Agra and is elaborately decorated with lights & flowers. The area is given a major face lift befitting the venue for the divine marriage.
Taj Literature Festival
Taj Literature Festival saw stars of the literary world manifest themselves on the earth of Agra. The galaxy included the stalwarts, Muzaffar Ali, Shobha De, Prahlad Kakker and Raghu Rai. The stage shone brilliant and the heritage city breathed life . This festival, an attempt to rejuvenate that aesthetic spirit which is a soul of this historically rich city, Agra. The city that nurtured the likes of Ghalib, Tansen, Surdas, Nazeer and many more.
The Kailash Fair is held in the town of Kailash, about 12 km (7 mi) from Agra, in the month of August/September. It is a major fair celebrated in honour of Lord Shiva who is believed to have appeared here in the form of stone Lingam.
Gokulpura / Moti Katra, Agra
Taj Municipal Museum in Paliwal Park Agra
The museum-cum-public library is housed in an old heritage structure, built in 1922 and renovated in the 1940s. Queen Victori's bronze statue's are also exposed in this Museum. The other old statues and memories of the Mughal Era are exposed for the attraction of tourists, something new other than usual attraction.
Great Poet Soordas, Acharya Pt. Shri Ram Sharma, Abul Fazal, Amrit Lal Nagar, Rangey Raghav, Dr Ramvilas Sharma, Babu Gulab Roy, Rajendra Yadav, Mirza Galib, Mir Taqi Mir, Nazir Akbarabadi Motilal Nehru,Actress Nimmi, Raj Babbar, Prof (Dr) Deoki Nandan
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- Vidhya Society, (2009). Vidhya Society (NGO) is a leading charitable organisation of Uttar Pradesh (India) established under society registration act 21-1860 on the special occasion of World Disable Year 2009. Director Mr. Pavan Upadhyay
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