Agra, district magistrate being subordinate to him.

Agra, located on the banks of the river Yamuna at an elevation 171m above MSL in thenorthern state of Uttar Pradesh, India was founded by Sultan Sikandar Lodhi to serve as theresidence of Sultan and permanent headquarters of the army. Sultan Sikandar Lodhi was thefirst to move his capital from Delhi to Agra. Sikandar Lodhi is said to have built a number ofbuildings in Agra. During his reign Agra became the resort of learned people from Arabia andPersia.

After his death in 1517, under his successor Ibrahim Lodhi, Agra continued to be the capital untilthe First Battle of Panipat where Ibrahim Lodhi lost to Mughal Badshah emperor Babar. It wasduring the Mughal era that the golden age of the city began. During Akbar’s reign Agra was alsoknown as Akbarabad became a great trading centre and it was especially famous for themanufacture of carpets and the production of indigo.

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He also raised the towering ramparts of theGreat Red Fort. During Jahangir’s reign also Agra continued to flourish in commerce andindustry, it was a great indigo centre and a big spice market. Later during Shah Jahan’s reign,the prized monument of, the Taj Mahal was built in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. ShahJahan was one of the greatest contributors for Mughal architecture, left behind a grand legacy ofstructures constructed. Shah Jahan’s transferred the capital from Agra to Delhi, which resultedin deterioration of the city’s trade which was marked by a fall in price of goods manufacturedthere and the difficulties faced by the people in finding employment. However Agra continued tomaintain its industrial importance during Aurangzeb’s reign who shifted back the capital to Agra(Akbarabad). It became a great centre for trade in white cloth, cloth of gold and silver of greatfineness and indigo.

After the fall of the Mughal empire to the Marathas it was renamed Agra, during which the cityfrequently changed rulers before falling into the hands of the British in 1803. The cededterritories of Agra were governed under the provisions of the Regulating Act of 1784 and in 1805they were named as Upper Provinces. The board of commissioners for the North – WesternProvinces of India was abolished in 1833 when that territory was constituted into a presidencywith headquarters in Allahabad. In 1834 Agra was made a revenue division under acommissioner, the district magistrate being subordinate to him. In July 1835 the presidency wasabolished and this region was given the name of North – Western Provinces with headquartersin Agra. It was in 1857 that the district of Agra joined the struggle for freedom which had brokenout in a number of places and in the North – Western Provinces. In 1868 the headquarters of theNorth – Western Provinces was transferred to Allahabad reducing Agra to the status of aprovincial town. However, Agra by 1869 had become an important railway junction.

During therule of British the city grew towards south and southwest direction as Cantonment, offices andresidential areas. The development during the British period gave a definite shape to the Mughalcity and restricted the expansion within the central part. The major residential development tookplace within limited area causing the increase in residential density as well as encroachmentupon the residential area from inside and outside.

Some residential development took placealong the roads leading to different regional centres namely Bharthpur, Fatehpur Sikri, betweenmain city and Lohamandi, Shahaganj Suburbs. The construction of bridge on river Yamunaencouraged the residential and commercial development near Taj.After Independence, Agra received a large number of refugees and migration from rural tourban.

During this period people settled in the central part and it became more congested. Thenew residential development took place in Shahganj, Lohamandi, Dayalbagh and Swamibagh.The city including the modern settlements is mostly circular in shape focused on the fort and theriver. The rounded shape of the city is due to the fortifying wall which has disappeared exceptfor two gates, the Delhi and Chhanga Modi Gates. The streets in the city proper lying north –west of the fort are very narrow but a radial pattern with marked convergence on the fort isrecognizable.

It is below the fort on the north – west that the Jama Mosque and modernbusiness core lie. In the portion immediately to the north of the fort lying along the Jumna themain streets run parallel to the river and are joined at right angles by side lanes giving to thissection a ‘ladder pattern’. Tajganj is built in the form of an oblong rectangle along a road leadingto the main gate of the mausoleum. Other outlying parts of the city are irregular in pattern. Thecantonment is laid out in a rectangular plan with most streets lying parallel to mainthoroughfares which is Drummond road running north south and the mall running east – west.

Agra is roughly divided into four zones, the business area lies immediately north west of the fort,the chief markets such as Kashmiri Bazar, Kinari Bazar, Chilint and chauk lie along a streetrunning north west from the fort but the entire zone upto the river is scattered among markets.Surrounding the business area is the second zone on the north west and south west is theresidential rim. Beyond this is the third zone on the west and south west lie the civil lines mainlyDrummond road. Beyond this lies the fourth zone the detached residential wards of the citymainly along the Sikri and Bharathpur roads.

Suburban growths continue to extend along theseand the Delhi roads.The growth of the Tajganj is mainly due to the Taj Mahal, and the inhabitants of this wardappear to depend a good deal on income derived from the visitors and the manufacture ofmarble and soapstone models of the mausoleum.


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