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A Handbook to Agra and the Taj by E. B. Havell

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A Handbook to Agra and the Taj Sikandra, Fatehpur-Sikri and the Neighbourhood

by E.B. Havell, ARCA.



This little book is not intended for a history or archaeological treatise, but to assist those who visit, or have visited, Agra, to an intelligent understanding of one of the greatest epochs of Indian Art. In the historical part of it, I have omitted unimportant names and dates, and only attempted to give such a sketch of the personality of the greatest of the Great Moguls, and of the times in which they lived, as is necessary for an appreciation of the wonderful monuments they left behind them. India is the only part of the British Empire where art is still a living reality, a portion of the people's spiritual possessions. We, in our ignorance and affectation of superiority, make efforts to improve it with Western ideas; but, so far, have only succeeded in doing it incalculable harm. It would be wiser if we would first attempt to understand it.

Among many works to which I owe valuable information, I should name especially Erskine's translation of Babar's "Memoirs;" Muhammad Latifs "Agra, Historical and Descriptive;" and Edmund Smith's "Fatehpur-Sikri." My acknowledgments are due to Babu Abanindro Nath Tagore, Mr. A. Polwhele, Executive Engineer, Agra, and to Mr. J.H. Marshall, Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India, for kind assistance rendered. I am particularly indebted to Messrs. Johnston and Hoffman, of Calcutta, for allowing me to make use of their valuable collection of photographs for the illustrations.

In quoting from "Bernier's Travels," I have used Constable's translation, with Messrs. A. Constable & Co.'s kind permission. To the Editor of the _Nineteenth Century and After_ I owe permission to make use of my article on "The Taj and its Designers," published in that Review, June, 1903.


_January_, 1904.



The Great Moguls--I. Babar--Babar's Connection with Agra--II. Humayun--Interregnum: Shere Shah--III. Akbar--Akbar's Connection with Agra--IV. Jahangir--Jahangir's Connection with Agra--V. Shah Jahan--The Monuments of Shah Jahan's Reign at Agra--VI. Aurangzib--Agra and the Later Mogul Emperors--Agra in the Mutiny.


The Muti Masjid--The Dersane Darwaza--The Diwan-i-am--Jahangir's Cistern--The Tomb of Mr. Colvin--The Inner Mina Bazar--The Chitore Gates--The Hindu Temple--The Machhi Bhawan--The Najina Masjid--The Diwan-i-Khas--Jahangir's Throne--The Baths--The Samman Burj--The Khas Mahal--The Underground Chambers--The Anguri Bagh--Shish Mahal--The "Somnath" Gates--The Jahangiri Mahal--The Sahmgarh.

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