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|Taj Mahal in Agra|
|• Metropolitan City||1,880.40 km2 (726.03 sq mi)|
|Elevation||171 m (561 ft)|
|• Metropolitan City||1,746,467 |
|• Density||8,954/km2 (23,190/sq mi)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Taj Mahal in Agra|
|• Metropolitan City||1,880.40 km2 (726.03 sq mi)|
|Elevation||171 m (561 ft)|
|• Metropolitan City||1,746,467 |
|• Density||8,954/km2 (23,190/sq mi)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
Agra (i//; Hindi: आगरा Āgrā, Urdu: آگره), the former capital of Hindustan, is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India. It is 363 kilometres (226 mi) west of the state capital, Lucknow, and 200 kilometres (124 mi) south of the national capital New Delhi. With a population of 1,686,976 (2010 est.), it is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh and the 19th most populous in India. Agra can also refer to the administrative district that has its headquarters in Agra city. It is a major tourist destination because of its many splendid Mughal-era buildings, most notably the Tāj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpūr Sikrī, all three of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Agra is included on the Golden Triangle tourist circuit, along with Delhi and Jaipur.
The city is mentioned in the epic Mahābhārata, where it was called Agrevaṇa ("the border of the forest"). Legend ascribes the founding of the city to Raja Badal Singh, a Sikarwar Rajput king (c. 1475), whose fort, Badalgarh, stood on or near the site of the present fort. However, the 11th century Persian poet Mas'ūd Sa'd Salmān writes of a desperate assault on the fortress of Agra, then held by the Shāhī King Jayapala, by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni. Sultan Sikandar Lodī was the first to move his capital from Delhi to Agra in 1506. He died in 1517 and his son, Ibrāhīm Lodī, remained in power there for nine more years, finally being defeated at the Battle of Panipat in 1526. Between 1540 and 1556, Afghans, beginning with Sher Shah Suri ruled the area. It achieved fame as the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1556 to 1658.
Agra features a semiarid climate that borders on a humid subtropical climate. The city features mild winters, hot and dry summers and a monsoon season. However the monsoons, though substantial in Agra, are not quite as heavy as the monsoon in other parts of India. This is a primary factor in Agra featuring a semiarid climate as opposed to a humid subtropical climate.
|Climate data for Agra, India|
|Record high °C (°F)||33.0|
|Average high °C (°F)||22.3|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||15.1|
|Average low °C (°F)||8.0|
|Record low °C (°F)||−2.2|
|Rainfall mm (inches)||13.2|
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)||1.6||1.5||1.6||1.1||2.0||4.7||13.6||13.7||6.5||1.5||0.6||0.8||49.2|
|Source #1: NOAA (1971–1990), World Meteorological Organization (precipitation 1901–2000)|
|Source #2: India Meteorological Department (records)|
According to the 2011 India census, Agra has a population of 1,775,134, while the population of Agra cantonment is 50,968 and that of Agra district is 3,620,436. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Agra has an average literacy rate of 81%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with 86% males literate. Literacy rate of males is considerably higher than that of women. Agra district literacy rate is 62.56%.
Hinduism, Islam, and Jainism are three major religions in Agra district with 82.1%, 15%, and 1.4% of the population following them. And others are 1.5% 52.5% of Agra's population is in the 15–59 years age category. Around 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.
Though Agra's history is largely recognised with Mughal Empire, the place was established much before it and has linkages since Mahabharat period and Mahirshi Angira in 1000 BC. It is generally accepted that Sultan Sikandar Lodī, the Ruler of the Delhi Sultanate founded Agra in the year 1504. After the Sultan's death the city passed on to his son Sultan Ibrāhīm Lodī. He ruled his Sultanate from Agra until he fell fighting to Bābar in the First battle of Panipat fought in 1526.
The golden age of the city began with the Mughals. It was known then as Akbarabād and remained the capital of the Mughal Empire under the Emperors Akbar, Jahāngīr and Shāh Jahān. Shāh Jahān later shifted his capital to Shāhjahānabād in the year 1689.
