Agra

I really dislike Agra. Sadly, I have been there many times, too many time I would think.

It is a dirty, vermin infested city, full of disease and pollution. I really have never understood why people would like to live there. Yet, stranger things have been known to mankind.
Despite Agra’s rather sad present, it had a glorious past. The city, from what I understand, was first created as some sort of settlement around 1,000 BC. It lies on the banks of the river Yamuna, in North India, and is about 200 km south of Delhi.
The city was first founded in 1504 by Sultan Sikandar Lodi in 1504. He was a ruler of the Lodi Empire, which fell to the Mughal Emperor Babar in 1526. Lodi lost his life at the Battle of Panipat, and according to the Babarnama, his skull was amongst the hundreds that were burned in a huge funeral pyre.
The city became the capital of the Mughal Empire under Akbar, and was named Akbarabad. Akbar was the first Mughal Emperor to be buried there, and it is his tomb that is the first destination that people stop by, when entering Agra by road from Delhi.
Akbar was a great king, and wanted to found a new religion, that was to be the amalgamation of all. The Fatehpur Sikri was built to commemorate this. Agra also has a fort – the Red Fort of Agra.
Jehangir, Akbar’s son, built the gardens. The parents of his wife, Noor Jehan, were buried in Agra, at the Etmad-ud-Daulah.
Shah Jehan built the Taj Mahal, which is the tomb for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. He shifted the capital to Shahjanabad, and then to Delhi. Aurangzeb, when he toppled his father, shifted the capital back to Akbarabad.
As per the stories that I read when I was growing up, Shah Jehan was interred in a tower across the river from the Taj Mahal, and spent the last 20 years of his life looking over at the Taj Mahal.
Finally, he was buried at the Taj Mahal, next to his wife.
After Aurangzeb fell, the city was taken over by the Jats and Marathas. In the 1700’s, it was renamed as Agra, the first of many cities to be renamed.
For a romantic, all you need to do, is to close your eyes, and try and imagine Agra in it’s heydays. For now, all you see is dirt, pollution, and disease.
What you have left, however, are the remnants of a brief but glorious past.
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