Monday 8 April 2013

Glimpses of Oriental Agra

There are so many things to see and experience in the Heritage city of Taj Mahal. Agra is not limited up to the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. There are no.of things to explore beyond these monuments. Glimpses of Oriental Agra is an effort to introduce the people with the rich culture and heritage of oriental Agra for which Agra is known for. 



This tour is conducted using this type of Rickshaws : 

Days of operation: Every Saturday and Sunday

Timings: 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.


  • Pick up from the hotel and drop back to the hotel after the tour.
  • Services of an English speaking Guide.
  • A bottle of mineral water

For more information, kindly send us a mail on

Friday 5 October 2012

The Red Taj

The tomb in red sandstone was built by Ann Hessing, widow of a Dutch officer, Colonel John Hessing, after his death in 1803.
In the 18th century, during the period of expansion of the European powers in the east, a number of European mercenaries came to India. In the course of time they grew increasingly powerful and played an important role in the new power struggle. They conquered kingdoms, overturned princes and ruled provinces. A long list of such military adventurers can be drawn, though their names are but as indistinct items on a long forgotten scrawl, almost obliterated by the dust of time. Some of the European military freelancers of that time rose to such a prominence that they could mint coins of their names and bear their own distinctive imprints — a prerogative of the royalty.
One of the most illustrious mercenaries of those heady days of adventure and conquest was John William Hessing (spelt Jan Willem Hessing in Dutch). He was born in Utrecht in 1739, entered the military service of the V.O.C. (United Dutch East India Company) at an early age of 13 and arrived in Ceylon in 1752. Five years later, Hessing returned to the Netherlands. But after a decade, in 1763, he returned to the east, obviously longing for adventure.
Possibly as a result of the fourth Anglo-Dutch war, by which in 1781 the British occupied the Dutch settlements in India. Hessing, as did many of his clan, took refuge with the local rulers and warlords and entered into military service with them.
Hessing first commissioned in the army of the Nizam and in 1784 entered the service of Scindia. He took part in several major battles. Hessing wanted to leave due to differences with the senior officers, but Mahadaji Scindia did not let him go. He retained Hessing to organise a Bodyguard Force (Khas Risala) on the European model. He accompanied Mahadaji to Poona in June 1792. During their stay in Poona, Mahadaji died in 1794. Daulat Rao Scindia continued with his services. In course of time, Hessing rose appreciable in the esteem of Daulat Rao and received from him the command of a brigade of four battalions.
In 1799, Hessing was appointed Commander of the Agra Fort and its Maratha garrison and the city of Agra. He held Agra till his death on 21 July 1803. Anne was devastated with grief. She along with her sons and daughter paid tribute and got a grand tomb for the burial of her husband. she was inspired by the Taj and so planned a similar structure. It is situated in an old graveyard, Near Agra Civil Court on M.G. Road.
In its plan and execution, Hessing’s tomb is a feeble imitation of the Taj, in red sandstone. Nowhere is western influence seen on the building. Although it is not an architectural delight when compared with the Taj Mahal and is known even to the local populace, but it is built in the same spirit of love and emotional appeal. A Dutch soul permanently took abode in an Indian body.
The white mausoleum of Shah Jahan for Mumtaz overshadows all the tombs in the world, but the ‘Red Taj’ is also a monument of sublime love of a disconsolate spouse. The entrance has two Persian inscriptions, one of which is the epitaph and the other a chronogram. They are:
"When Colonel John William Hessing departed from this world, he left hundreds of scars of separation. By person he belonged to Holland and was born in that country. He gained fame in India, by the Grace of God."
"The author asked the angel for a quadruplet of the chronogram. In which the day, year and month can be condensed. When the day, year and month was searched in the Christian era. The angel said, "The date is twenty-first July (1803)".

The tomb is actually a smaller project on a much reduced scale and some very complicated and costly details of the Taj such as the minars and the chhatrisbelow the dome have been dispensed with. It is much simpler and has no inlay or mosaic.
The tomb stands on a square platform, 3.40 m and 117.68 m side, containing a crypt and a corridor around it. An octagonal platform, 2.59 m in span is attached to its each corner.

The terrace of the main platform (on which stands the tomb) is accessible by twin stairways attached to it on the western side with a platform measuring 6.71x2.64 m. It is essentially a Mughal design. Slender turrets are attached to the central iwanframe and they are crowned, on the superstructure, by graceful pinnacles. The tomb is roofed by a beautiful double-dome, crowned by a magnificent mahapadma (sheath of lotus petals) and kalash. It reposes gorgeously amidst pinnacles and chhatris of the turrets and by any standard it is a perfect superstructure.

The interior is a square chamber of 5.38 m side. Simple squinches have been used in the phase of transition. The ceiling has a ribs-and-panels soffit and a beautiful apex. The stone cenotaph, bearing an inscription in English, is placed at the centre of the chamber. The monument is essentially the art of the Jamuna Chambal region and marks continuance of the Mughal ideas, feelings and skills in the 19th century.

