History of Agra
This medieval city of Agra has a splendid historical background. This is evident by the number of
historical monuments in and around the city. The earliest reference for Agra comes from the
epical age, when Mahabharata refer Agra as Agravana. Prior to this, Agra has also been referred to
as Arya Griha or the abode of the Aryans. The first person who referred Agra by its modern
name was Ptolemy.
Though the legacy 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 revamped 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. Following
Aurangzeb’s death, 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.