Where: Moti Bagh, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282006
Often referred to as the ?Bachcha (Baby) Taj?, the tomb of Itimad-ud-daulah is a Mughal mausoleum
built as a draft of the grand Taj Mahal. Made entirely of marble, this is the tomb of Mir Gheyas Beg (also known as Itimad-ud-daulah), the father of Nur Jahan and the minister in the court of Shah Jahan. The tomb of Itimad-ud-daulah, built during 1622-1628, marks the transition of Mughal architecture passing from the first phase to the second. This is the first structure to make use of pietra dura (parchinkari or cutting and fitting colored and polished stones) and the first to be built on the banks of the River Yamuna. The structure complex consists of the main building along with numerous outbuildings and gardens. The architecture of the tomb is a treat to the eyes with walls of white marble from Rajasthan erected which are encrusted with semi-precious stone decorations. The pietra dura work with stones like cornelian, jasper, lapis lazuli, onyx, and topaz to name a few, are formed into images of cypress trees and wine bottles, or more elaborate decorations like cut fruit or vases containing bouquets. With the perfect blend of light and color playing throughout the construction, the tomb is a must visit for all.
Tomb of Akbar
Where: Tomb of Akbar, The Great Area, Sikandra, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282007
Another major tourist attraction in Agra is the final resting place of the great Mughal Emperor Akbar ? the Tomb of Akbar located in Sikandra. The tomb was built between 1605 and 1618 in white marble and red sandstone. The complex is beautifully adorned with Mughal garden designed by Akbar himself. The main structure of the tomb is built of sandstone with a portion of the same carved out in marble. The entire look and feel of the exterior, with the touch of gardens, adds a distinct cheerful, serene and fresh ambience. The uniqueness of the tomb is that unlike other tombs of famous Muslim kings around the world, the tomb of Akbar faces towards the rising sun and not towards the Masjid of Mecca. As per the Tartary traditions, which state that one must witness the construction procedure of one?s tomb, Akbar oversaw the construction himself till his death, though it was completed by his son Salim. The construction style is a mix of Hindu Rajputana design and gothic Mughal style with the typical signature style symmetry like other monuments built in this era.
Where: Jama Masjid Rd, Subash Bazar, Kinari Bazar, Hing ki Mandi, Mantola, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282003
Counted among the largest mosques built in the Mughal era in India, Jama Masjid is one of the largest mosques in India. Also known as ?Friday Mosque?, Jama Masjid is located right opposite to the Agra Fort overlooking the Agra Fort railway station. Jama Masjid was built under the reign of Shah Jahan in 1648, and is dedicated to his favorite daughter Jahan Ara Begum. The mosque is built mainly of red sandstone and white marble which speak for the ultimate style of the majestic Mughal architecture. Unique constructed, the Jama Masjid has a fountain at the centre and is supported by four kiosks in the courtyard. The interior of the mosque is exquisitely done in Persian style with inscriptions about Shah Jahan and Jahan Ara praising the father-daughter duo. The inlaid panels of work here are quite similar to that of Taj Mahal which happened to be common for all Mughal monuments in the city. Considered as an extremely holy and sacred place of worship for the Muslims, special prayers are conducted every Friday here at the Jama Masjid with thousands of devotees gathering for prayers.
Shri Mankameshwar Mandir
Where: Daresi Rd, Rawatpara, Sheb Bazar, Mantola, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282003
Shri Mankameshwar Mandir is an ancient temple located at Rawatpara near Jama Masjid in Agra. It is among the oldest temples in the city which is devoted to Lord Shiva as the main deity. The Lord is worshipped as Linga inside the temple, which is covered with silver. According to mythology, the Lingawas built by Lord Shiva himself when Lord Krishna was born in Mathura. It is believed that Shiva descended from Kailash to pay a visit to Krishna when he was a child and left with this Linga to let Krishna feel that Shiva is around forever. There is an idol of Lord Shiva in the temple sanctrumsactorum along with several other shrines within the temple complex dedicated to Saraswati, Gayatri and Ganga, Hanuman, Rama and Narsimha to name a few. There is an idol of Lord Krishna created in the temple in 2004. The pious month of Saawan (July-August), and Mondays are considered auspicious for the worship of Shiva and hence are the most crowded for rituals. However, there are strict dress codes for the temple which everyone has to abide by to enter the temple.
Soami Bagh Temple
Where: SoamiBagh, PoiyaGhat Road, Agra, Uttar Pradesh ? 282005
Soami Ji Maharaj?s Samadh, or better known as Soami Bagh Temple in Agra holds a legendary significance. The construction that began more than a century ago is still waiting to get finished. The temple had its construction started during the tenure of the 3rd Sat Guru Maharaj Saheb in 1905 and in under construction till date. Apart from being an architecturally impressive landmark and a popular pilgrimage site for devotees of all religions, the longest construction tenure of the temple makes it a legendary one. The temple is devoted to Radha Soami, a religious organization that believes in the harmony of all religions combining the teachings from all faiths. Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs are all observed to pray together in harmony in the temple. The complex houses a church, a gurudwara, a mosque and a temple all under the same roof. Each and every marble block of the Samadh has been funded and put by the devotees of Radha Soami. The luxurious design in 193 ft with intricate carvings of green, red and yellow stones on marble is a thing to behold, adding to the tranquility of the ambience of the temple complex.
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