Taj Mahal - The Taj Mahal is an enormous mausoleum complex commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the remains of his beloved wife. Constructed over a 20-year period on the southern bank of the Yamuna River in Agra, India, the famed complex is one of the most outstanding examples of Mughal architecture, which combined Indian, Persian and Islamic influences. At its center is the Taj Mahal itself, built of shimmering white marble that seems to change color depending on the daylight. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983, it remains one of the world’s most celebrated structures and a stunning symbol of India’s rich history.
Agra Fort - Among the major attractions in the fort is Jah?ng?r’s Palace (Jah?ng?ri Mahal), built by Akbar as a private palace for his son Jah?ngir. It is the largest residence in the complex. The Pearl Mosque (Moti Masjid), constructed by Shah Jah?n, is a tranquil and perfectly proportioned structure made entirely of white marble. The Hall of Private Audience (Diwan-i-Khas) was used for receiving distinguished visitors. The famous Peacock Throne was once kept there, before Aurangzeb took it to Delhi. Near the Hall of Private Audience stands the tall Octagonal Tower (Musamman Burj), the residence of Shah Jah?n’s favourite empress, Mumtaz Mahal. In the Hall of Public Audience (Diwan-i-?Am), the emperor would listen to public petitions and meet state officials. The elegant marble walls of the Khas Mahal (the emperor’s private palace) were once adorned with flowers depicted by precious gems. Located to its northeast is the splendid Palace of Mirrors (Sheesh Mahal), its walls and ceilings inlaid with thousands of small mirrors. The structure’s two dazzling chambers were probably used as baths and possibly as a boudoir by the queens.
In addition to its other functions, the fort also served as a prison for Shah Jah?n. Aurangzeb, his son and successor as emperor, had him confined there from 1658 until his death in 1666.
Baby Taj - The Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daula’s is in the city of Agra a short distance from the Taj Mahal. It is more commonly known as the ‘Baby Taj’. The Tomb was built between 1622 and 1628 as the mausoleum of Mirza Ghiyas Beg, the chief treasurer under the Mughal Emperor Jahangir, who gave him the title of 'I'timad-ud-Daulah', which means 'Pillar of the State'. The mausoleum was commissioned for Mirza Ghiyas Beg by his daughter Begum Nur Jahan, the wife of Emperor Jahangir. Mirza Ghiyas Beg son Abdul Hasan Asaf Khan was the father of Arjumand Banu Begum, better known as Mumtaz Mahal, the wife of the Emperor Shah Jahan and for whom the Taj Mahal was built. Although Begum Nur Jahan was the twentieth wife of Emperor Jahangir, she was his favourite and the true ‘power behind the throne,’ and due to Jehangir’s addictions to alcohol and opium it was she who ruled India.