A 5 minutes drive from Hotel The Rigel, the world famous Taj Mahal. "crown of palaces" is a white marble mausoleum located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is widely recognized as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage".
The designer of Taj Mahal was Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. The material was brought in from all over India and central Asia and it took a fleet of 1000 elephants to transport it to the site. The central dome is 187 feet high at the centre. Red sandstone was brought from Fatehpur Sikri, Jasper from Punjab, Jade and Crystal from China, Turquoise from Tibet, Lapis Lazuli and Sapphire from Sri Lanka, Coal and Cornelian from Arabia and diamonds from Panna. In all 28 kind of rare, semi precious and precious stones were used for inlay work in the Taj Mahal. The chief building material, the white marble was brought from the quarries of Makrana, in distt. Nagaur, Rajasthan.
Another famous monument, Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. It is about 2.5 km northwest of its more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. The fort can be more accurately described as a walled city.
This was originally a brick fort and the Chauhan Rajputs held it. It was mentioned for the first time in 1080 AD when a Ghaznavide force captured it. Sikandar Lodi (1487-1517) was the first Sultan of Delhi who shifted to Agra and lived in the fort. He governed the country from here and Agra assumed the importance of the 2nd capital. He died in the fort in 1517 and his son, Ibrahim Lodi, held it for nine years until he was defeated and killed at Panipat in 1526. Several palaces, wells and a mosque were built by him in the fort during his period.
The city was founded in 1569 by the Mughal emperor Akbar, and served as the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1571 to 1585. It is a city and a municipal board in Agra district in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India.
If you want to know about Fatehpur Sikri, the history if this place is quite interesting. It is told that Akbar initially had a son and twins. But the twins did not survive and died. After that, Akbar was in search of another heir and came to visit the Sufi saint Salim Chishti who lived in a cavern near the Sikri area. The saint foretold that Akbar would soon have a son and it happened as predicted. To celebrate the birth of his son, Akbar named his son Salim after the saint. This Prince Salim was to grow up to become the renowned emperor Jehangir. When Prince Salim was two years old, Akbar went back to Sikri and started to build an architectural wonder of a historic town known as Fatehabad. This town was later to be known as Fatehpur Sikri.
The Mehtab Bagh garden was the last of eleven Mughal-built gardens along the Yamuna opposite the Taj and the Agra Fort, the first being Ram Bagh. The garden is a hotspot because of its exquisite location parallel to the ever majestic Taj Mahal. The garden is also called as the Moonlight garden as it gives a splendid view of the Taj in the moonlit nights. The Garden is not only known for its location but is also loved for being an exhibition of the Mughal Empire's grandeur. From the fragrance of the varied species of flowers to the cool breeze flowing over the adjacent river make the visitors go crazy.Itimad-ud-Daula's Tomb
It has a special place in the chronicles of both history as well as architecture. This is precisely because Itmad ud Daula is the very first tomb in India that is entirely made out of Marble. This is actually a mausoleum that overlooks the River Yamuna and is a tomb of Mir Ghiyas Beg, a minister in the court of Shah Jahan. The walls are white marble from Rajasthan encrusted with semi-precious stone decorations – cornelian, jasper, lapis lazuli, onyx, and topaz formed into 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.Jami Masjid
Jama Masjid in Agra is opposite the Agra fort and overlooking the Agra Fort Railway Station. The Jama Masjid is also popularly known as the Jami Masjid or "Friday Mosque". It is one of the larger mosques in India. The Jama 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 cloisters have engrailed arches supported on pillars. The main entrance is through the eastern side. The prayer chamber has a façade with a broad arched iwan in its centre and is adorned with slender turrets alternated with kiosks. Its dome is the largest and highest of the three domes crowning the sanctuary.Kos Minar
The Kos Minars or Mile Pillars are medieval milestones that were made by the 16th-century Afghan Ruler Sher Shah Suri and later on by Mughal emperors. These Minars were erected by the Mughal Emperors on the main highways across the empire to mark the distance. The Kos Minar is a solid round pillar,around 30 feet in height that stands on a masonry platform built with bricks and plastered over with lime. Though not architecturally very impressive, being milestones, they were an important part of communication and travel in a large empire. The Kos Minars proved critical in the governance, as there was a horse, a rider, and a drummer posted at every Kos Minar and royal messages were relayed back and forth with great speed. Some historians believe that the Kos Minars were principally made to facilitate transportation and not communications.