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Agra
Agra is famous as being home to one of the seven wonders of the world-the Taj Mahal. The architectural splendor of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid remainder of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid reminder of the capital in the 16th and early 17th centuries.
Taj Mahal - Agra
A pleasant town with comparatively slow pace, Agra is known for its superb inlay work on marble and soastone by craftsman who are descendant of those who worked under the Mughals. The city is also famous for its carpets, gold thread embroidery and leather shoes.

Agra was once the capital of the Mughal empire and even today it seems to linger in the past . Not surprising , for the Mughal emperors with their passion for building, endowed the city with some of the finest structures in the world . It is very easy to slip away here through the centuries into the grandeur and intrigues of the Mughal court .

Agra is an old city and it is said that its name was derived from Agrabana, a forest that finds mention in the epic Mahabharata.

Agra continued to retain its importance and Shah Jahan, Akbar's grandson ornamented the city with that masterpiece of Mughal architecture - the Taj Mahal and built several other beautiful buildings within the Agra fort .

PLACES TO SEE :

Taj Mahal
Agra is famous as being home to one of the seven wonders of the world- the Taj Mahal The architectural splendor of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid remainder of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid reminder of the capital in the 16th and early 17th centuries.Agra Fort

Agra Fort
Built by the great Emperor Akbar in 1565 A.D. the fort Is a masterpiece of design and construction. Within the fort are a number of exquisite buildings, including the Moti Masjid, Diwane-E-Am, Diwani-E-Khaas and Musanman Burj, where the Emperor Shah Jahan died in imprisonment beside Jahangir's place, Khaas Mahal and the Sheesh Mahal.

Itmad - Ud - Daula
To the north of the fort and across the river yamuna are several fine examples of mughal architecture. The itmad -ud -daula was build by the empress Noor Jehan as a memorial to her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg, is beautifully ornamented with pietra dura inlay and lattice work marble screens.

Chini Ka Rauza
The tomb of Afzal khan, the persian poet and minister at Shah Jahan's court gets its name from the brightly coloured glazed tiles that decorate it, lies just 1km beyond itmad-ud-daula.

Sikandra Fort
12km the tomb of Akbar, begun by the emperor himself and completed by his son, Jehangir. This richly decorated structure is a quaint mixture of styles.

Radhaswamy Satsang, Dayalbagh
This highly ornate memorial to the founder of the Radhaswamy satsang has been in the making for several years and is still being worked upon. It is entirely in marble, upon which every manner of ornamentation has been applied.


Mathura
Mathura
Mathura the birthplace of lord Krishna is an important place of pilgrimage and thousands of devotees throng the city throughout the year.

It lies at the heart that the young Krishna was nurtured. The little towns and hamlets in this area still alive with the tales of his mischievous pranks, his extraordinary exploits and still seem to echo with the sound of his flute. An ancient habitation, mathura's strategic location ensured its position as a center of trade and a meeting point of cultures, a major city during the time of the Buddha ( 5th century BC) it became the eastern capital of the Kushan emperor Kanishka,. Mathura continued to be a center of power during the enlightened rule of emperor Ashoka (3rd centre BC) and up to the Gupta era (4th century AD) .

The arts flourished and at the Mathura museum one can trace the evolution of the Mathura school from the time of the Kushan emperors To the Gupta period.

Today, Mathura with its many temples and splendid ghats along the river yamuna is a Bustling pilgrimage town. Lying midway in between Delhi and Agra , Mathura is easy to visit.

PLACES TO SEE :

Shri Krishna Janmasthan:
The splendid temple Katra Keshav Dev is built over the little prison cell believed to be the birthplace of lord Krishna.

Gita Mandir:
A beautiful temple located on the Mathura - Vrindavan road, has a fine image of lord Krishna. The Bhagwadgita is inscribed on the walls.

Dwarakadhish Temple:
Mathura's most popular shrine was built in 1815 by Seth Gokuldas Parikh, treasurer or the state of Gwalior.

Vishram Ghat:
A long line of picturesque ghats, steps leading to the water's edge , punctuated by arched gateways and temple spires, extend along the right bank of the river Yamuna. There are about 25 ghats of which the Vishram Ghat is the most important.