Since Akbarabād was one of the most important cities in India under the Mughals, it witnessed a lot of building activity. Babar, the founder of the Mughal dynasty, laid out the first formal Persian garden on the banks of river Yamuna. The garden is called the Arām Bāgh or the Garden of Relaxation. His grandson Akbar raised the towering ramparts of the Great Red Fort, besides making Agra a center for learning, arts, commerce and religion. Akbar also built a new city on the outskirts of Akbarabād called Fatehpūr Sikrī. This city was built in the form of a Mughal military camp in stone.
His son Jahāngīr had a love of gardens and flora and fauna and laid many gardens inside the Red Fort or Lāl Qil'a. Shāh Jahān, known for his keen interest in architecture, gave Akbarabād its most prized monument, the Tāj Mahal. Built in loving memory of his wife Mumtāz Mahal, the mausoleum was completed in 1653.
Shāh Jahān later shifted the capital to Delhi during his reign, but his son Aurangzeb moved the capital back to Akbarabād, usurping his father and imprisoning him in the Fort there. Akbarabād remained the capital of India during the rule of Aurangzeb until he shifted it to Aurangabad in the Deccan in 1653. After the decline of the Mughal Empire, the city came under the influence of Marathas and was called Agra, before falling into the hands of the British Raj in 1803.
In 1835 when the Presidency of Agra was established by the British, the city became the seat of government, and just two years later it was witness to the Agra famine of 1837–38. During the Indian rebellion of 1857 British rule across India was threatened, news of the rebellion had reached Agra on 11 May and on 30 May two companies of native infantry, the 44th and 67th regiments, rebelled and marched to Delhi. The next morning native Indian troops in Agra were forced to disarm, on 15 June Gwalior (which lies south of Agra) rebelled. By 3 July the British were forced to withdraw into the fort. Two days later a small British force at Sucheta were defeated and forced to withdraw, this led to a mob sacking the city. However, the rebels moved onto Delhi which allowed the British to restore order by 8 July. Delhi fell to the British in September, the following month rebels who had fled Delhi along with rebels from Central India marched on Agra but were defeated. After this British rule was again secured over the city until the independence of India in 1947.
Agra is the birthplace of the religion known as Dīn-i Ilāhī, which flourished during the reign of Akbar and also of the Radhaswami Faith, which has around two million followers worldwide. Agra has historic linkages with Shauripur of Jainism and Runukta of Hinduism, of 1000 BC.
Tāj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Agra Airport is about 12.5 km (8 mi) from the city center (Indian Air Force Airport – no scheduled commercial flights). Commercial flights have been started for Khajuraho and Varanasi in December,2012.and from septemper 2013 flight to Mumbai also started
A new greenfield international airport is proposed for Agra in a bid to give required fillip to tourism in Uttar Pradesh, Taj international airport project at Agra would be implemented in right earnest with the state government according top priority to this project as Taj Mahal is one of the most visited tourist spots in the world. Consortium of Rites Ltd and KPMG Advisory Services Pvt Ltd, the selected consultants for this project, made a detailed presentation to Infrastructure and Industrial Development Commissioner(IIDC), Anil Kumar Gupta on the future course of action. Consultants were asked to identify the best suited site by the end of the current financial year. The project site would be selected in a way so as to enable prompt clearances and approvals for the implementation without any hindrances. To be developed through Public Private Partnership (PPP), in order to ensure time-bound execution of the project, the government has assured full cooperation at all levels of administration. Development of an international airport near the Taj Mahal will enhance the tourist inflow, the new airport would also cater to needs of frequent fliers, entrepreneurs and exporters from the region. If everything goes as per plan, Agra will have an international airport within 4 to 5 years.
