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Agra City Architecture

Introduction
Agra tourism Let check Agra city architecture. It is a historical city, located on left bank of Yamuna river in North India. With the increase in population, we can find new Agra in right bank river also. Still, during Mughal period, Agra city was mainly located on left bank which is now a days called old Agra city. It is one of the most visited tourist cities in India. City history is synonymous to Mughal history in India. Apart from Lahore and Delhi, it was one of the Mughal empire's capital city. In compare to Lahore and Delhi, for major duration, Mughal's held Agra as capital city. Thus it is famous for Mughal Architecture, especially for Taj Mahal, which is India's pride and counted in "Seven Wonders of the World". All the three UNESCO world heritage sites of Uttar Pradesh can be visited here. After collapse of Mughal empire, Agra reverted to provincial status until the 19th century. During colonial period, it was an important colonial administrative center. The history of Agra can be traced back to the period of Mahabharata when it was called Agravana. It is also believed that Aryans set a base in Agra for some years. Most of the city's famous sites showcase the beautiful Islamic architecture built by the Mughals, who ruled it for the longest duration. One is transported back to the era of Mughals in the time machine while exploring the city.

City Architecture
The city is full of architectural masterpieces that define Agra's history and culture and show us a picture of the bygone era. So, we can divide Agra city architecture within two parts 1- is Mughal Architecture before 1803 and 2- is Colonial Architecture after 1803. If we look at the Agra city map we will find the major Agra monuments are located on left bank of Yamuna in Centre and South-East of Agra city. This region was called old Agra city. Similarly Colonial Agra lies in South of Agra city where we can find Agra Cantonment area, Sadar Bazar etc. With the expansion of city, now it is becoming city Central area. Due to location of Taj Mahal and Agra fort, major hotels cluster lies in Central and South-East of Agra city. If we visit the Central and South Eastern part of Agra city, we will find the historical part of city. It is comparatively more congested part of city with narrow lanes, old-fashioned houses, lack of cleanliness but despite of all this, if we really want to understand Agra city and its architectural history, then we should must visit this part of Agra. Here is the roots of the city. By visiting old Agra city, we can imagine life of historical Agra. While visiting Agra, one can start traveling from Central Agra to Southern-West Agra and then proceed to Eastern Agra. Visiting in this way will makes us notice the journey of Agra from Mughal era to Colonial era and finally to post independence Agra. Its a journey through eras.

Mughal Architecture
In this category we can keep mostly monuments of Agra city. As Mughals have ruled for long time from Agra, over India, here we have find wide-spread examples of Mughal architecture. The major architectural creations of Agra are the Agra fort and the Taj Mahal on the bank of river Yamuna. The Mughal Garden architecture is also an important structural design of Agra. Along with Sikandra and Fatehpur-Sikri, Agra was the region where the epitome of Islamic architecture blossomed.

Agra Fort
The most important fort built during the Mughal era is the Agra Fort constructed by Akbar. There is a mosque inside the fort which is known as the Moti Masjid. It is built of marble and is the crown of Mughal Architecture.

Fatehpur Sikri
Built with red sandstone, Fatehpur Sikri shows us a picture of the planning and administration of Mughal period. It is known as one of the best-planned cities with its mesmerizing architecture with perfect spatial placement and was storage to Mughal arsenal, treasure hoards and other reserves.

Itimad-Ud-Daulah
The Itimad-ud-Daula tomb has a geometric shape and is placed in a square garden. The central hall where the grave is located is divided into nine parts and there are steps in the corner leading to the four minarets. Stone decorations start from the spindle on the roof of the central hall and are symmetrically placed throughout the building. The white marble mausoleum is decorated with colored stones.

Humayun Tomb
Although it is not located in Agra city but while talking about Mughal architecture, we should talk about this UNESCO World Heritage site of Delhi. The Mughal construction of tombs starting with Tomb of Humanyun, reached its zenith with the architectural pattern of Taj Mahal. Its uniqueness is that it is placed at one end of a square garden.

Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Yamuna River flows in the background and the square garden is in front of this white marble monument. The perfection of its proportions and a high standard of craftsmanship, have made people look upon this building with awe. The architecture of the Ram Bagh garden of Agra is of geometrical Islamic style. The Jami Masjid Friday mosque built by Shah Jahan has low domes and not very tall minarets.

Sikandara
Sikandara tomb is the resting place of Akbar, the great Mughal emperor. It is located just 13 kms away from Agra fort and its construction was completed by his son Jahangir. This structure combines the architectural themes of Hindu, Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, and Jain faiths.

Colonial Agra Architecture
Colonial architecture belong the Britishers. These buildings were constructed at the British Raj. We can see the British influence in the architecture of them. The cantonments where established in India at the time of British India rule for Army settlements. The Cantonment Board Agra was established in the year 1805. It spreads over an area of 1156.474 hectares which includes civil area of 952.55 acres. Agra Cantonment is a wonderful example of the Indo Saracenic Architecture and has one of the exotic collections of Bungalows and other Colonial buildings among the cantonments of India. During British India period, it was important military center thus Agra Cantonment was developed with proper planning. Here we can find wide-roads, colonial period Bungalows with provision of open gardens, parking space, open area in all four sides of Bungalows, plantation on both road-sides. All the entry and exit points are well guarded and kept limited in numbers. Such cantonment areas were established in various cities of India like Kanpur, Lucknow, Jabalpur, Delhi etc. While visiting them, we will find many similarities in their architectural pattern. Best part of these Cantonment areas are peace, cleanliness, good wide roads and free from any encroachments. Here every inch is well defined.

Agra Cantonment Bungalows
Agra cantonment, you will see plenty of private bungalows built in the early 19th century, all with the low domes, the large semi-circular arches and the porches common to the era like all other aspects, colonization of Indian also had an impact on architecture style. British era Bungalows are spread over large area in which house is located centralized way with open space in all four sides, used for garden and vehicle parking. They are very well ventilated and have good provision of natural light. If we enter inside, we will find that roof-height is comparatively more to keep room cool. They have provision private sit-outs, attached to rooms to enjoy natural light and greenery.

Telegraph Office
The first telegraph line in India was laid from Calcutta to Agra. The work connecting Agra and Calcutta telegraphically was started in Nov 1853, and the work was completed in March 1854.

St. George's Cathedral
The St George's Cathedral is located in the Cantonment. Designed by Colonel J. T. Boileau, the Garrison Engineer of the cantonment in 1826, it is a beautiful building of yellow ochre stucco with white dressings. The church is conventional and restrained, the entrance being approached through a small vestibule with inches.

Post Office
In 1905 the art deco building of the Post Office was constructed in the cantonment. It's a well-kept structure, painted a crisp white, with a deep red trim that echoes the official colors' of India Post.

St. Marry's Church
Near the Post Office is another building worth a look, if only for the history. This, just behind the Post Office, is St Mary's Church, a Catholic church commissioned by the John family. The Johns were descended from a Greek diamond merchant named Joan ides; the Johns themselves went on to become important industrialists in Agra, owning what came to be known as the John Mills along the bank of the Yamuna.

Havelock Memorial Church
Havelock Memorial Church, built in honor of one of the British generals of the Indian Mutiny of 1857, is situated in the army cantonment area at Agra; The Havelock Chapel has been erected by voluntary subscriptions, and bears the name of Sir Henry Havelock, who built the first Baptist chapel in Agra in 1832. This memorial chapel was built in 1873 by the exertions of the Baptist missionary at present stationed in Agra, the Rev. Gelson Gregson.

Sadar Bazar
Sadar Bazar was the Market place for the people living in the cantonment areas developed by the British; Sadar Bazaar is one of the most popular shopping destinations for the locals. Sadar Bazaar is located to the west of Khari Baoli. Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, St. John's College, St. Paul's Church, Church Road, Queen Victoria Inter College, Roman Catholic Cemetery (The Red Taj Mahal), Akbar's Church and Strachey Bridge Rail-Road bridges-1860 are some other Indo Saracenic Architecture.

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