It is here that lord Krishna is supposed to have rested after killing his wicked uncle Kansa, the ruler of Mathura The aarti at this ghat is a splendid sight, for hundreds of little oil lamps float out on the river at dusk as offering.

Kans Qila:

This ruined fort on the banks of the river Yamuna was built by Raja Mansingh of Jaipur. An observatory was built here at a later sate by that keen astronomer Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh of Amer.

Sati Burj:
The 17 m tall, 4 stored, red sandstone tower built in 1570 AD, commemorates the death of the widow of Raja Biharimal of Amer who committed sati.

The Government Museum:
Housed in a fine octagonal building at damper park, the museum is a repository of sculpture styles, terracotta and artifacts from the Kushan and Gupta periods. Among its most impressive exhibits are the headless figure of emperor kanishka dressed in central Asian robes and boots and various Buddha images.



Vrindavan

Closely linked to Lord Krishna's youth and to stories of his playful pranks, Vrindavan is as important a place of pilgrimage as mathura.

Today it is a temple town with ghats along the river and numerous shrines.

VrindavanPLACES TO SEE :

The imposing Govind Deo Temple built at an enormous cost of one crore rupees by Raja man singh of jaipur in 1590 AD. Constructed in red sandstone in the shape of a greek cross, it was once a magnificent seven storied structure.

The Rangaji Temple built in the dravidian style, the Madan Mohan Temple - the oldest in Vrindavan, the popular Banke Bihari Temple, the famous Radha Vallabh Temple and the ornate Shahji Temple built in 1876 by a wealthy jeweller Shah Kundan Lal of Lucknow, are some of its more interesting shrines.

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) has also built an ornamental marble temple at Vrindavan.

Adjoining the temple is the Samadhi of Shri Prabhupada, the founder of this.



Deeg
Deeg
Deeg is a small town situated in the north Indian state of Rajasthan, around 152 km away from Delhi. Once the summer resort of the rulers of Bharatpur, it served as the second capital of the region. This interesting town is strewn with massive fortifications, beautiful gardens, magnificent palaces, and a colorful bazaar.

PLACES TO SEE :

Deeg is in the district of Bharatpur. Approaching the town, one can see the battlements of the fort built by Surajmal. This was constructed in the form of a square, measuring about 274 m. The walls are about 20 m high and rise impressively, although the outer coating of plaster has peeled off in many places and shrubs grow from the bottom of the ramparts.

The entrance to the fort is from the north. An outer gateway leads to an L-shaped bridge. Inside the fort is a palace (haveli). This is now in ruins, but one can still see what was once its entrance, an ornate red sandstone construction with a pointed arch. The forecourt was added later and for many years served as a prison. One can see a couple of canons on nearby mounts and, at the top of the northwestern battlement, known as Larkha Burj, another canon lies on its side discarded.

It is from the top of the western wall of the fort that one may view the palace below, built beyond a pond-the Rup Sagar-and alongside the former Purana Mahal. The entrance is to the north. Known as the Singh Pol, it is ornately but simply carved with a couple of lions above the gateway. This building apparently dates from a later period, but was never finished.

Once through it, one is at the edge of the gardens that are built in the char-bagh style, essentially four separate gardens around the same center. The style of both the gardens and buildings are from the Mughal period and yet with a distinctive flavor-a result of the Jats' own aesthetic vision that flourished at a time when the Mughal architecture started to deteriorate. The most striking feature is the fountains numbering about 500. One can see the bases of these sticking up all around the palace, but unless one visits on a Saturday in August, one is unlikely to see the water display operational for it requires a great amount of water. This builds up during the monsoon and is collected in a huge tank at the top of one building that can be seen almost directly opposite the entrance.

It is from the tank that, when the sluices are open, the water flows down and out of the many fountainheads below. These can be seen all around the garden area. A full tank takes only a few hours to empty and about a week to fill. This was achieved by means of bullocks that brought up the water in leather buckets through special chutes at the side of the tower.

The main building in the complex is the Gopal Bhawan, which was the actual residence of the Raja. Here one can see a spacious hall where the Raja was able to greet and address guests while upstairs were the Royal apartments. These can still be seen as they were when used; in one room, there is a raised elliptical dining table, while at the back there is a dining room in the western style.

 

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