Agra is on the central train line between Delhi (Station Code: NDLS) and Mumbai (Bombay) (Station Code: CSTM) and between Delhi and Chennai (Station Code: MAS) and many trains like Bhopal Shatabdi, Bhopal Express, Malwa Express, Gondwana Express, Jabalpur - Jammutawi Express, Shreedham Express, Garib Rath, Tamil Nadu Express, Chennai Rajdhni, Allahabad Mathura Express etc. connect Agra with all major Indian cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Pune, Bhopal, Indore, Kochi, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Ujjain, Jaipur, Alwar, Lucknow, Thiruvananthapuram etc. every day. Some east-bound trains from Delhi also travel via Agra, so direct connections to points in Eastern India (including Kolkata) (Calcutta) are also available. There are close to 20 trains to New Delhi and Gwalior Junction every day, and at least three or four to Bhopal, Indore, Nagpur, Mumbai and Chennai. There are three main railway stations in Agra:
Idgah Bus Stand, Taj Depot, Ford depot and Inter State Bus Terminal (ISBT) are the major Bus Stands in Agra, connecting it to most of the bigger cities in North India. It is major junction of highways with 3 National Highways and 1 Expressway originating from Agra. Another national highway passes through city making total highway outlet to 6.
Bus services are run by Agra Municipal Corporation. Other para-transit modes include rickshaws and autorickshaws. While passengers need to negotiate rates for the rickshaws and they are usually expensive, there is a system of (what is called) 'Tempo' which are autorickshaws that run on specific routes called out by the drivers. Tempos take around 6 people simultaneously and work out to be the most economical and practical. Polluting vehicles are not allowed near the Tāj Mahal, so one needs to take electric autos or Tanga (Tonga) from a few kilometres outside the Tāj Mahal.
The Taj Mahal is one of the most famous buildings in the world, the mausoleum of Shah Jahan's favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is one of the New Seven Wonders of the world, and one of the three World Heritage Sites in Agra.
Completed in 1653, the Tāj Mahal was built by the Mughal king Shah Jahan as the final resting place for his beloved wife, Mumtāz Mahal. Finished in marble, it is perhaps India's most beautiful monument. This perfectly symmetrical monument took 22 years (1630–1652) of labour and 20,000 workers, masons and jewellers to build and is set amidst landscaped gardens. Built by the Persian architect, Ustād 'Īsā, the Tāj Mahal is on the south bank of the Yamuna River. It can be observed from Agra Fort from where Emperor Shāh Jahān gazed at it for the last eight years of his life, a prisoner of his son Aurangzeb. It is an acknowledged masterpiece of symmetry. Verses of the Koran are inscribed on it and at the top of the gate are twenty-two small domes, signifying the number of years the monument took to build. The Tāj Mahal was built on a marble platform that stands above a sandstone one. The most elegant dome of the Tāj Mahal has a diameter of 60 feet (18 m), and rises to a height of 80 feet (24 m); directly under this dome is the tomb of Mumtāz Mahal. Shah Jahān's tomb was erected next to hers by his son Aurangzeb. The interiors are decorated with fine inlay work, incorporating semi-precious stones.
Agra Fort (sometimes called the Red Fort), was commissioned by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1565, and is another of Agra's World Heritage Sites. A stone tablet at the gate of the Fort states that it had been built before 1000 but was later renovated by Akbar. The red sandstone fort was converted into a palace during Shāh Jahān's time, and reworked extensively with marble and pietra dura inlay. Notable buildings in the fort include the Pearl Mosque or Motī Masjid, the Dīwān-e-'Ām and Dīwān-e-Khās (halls of public and private audience), Jahāngīr's Palace, Khās Mahal, Shīsh Mahal (mirrored palace), and the Musamman Burj.
The forbidding exteriors of this fort conceal an inner paradise. The fort is crescent shaped, flattened on the east with a long, nearly straight wall facing the river. It has a total perimeter of 2.4 kilometres (1.5 mi), and is ringed by double castellated ramparts of red sandstone punctuated at regular intervals by bastions. A moat 9 metres (30 ft) wide and 10 metres (33 ft) deep surrounds the outer wall.
