Agra has a rich historical background, which is amply evident from the numerous historical monuments in and around the city. The earliest reference for Agra comes from the epical age, when Mahabharata refer Agra as Agravana . In the sources prior to this, Agra has been referred as Arya Griha or the abode of the Aryans. The first person who referred Agra by its modern name was Ptolemy.
Though the heritage of Agra city is linked with the Mughal dynasty, numerous other rulers also contributed to the rich past of this city. Modern Agra was founded by Sikandar Lodhi (Lodhi dynasty; Delhi Sultanate) in the 16th century. Babar (founder of the Mughal dynasty)also stayed for sometime in Agra and introduced the concept of square Persian-styled gardens here.
Emperor Akbar built the Agra fort and Fatehpur Sikri near Agra. Fatehpur Sikri remained his capital for around fifteen years after which the city was left isolated in mysterious circumstances.Jahangir beautified Agra with palaces and gardens despite spending most of his time in Kashmir with which he was passionately attached.
Agra came to its own when Shahjahan ascended to the throne of Mughal Empire.
He marked the zenith of Mughal architecture, when he built the Taj in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. In his later years, Shahjahan shifted his capital to the new city of Shahjahanabad in Delhi and ruled from there. Shahjahan was dethroned in 1658 by his son, Aurangzeb who imprisoned him in the Agra Fort. Aurangzeb shifted the capital back to Agra till his death. After the death of Aurangzeb, Mughal Empire could not touch its peak and many regional kingdoms emerged. The post-Mughal era of Agra saw the rule of the Jats, Marathas and finally the British taking over the city.
Origin and Development
Agra is the city of the inimitable Taj Mahal. The story of Agra beigns much earlier then the Taj, However it finds mention in the epic Mahabharata when it was called Agrabana are Paradise. Ptolemy, the famous second century A.D. geographer, marked it on his map of the world as Agra. Tradition and legend ascribe the present city of Raja Badal Singh (around 1475 A.D.) whose Fort, Badalgarh, Stood on or near the site of the present Fort. However, the 12th century A.D. persian poet Salman, too, Speaks of a desperate assault on the forrtress of Agra, then held by one King Jaipal, by sultan Mahmud of Ghazni. It was Mughals who finally nurtured Agra with the finest monuments architects could design : The Taj Mahal of Shah Jhan, Agra Fort of Akbar, Itmad-Ud-Daulah and neighbouring Sikandra are but few of the many that spangle the city, each of which stands in mute testimony to the city's grandur over the ages.
Location, Boundaries and Weather
The Agra district is situated in western U.P. between 27.11' degree Latitude North and 78.0' degree to 78.2' degree Longitute East. Its Altitude is 169 meters above sea level. On the North it is bounded by Mathura District, On the South it is bounded by Dhaulpur District, On the East it is bounded by Firozabad District and On the West it is bounded by Bharatpur. Agra is situated on the bank of Yamuna river.
In Agra Maximum Temperature in Summer is 45°C and minimum temperature is about 21.9°C and in Winter maximum temperature is 131.7°C and minimum tempreature is about 4.2D°C. Best season for tourist is from October to March.
Area and Population
According to Census 1991, the are of Agra district is 4027.00 sqr. km., Where Rural area is 3838.60 sqr. km. and Urban area is 188.40 sqr. km.. Its Total Population is 27,51,021 out of which Males are 15,01,927 and Females are 12,49,094. Of the Total Population, 16,39,935 constitute the Rural Population and 11,11,086 are makes the Urban Population.
The Agra district is divided into Six Tehsils and 15 Blocks. Total number of Nayay Panchayats in the district are 114 while Gram Sabhas stands at 636. The total populated villages are 904. The total number of police stations in the district are 41 out of which 16 are in Urban area and 25 are in Rural area. The total number of Railway Stations (including Halts) are 29 and Bus Stands/Bus Stops are 144. Total number of Broad Guage lines is 196 K.M. and Meter Guage is 35 K.M..
Although tourism contributes to a large extent in the economy of Agra, the city has a substantial industrial base. A lot of manufacturing plants and industry related wholesale markets is prominent in Agra. Agra Industries are doing a fine job in various fields. Producers and dealers of Agra deal in different products and has a vast market to support them. The economy of Agra is also dependant on indrustrial production. But, the cities industrial base also produces automobiles, leather goods, handicrafts and stone carving.Agra has a good number of apparel and garment manufacturers and exporters. Some of the leading names in the industry are Kamlesh Exports, Jsn International, India Craft etc.Agra has also developed a thriving export business. Agra has developed an important market for the automobile industry. Anil Diesels, Benara Auto, Harvest Group of Industries and Malloys India are some of the major players of the automobile industry in Agra. The leather industry is among the most traditional and original industries of Agra. Today, Agra's economy is mainly dependant on tourism. This city is home to some of the most prestigious spas, resorts and hotels in all of India. In fact, one of the largest spas in all of Asia is the Kaya Kalp which is located in the Hotel Mughal. Primarily the Economy of the Agra district is agriculture based while the economy base of Agra city is Small Scale Industries, Commerce and Trade. Major crops
Agra, located on the Indo-Gangetic plain has a continental sub-tropical climate, with long, hot summers from April to September when temperatures can reach as high as 45°C (113°F). During summers dry winds (loo) blow in this region. The monsoon months from July to September see about 67 cm (27 inches) of rainfall annually.
