In the times of Mughals, Agra was one of largest Subas
out of the 12 provinces of their empire and encompassed Gwalior, Kalpi,
Kannauj, Koil (Modern Aligarh), Narnaul and Alwar. Abul Fazl, the court
historian of Akbar, describes Agra as a large city with a healthy
climate, situated in the bank of River Yamuna. He has also mentioned the
villas, gardens and red sandstone fort built by Akbar. Badaoni and
Nizamuddin, the other two contemporary historians also describe the
grandeur and splendor of the Mughal Agra. A church, an orphanage, a
Christian cemetery and a college were built by a Jesuit father at Agra.
In 1585, Ralph Fitch noted that Agra had much more population and larger
dimensions than London, while Jehangir boasted in his memoirs that the
number of the buildings here were equal to several cities of Iraq,
Khurasan and Mawar-un-Nahr put together. Agra attracted English and
Dutch, who established their factories here. The capital of Moghul India
for nearly a century, it sports beautiful palaces and splendid royal
mausoleums and tombs. Today, the city is more famous for Taj, the
white-marble tribute of Shah Jahan to his beloved queen Mumtaz mahal.
The other places worth visiting here speaking volumes about the splendor
of thise days are Itmad-ud-Daulah's tomb enshrining graves of Nur
Jehan's parents and Moti Masjid. However, if we take the monuments away,
the city has lost it all.