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Agra - India
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Agra is a city on the banks of the Yamuna River in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India. It finds mention in the epic Mahabharata when it was called Agrabana, or Paradise. Ptolemy, the famous 2nd century geographer, marked it on his map of the world as Agra. Tradition and legend ascribe the present city of Raja Badal Singh (around 1475) whose Fort, Badalgarh, Stood on or near the site of the present Fort. However, the 12th century Persian poet Salman writes of a desperate assault on the fortress of Agra, then held by one King Jaipal, by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni.[1] It was ruled by Sultan Sikandar Lodi in the year 1506. It achieved fame as the capital of the Mughal emperors from 1526 to 1658 and remains a major tourist destination because of its many splendid Mughal-era buildings, most notably the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, all three of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The golden age of the city began with the Mughals. It was known then as Akbarabad and remained the capital of the Mughal Empire under Emperor Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. Shah Jahan later shifted his capital to Shahjahanabad in the year 1649. Akbarabad remained capital of India during the rule of Aurangzeb until he shifted it to Aurangabad in the Deccan in 1653. After the decline of the Mughal Empire, the city came under the influence of Marathas and Jats and was called Agra, before falling into the hands of the British Raj in 1803. Agra has birth place of religion like Din-i-Ilahi, which flourished during the rein of Akbar. Agra, located on the Indo-Gangetic plain has a sub-tropical climate, with long, hot summers from April to September. The monsoon months from July to September see about 67 cm of rainfall annually. Winters last from November to February, with day time temperatures averaging about 24 degrees, while night temperatures around 6 degrees. Tourism contributes to a large extent in the economy of Agra. Agra has some of the finest Hotels & Spa's in India. Agra is home to Asia’s largest spa called Kaya Kalp — The Royal Spa, at Hotel Mughal in Agra. Agra has a good number of apparel and garment manufacturers and exporters. Agra city is famous for the Leather Goods, Handicrafts, Zari Zardozi, Marvel and Stone carving & inlay work. Agra is also welknown for its sweets (Petha & Gajak) and Snacks (Dalmoth).

Agra is 200 km southeast from New Delhi and is one of the points of the tourist's Golden Triangle of Agra-Delhi-Jaipur. Agra is also very well connected via rail and road with other nearby cities and tourist destinations. By place, Kingfisher Airlines have started a flight which connects Agra to Delhi, Jaipur and Jodhpur. Agra is on the main train line between Delhi and Mumbai and between Delhi and Chennai and many trains connect Agra with these cities every day. There are four stations in Agra - Agra Cantt, Agra Fort station, Raja Ki Mandi and Agra City. Close to 20 trains connect Delhi and Agra each day with journey times varying from 2 hours to 5 hours. The journey to Jaipur takes around 4 hour by train# 2988. The luxury train - 'Palace on Wheels' stops at Agra on its eight day round trip of tourist destinations in Rajasthan and Agra. There are three interstate bus stands- Idgah Bus Stand, Bijlighar Bus Stand and New Bus Stand. Auto-rickshaws and cycle-rickshaws are available every where. Agree fares clearly in advance. The best way to experince the city is to take a walk on the Mall Road (Sadar). The street is full of handicraft and leather goods shops. You will also find plenty of food items quite unique to the city. When planning your sightseeing, take heed of the convoluted entry fee system: for Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Itmud-ad-Daulah, Sikandra and Fatehpur Sikri, you must pay a Rs. 500 levy to the Agra Development Authority in addition to the prices mentioned below. Once paid, the levy is valid for all sights, but only for one day. Places of Interest are Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, Itmad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb, Sikandra (Akbar's tomb), Swami Bagh Samadhi, MankaMeswar Temple, Gurdwara Guru Ka Tal, Jama Masjid, Chini Ka Rauza, Ram Bagh, Mariam's Tomb, Mehtab Bagh and Keetham Lake. Websites:
http://agra.nic.in/
http://wikitravel.org/en/Agra
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