Places of Interest
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Agra is the city of the magnificent Taj Mahal. The story of Agra begins much earlier than the Taj. However, it finds mention in the epic Mahabharata when it was called Agrabana or Paradise. Ptolemy, the famous 2nd century AD geographer marked it on his map of the world as Agra.

It was the Mughals who finally nurtured Agra with the finest monuments architects could design : the Taj Mahal of Shah Jahan, Red Fort of Akbar, Itmad-ud-Daulah and neighboring Sikandra are but few of the many that spangle the city, each of which stands in mute testimony to the city's grandeur over the ages.

Agra, an educational and business centre too, is known for its craftsmen and handicrafts. Marble and soft stone inlay work, zari work, carpet and leather goods are some important traditional crafts of the city.

TAJ MAHAL

Taj MahalTaj Mahal is not just beautiful art and fine architecture, but a memorial to love and faith. It is a sublime experience of the greatest love story ever told. The Taj has been a visual delight for viewers over the ages. The serene beauty and pristine purity of this famed splendor leaves abiding impression on the beholder's mind. The Taj is a joy forever and for any imaginative visitor a rare experience.

For the foreign travelers, Taj symbolizes India. Designed like a palace and finished like a jewel. Pure, gloriously perfect and superbly lovely. Set amidst landscaped gardens and backed by a turquoise sky.

Like a jewel, the Taj sparkles in moonlight when the semi-precious stones inlaid into the white marble on the main mausoleum catch the glow of the moon. Becomes soft pinkish during the dawn and as the day fades away it reflects the fiery tints of the setting sun. These changes, they say, depict the different moods of a woman.

The Taj Mahal is indeed a flawless gem, a timeless wonder, the last and the greatest architectural flowering of the Mughal period in Agra.

Open : Saturday to Thursday. (Friday Closed)


AGRA FORT

Agra, Red Fort AgraWithin a radius of 3 km, on the banks of river Yamuna rises the crescent-like Agra Fort. Designed and built by Akbar in 1565 A.D., the fort is surrounded by a 70 foot high wall. It houses the beautiful Pearl Mosque and numerous palaces including the Jahangiri Mahal, Diwan-i-Khas, Diwan-i-Am, Machihi Bhawan and Moti Masjid.

SIKANDRA

Sikandra12 km. Begun by Emperor Akbar and completed by his son Jahangir in 1613 AD, Akbar's tomb in Sikandra is a fusion of Hindi and Muslim art and architecture which, like the Emperor himself, characterized the era. Open : Sunrise to sunset.



FATEHPUR SIKRI

FatehpursikriThirty-km southwest of Agra lies a deserted sandstone city, Fatehpur Sikri, the royal capital of Akbar the Great. Fathepur Sikri is a concrete expression of the towering personality, the ambition and the exquisite taste of the great king.

The walled city contains the mausoleum of the Sufi fakir, Saleem Chisti who is said to have granted Akbar and his Hindu queen Jodhabai their wish for a son. The main entrance to Fatehpur Sikri is through the 175 feet Buland Darwaza, the highest gateway in the world. It was built by Akbar.


BHARATPUR BIRD SANCTUARY

The above Sanctuary is approximately 60kms from Agra by road. The enterance fee is Rs. 200/- per person car charges are Rs. 50/- for each car. The Timings are 6am to 6pm.


MATHURA VIRINDAVAN

The two cities are approximately 55-65 kms from Agra city. They are open from Sunrise to Sunset.


THE AGRA BEAR RESCUE SANCTUARY

RANI, Dancing Bear

I'm RANI....I Was a Dancing Bear painfully performing tricks to entertain tourists. Today I live in the Agra bear rescue Facility near the Taj Mahal in India.

My mother was killed by poachers when I was less than four weeks old and they sold me to the nomadic Kalandar Gypsies . My delicate muzzle was pierced with a red hot iron rod and a coarse rope was passed through it . My canines were broken off with a chisel and my claws were chopped . The tugging of the rope on my painful muzzle still raw from the wound made me jump up and down and it looked like I was dancing?

Just When I though I would live my entire life suffering at the end of this four foot long rope, often hungry and tired, some people from wildlife S.O.S came to the kalandar Gypsy settlement where I lived .They convinced my owner to surrender me to them .In an alternative livelihood to support his family . On Christmas eve 2002, I was taken in truck to the beautiful forested wildlife S.O.S Rescue centre where I can climb trees , play with other bears and splash about in ponds.

The scars on my muzzle are a reminder of the painful past . There are many Dancing Bears like me still suffering on the streets of India and we have to get them off the streets into a heaven such as this.