Area: 120.57 sq. km
Altitude: 169 metres above sea level
Location: Uttar Pradesh, India
Languages: Hindi and Urdu
Kullu Manali Tourist Place
Kullu Manali :The Kullu valley has an ancient town in its lap called Manali. Surrounded by towering peaks at an arm length, Manali's major asset is its proximity to the snowline. It is a flourishing orchard industry, a popular honeymoon destination and trailhead for numerous treks as well as a great countryside ideal for adventure sport lovers.
Manali literally means the 'Home of Manu'. Manu is the mythological character who is supposed to have survived when the world was drowned in Flood. He then came to Manali and recreated human life. Thus, the area of Manali is sacred and Hindus treat the temples over here as pilgrimage.
The valley of gods, as the Kullu valley has come to be known, is perhaps the most delightful region in the western Himalayas. The ancient Hindus regarded it as the furthest limit of human habitation - Kulantapitha, and its original name finds mention in the epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata as well as Vishnu Purana.
Like a slender delicate-hued fern glistening in the morning dew, the valley spreads out its charm on either side of the upper reaches of the river Beas. Running north to south, the main river valley is only 80 km long and 2 km at its broadest, yet a fairly wide area is open to the visitors to enjoy the spectacle of variegated mountain scenery.
In the spring Kullu is at its most colorful with pink blossoms and white flowers while the higher slopes are aglow with gorgeous rhododendrons. With autumn, clear blue skies return and fields and forests alike show wonderful tints of crimson and ochre. By December, there is no greenery except the majestic pines and cedars in the forests. In winter the hillsides are flanked in white.
Situated on the banks of the Beas, Kullu, the headquarters of the district, serves as a nerve centre of the valley and is the starting place for a number of treks. The deodar-fringed grassy maidan, Dhalpur, is a stage for many colorful fairs.
Places to see in Manali
12 km. A quiet but picturesque spot. The Rest House overlooks the narrow valley and commands views of the mountains. Below Kothi, for more than a kilometer the river Beas flows through a deep gorge, almost a subterranean passage, 30 meters or more in depth, and the cliffs which flank both sides of the canyon are a favorite haunt for rock pigeons. The site of the bridge provides an interesting historical episode in the early annals of Kullu.
13 km. A splendid valley between Manali and Kothi which offers views of the glaciers and snow-capped mountain peaks. The plateau is frequently used for holding camps by the trekking parties. Good skiing slopes of the Mountaineering Institute. Venue of annual winter carnival from February 10-14. Bus service up to Palchan village (10 km) and then by jeep or on foot.
2 km from Kothi. Here the river Beas hurtles down from a height of about 50 meters. Charming spot for picnics.
A bridle path from the Manali log huts goes past the Dhoongri Temple and wanders into the dense deodar, kail, horse chestnut, walnut and maple forest which is a part of this sanctuary. Camping overnight in tents at Lambadug or Galiani Thatch is possible.
Lush green alpine pastures and glaciers lie beyond Galiani Thatch. Musk deer, monal and brown bear are often spotted. For those who venture still further into the glacier zone in summer, there are herds of ibex.
Hadimba Temple:Hadimba or Dhungiri temple in Manali is one of the most important temples in the region. This four-story wooden temple is located in the middle of a forest called the Dhungiri Van Vihar.
Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa:This Gompa dominates the Tibetan area around the bottom of the Mall in Manali. The Tibetan refugees built the Gompa in the late 1960's. The Gompa is covered with brightly colored frescoes and a mid size Buddhist statute. It also carries a list of the martyrs killed in occupation of Tibet of 1987 to 1989.
Old Manali:The old Manali area is located some 3-km from the present day Manali. The old Manali is covered with guesthouses, which look ancient now, and orchards where the livestock move at will.
Temple of Manu:Slippery stones paths lead through the old village houses up to the temple of Manu. Manali is named after the sage Manu who meditated when he came in this area.
Tibetan Temple:Tibetans have a base in Manali too. There is a large modern Tibetan temple to the South of the bus stand and also a small handicrafts center.
Arjun Gufa:On the left bank of the Beas, 5-km from Manali near the village of Prini, is the 'Arjun Gufa' or the cave of Arjuna. In here Arjuna practiced austerities to get Pashupata Ashtra or weapon from Lord Indra