Source: The Tribune

Thursday 6 September 2012

Sikandra, Akbar's Mausoleum

Sikandra is the place where Akbar is buried. Akbar was a great and most successful emperor among all the Mughal kings.

Akbar was raised in the rugged country of Afghanistan rather than amongst the splendor of the Delhi court. He spent his youth learning to hunt, run, and fight and never found time to read or write. He was the only great Mughal ruler who was illiterate. Despite this, he had a great desire for knowledge. This led him not only to maintain an extensive library but also to learn. Akbar had his books read out to him by his courtiers. Therefore, even though unable to read, Akbar was as knowledgeable as the most learned of scholars.

Akbar came to throne in 1556, after the death of his father, Humayun. At that time, Akbar was only 13 years old. Akbar was the only Mughal king to ascend to the throne without the customary war of succession; as his brother Muhammad Hakim was too feeble to offer any resistance.

During the first five years of his rule, Akbar was assisted and advised by Bahram Khan in running the affairs of the country. Bahram Khan was, however, removed and for a few years Akbar ruled under the influence of his nurse Maham Anga. After 1562, Akbar freed himself from external influences and ruled supreme.

Akbar was a great patron of architecture, art, and literature. His court was rich in culture as well as wealth. In fact, his court was so splendid that the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth I, once even sent out her ambassador, Sir Thomas Roe, to meet the king! Many of Akbar's buildings still survive, including the Red Fort at Agra, and the city of Fatehpur Sikri, near Agra, which has a 10-km long wall encircling it.

Friday 31 August 2012

Taj Mahal, Monument of Love

Located in Agra, Taj Mahal is a mausoleum, built by the great mughal emperor Shah Jahan, in memory of his beloved third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who is also known as Arjumand Bano Begum. Standing majestically on the bank of river Yamuna, it is one of the most recognizable structures and one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.  This ‘epitome of love’ and romance, leaves visitors mesmerised and perpetually enthralled.  A style that combines elements from Persian, Turkish and Indian architectural styles, it is the finest example of Mughal architecture.

In 1983, it became a UNESCO world heritage and has remained as one of the Seven Wonders of the World over a period of time. At the break of dawn, when the first rays of the sun hits the dome of this epic monument, it radiates like a bright golden heavenly abode. Then at dusk, on a moonlit night, it shines like a perfectly carved diamond, leaving the visitors awestruck by its shear grandeur. The beauty of this visual spectacle touches you deep inside when one hears the story behind the magnificent structure.

The Taj Mahal "crown of palaces", is a white marble mausoleum located in Agra, India on the banks of the river Yamuna. Taj Mahal is the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Turkish and Indian architectural styles. The Taj Mahal is widely recognized as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage". It is one of the 7 international wonders.

Taj Mahal has a story that has been touching the hearts of millions of people ever since it was built. A story that is considered a living example of ‘eternal love’. The love story of the mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (Prince Kurram) and Mumtaz Mahal (Anjumand Banu Begum). In 1631, Shah Jahan, during the Mughal empire's period of greatest prosperity, was grief-stricken when, Mumtaz Mahal died during the birth of their fourteenth child due to some complications. While Mumtaz was on her deathbed, Shah Jahan promised her that he would never remarry and will build the richest mausoleum over her grave, to commemorate their tale of pure love. After the construction of this magnificent monument, Shajahan buried his beloved wife's body right in the center. This unique piece of art is incomparable and stand apart from all monuments present in the world. There is much more than what is been said or written till date. So come and experience this epitome of true love in person and cherish the mesmerizing beauty which is just ineffable.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal – With its incredible lacy white grandeur the Taj Mahal is perhaps the most perfect architectural monument in the world. To the poet Tagore it was a ‘tear in the face of eternity’. In memory of his wife, Emperor Shah Jehan constructed this most extravagant and incomparable monument built for love. Amazingly graceful from any angle, it is the close up detail, which is really astounding. The monument appears to change its hue as it is tinted by the glow of the setting sun.

Visiting Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

Opens on: All days of the week except Friday.

Night viewing of Taj Mahal: Night viewing is permitted only on five nights in a month. On the full moon night and two nights prior and two days after the full moon night.

The night viewing is limited to maximum 400 people per night, divided into eight batches of 50 each and each batch is allowed to visit for a maximum duration of 30 minutes. Night viewing is not allowed on Friday

Timings: 8:30 pm to 00:30 am

The tickets for night viewing need to be booked one day in advance from the Archaeological Survey of India office located at 22,The Mall, Agra, between 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Thursday 23 August 2012

An Introduction

"There are two types of people in this World, One who have seen the Taj Mahal and one who don't" . These are the words quoted by former President Bill Clinton when he visited Agra.

Its everybody wish to visit Taj Mahal once in his lifetime and we provide all the necessary information on Taj Mahal and the Agra city.

Agra Beat is an professionally managed organisation serving to the people visiting Agra from Last 8 years. We provide services to the people planning to visit Agra & nearby areas.