City in Uttar Pradesh, northern India, on the River Jumna (or Yamuna), 160 km/100 mi southeast of Delhi; population (2001 est) 1,321,400. It is a centre for commerce, tourism and industry. There are many small-scale engineering plants and grain mills, and cotton textiles, carpets, leather goods, gold and silver embroidery, and engraved marble are produced. The capital of the Mogul empire from 1566–69 and 1601–58, it is the site of the Taj Mahal, built during the latter period. Other notable buildings include the Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque), the Jama Masjid (Great Mosque), and the Red Fort, with red sandstone walls over 20 m/65 ft high and 2.5 km/1.5 mi long. The tomb of the emperor Akbar lies to the northwest at Sikandra. The city is home to Agra University (1927) and six affiliated colleges.
In ancient times Agra was a fortified city. It was one of many Rajput strongholds sacked in the early 11th century during the raids of the sultan Mahmud of Ghazni (971–1031), and was again prominent in the reign of Nizam Shah Sikandar Lodi, Sultan of Delhi (1489–1517). Babur, the first great Mogul ruler, made Agra his home in 1527. The present city was founded in 1566 as the capital of the Mogul empire, and covered an area of 28 sq km/10.8 sq mi. Akbar, grandson of Babur, built the Gate of Chitor in 1568 and rebuilt the Red Fort of Salim Shah in 1566. The walls around the fort were 2 km/1.5 mi long. In the 17th century the buildings of the emperor Shah Jahan made Agra one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The Taj Mahal, erected as a tomb for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, was completed in 1650. Agra's political importance dwindled from 1658, when Aurangzeb moved the capital back to Delhi. It was taken from the Marathas for the East India Company by Lord Lake in 1803.
The city has been the site of three major battles:
1713 Jahandar Shah, with 70,000 troops, fought against a rebel force commanded by his nephew Faroukhsiyar. After a bitter struggle the rebels won, and Jahandar Shah was captured and executed by his nephew, who succeeded to the throne.
4 October 1803 a British force under General Lake besieged the town, which fell into their hands on 18 October.
2 August 1857 the British garrison holding the city went out to meet a force of about 10,000 rebels stirred into action by the Indian Mutiny. Native troops in the British force deserted to the rebels and the British troops were forced to retire into the city and take refuge in the fort. They were then besieged until October, when a relief column was able to break through the rebel lines.
Places to see in Agra
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