India is a country steeped in history, and the remarkable fact is that despite numerous foreign invasions, both by rulers and cultures, she still retains a unique flavour of her own. There is a great architectural heritage in India and Agra, or Agraban as it was called in the Mahabharat times, a charmed city, can boast of the most splendid monuments in the world, including three world heritage ones.
Agra is a part of Brijbhoomi, the land associated with the birth and the legend of Lord Krishna. In Agra City, there are five Shiva temples which are the symbols of ancient culture.
Agra was the capital city of Sikander Lodhi, the second ruler of the Lodhi dynasty, who was defeated by Emperor Babur in 1526 A.D. Babur too made Agra his capital city and so began the great Mughal rule. It was Babur who built the first monument in Agra, a planned garden, called Gul-e-Afgaan or Aaram Baugh.
After Babur, in 1530 AD Humayun took over the throne of Agra. Later, Sher Shah Suri also continued to have Agra as his Capital.
During the reign of Akbar (1556 to 1605 A.D.) Agra earned fame all over the world and was counted among the great and beautiful cities of Medieval India. Emperor Akbar constructed many magnificent buildings in and around the city including the famous Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort. During his rule, people of all castes and religions lived together and Akbar declared the concept of “Sulah Kul”. In making the personality of Akbar the Great, his “NAVARATANS” (nine jewels) Raja Man Singh, Raja Todar Mal, Hakeem Luqman, Raja Birbal, Mullah-Do-Pyaza, Abdul-Fazal-Feuzi, Abdul Rahim Khana Khan and Miyan Tansen played an important role. For developing feelings of harmony and brotherhood among the people of various religions, Akbar started a new religion named Deen-E-Elahi.
Sikandra and Etmad-Ud-Dowla are two well-known buildings of Jahangir’s period. The world famous Taj Mahal was constructed by Shah Jahan in the fond memory of his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal. Agra has earned world fame due to it. Shah Jahan’s period is remembered as a golden period for construction of great buildings and for their beautification.
During the British period, Agra was made a District in 1805 A.D. and a Collector was posted there. Agra Presidency was founded in 1833 A.D. In 1835 A.D. Western - North Border Province, known as United Provinces, was formed, of which Agra remained the Capital upto 1857 A.D. After 1857 A.D. mutiny, the capital of United Provinces was shiffted from Agra to Allahabad. After this, Agra remained only a Commissionary and continues to be so.
In 1915, His Holiness Sahabji Maharaj Sir Anand Sarup Kt., established the colony of Dayalbagh to the north of the city of Agra. It is the Headquarters of the Radhasoami Satsang.