It is generally accepted that Agra was an ancient city since the time of Mahabharata. And yet Sultan Sikander Lodi, the Muslim ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, founded Agra in 1504. After Sultan’s death, the city passed to his son Sultan Ibrahim Lodi. He ruled his Sultanate from Agra. He fell until he fought the Mughal Badshah (emperor) Babur in 1526 at the First Battle of Lanipat.
The golden age of the city began with the Mughals. It was known as Akbarabad. And the emperor (Emperor) remained the capital of the Mughal Empire under Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. Akbar made it the designated seat of one of his original twelve epithets (royal top-level provinces), frontier (Old) Delhi, Awadh (Oudh), Allahabad, Malwa and Ajmer Suhahas. Shah Jahan later shifted his capital to Shahjahanabad in 1649.
Since Akbarabad was one of the most important cities in India under the Mughals, it saw a lot of building activity. Babur, the founder of the Mughal dynasty, placed the first formal Persian garden on the banks of the Yamuna River. The garden is called Aram Bagh or Garden of Rest. His grandson Akbar the Great took up the huge banks of the Great Red Fort, besides making Agra a center for learning, art, commerce and religion. Akbar also built a new city on the outskirts of Akbarabad called Fatehpur Sikri. The city was built in stone as a Mughal military camp.
His son Jahangir had a love of flora and fauna and kept many gardens inside the Red Fort or Lal Qil. Shah Jahan, known for his keen interest in architecture, gave Akbarabad the most valuable monument, the Taj Mahal. Built in loving memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, the tomb was completed in 1653.
Shah Jahan later shifted the capital to Delhi during his reign, but his son Aurangzeb moved the capital back to Akbarabad, landed his father and imprisoned him in the fort. During Aurangzeb’s reign, Akbarbad remained the capital of India until he transferred it to Aurangabad in the Deccan in 1653.
After the fall of the Mughal Empire, the city came under the influence of the Marathas and was called Agra before falling to the British Raj in 1803.
When the Presidency of Agra was established by the British in 1835, the city became the seat of government, and only two years later it witnessed the Agra famine of 1837–38. During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, British rule was threatened all over India, news of the rebellion reached Agra on 11 May and on 30 May two companies of the original infantry, 44th and 67th Regiment, revolted and moved to Delhi. . The next morning in Agra, native Indian troops were forced to revolt on 15 June at Gwalior (which lies to the south of Agra). By 3 July, the British were forced to return to the fort. Two days later a small British force at Sucheta was defeated and forced to withdraw, ruining the city. However, the rebels moved to Delhi which allowed the British to restore order by 8 July. Delhi fell to the British in September, the following month the rebels who fled from Delhi marched on to Agra with rebels from central India but were defeated. This British rule was again secured in the city until India’s independence in 1947.
Agra is the birthplace of the religion called Din-i Ilahi, which flourished during the reign of Akbar and the Radhaswami faith, which has around two lakh followers worldwide. Agra has historical connections with Shorepur of Jainism and Ranuka of Hinduism in 1000 BCE.
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