Set against the backdrop of Yamuna River, this tribute of love was built by the third Mughal emperor of India, Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died during childbirth. Although it is not known for sure who planned the Taj Mahal, the name of an Indian architect of Persian descent, Ustad Ahmad Lahori, has been cited in many sources. As soon as construction began in 1630, masons, craftsmen, sculptors, and calligraphers were summoned from Persia, the Ottoman Empire, and Europe to work on the masterpiece.
It took 12 years of hard labour and 20,000 labourers to build the mausoleum. The architectural complex is comprised of five main elements: the 'Darwaza' or main gateway, the 'Bageecha' or garden, the Masjid or mosque, the 'Naqqar Khana' or rest house, and the 'Rauza' or the Taj Mahal mausoleum. The actual Tomb is situated inside the Taj.
The marble stature memorial has got embellishments of beautiful marble inlay work known as "Pietra Dura" that is a very integral part of Agra's art culture and traditions. But the most fascinating feature in this wonder is the garden with its water channels, lotus pools and colourful flowerbeds and trees.
Among the other monuments that Agra takes pride in , built by three of the greatest Mughal emperors. The construction of this massive structure began in 1565, under Akbar, and continued till the time of his grandson, Shahjahan. The Diwan - i - Am, the Diwan - i - Khas, the Khas Mahal, the Palace of Mirrors, the Pearl mosque, the Nagina Masjid, the Garden of Grapes, and the Fish Pavilion are the other monuments in the fort complex.
Stands in the centre of a grand Persian garden, an architectural gem of its times. It is the tomb of Mirza Ghiyas Beg, Emperor Jehangir's wazir, or Chief Minister, and also his father - in- law.This splendid garden tomb is believed to be the precursor of the magnificent Taj Mahal, and was the first Mughal structure to be built entirely of marble, and the first, again, to make use of pietra dura, the inlay marble work that came to be typical of the Taj.
37 kms from Agra is built a city predominantly in Red Sandstone and is called Fatehpur Sikri. This town was built by the Mughal Emperor, Akbar. He had planned this city as his capital but shortage of water compelled him to abandon the city. After this within 20 years, the capital of Mughals was shifted to Lahore.