Chhatrapati Shīvajī visited the Agra Fort, as a result of the conditions of the Treaty of Purandar entered into with Mirzā Rājā Jaisingh to meet Aurangzeb in the Dīwān-i-Khās (Special Audience Chamber). In the audience he was deliberately placed behind men of lower rank. An insulted Shīvajī stormed out of the imperial audience and was confined to Jai Sing's quarters on 12 May 1666. Fearing the dungeons and execution he escaped on 17 August 1666. A heroic equestrian statue of Shīvajī has been erected outside the fort.
The fort is a typical example of Mughal architecture, effectively showing how the North Indian style of fort construction differed from that of the South. In the South, the majority of forts were built on the seabed like the one at Bekal in Kerala.
The Mughal Emperor Akbar built Fatehpūr Sikrī about 35 km (22 mi) from Agra, and moved his capital there. Later abandoned, the site displays a number of buildings of significant historical importance. A World Heritage Site, it is often visited by tourists. The name of the place came about after the Mughal Emperor Bābar defeated Rāṇā Sāngā in a battle at a place called Sikrī (about 40 km (25 mi) from Agra). Then the Mughal Emperor Akbar wanted to make Fatehpūr Sikrī his head quarters, so he built a majestic fort; due to shortage of water, however, he had to ultimately move his headquarters to Agra Fort.
Buland Darwāza or 'the lofty gateway' was built by the great Mughal emperor, Akbar in 1601 CE. at Fatehpūr Sikrī. Akbar built the Buland Darwāza to commemorate his victory over Gujarat. The Buland Darwāza is approached by 52 steps. The Buland Darwāza is 53.63 m high and 35 meters wide. it is made of red and buff sandstone, decorated by carving and black and white marble inlays. An inscription on the central face of the Buland Darwāza demonstrates Akbar's religious broadmindedness, it is a message from Jesus advising his followers not to consider this world as their permanent home.
The Empress Nūr Jahān built I'timād-Ud-Daulah's Tomb, sometimes called the "Baby Tāj", for her father, Mirzā Ghiyās Beg, the Chief Minister of the Emperor Jahāngīr. Located on the left bank of the Yamuna river, the mausoleum is set in a large cruciform garden, criss-crossed by water courses and walkways. The are of the mausoleum itself is about 23 m2 (250 sq ft), and is built on a base that is about 50 m2 (540 sq ft) and about one meter high. On each corner are hexagonal towers, about thirteen meters tall. Small in comparison to many other Mughal-era tombs, it is sometimes described as a jewel box. Its garden layout and use of white marble, pietra dura, inlay designs and latticework presage many elements of the Tāj Mahal.
The walls are white marble from Rajasthan encrusted with semi-precious stone decorations – cornelian, jasper, lapis lazuli, onyx, and topaz in images of cypress trees and wine bottles, or more elaborate decorations like cut fruit or vases containing bouquets. Light penetrates to the interior through delicate jālī screens of intricately carved white marble.
Many of Nūr Jahān's relatives are interred in the mausoleum. The only asymmetrical element of the entire complex are the tombs of her father and mother, which have been set side-by-side, a formation replicated in the Taj Mahal.[clarification needed]
Sikandra, the last resting place of the Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great, is on the Delhi-Agra Highway, only 13 kilometres from the Agra Fort. Akbar's tomb reflects the completeness of his personality. The vast, beautifully carved, red-ochre sandstone tomb with deers, rabbits and langurs is set amidst a lush garden. Akbar himself planned his own tomb and selected a suitable site for it. To construct a tomb in one's lifetime was a Turkic custom which the Mughals followed religiously. Akbar's son Jahāngīr completed construction of this pyramidal tomb in 1613. The 99 names of Allah have been inscribed on the tomb.
The Swāmī Bāgh Samādhi is a monument to hold the ashes of Huzūr Swāmijī Mahārāj (Shrī Shiv Dayāl Singh Seth) in the Swāmībāgh section, on the high road that goes from Bhagwan Talkies to Dayāl Bāgh, in the outskirts of the city. He was the founder of the Radhāswāmī Faith and the Samādhi is sacred to its followers. Construction began in February 1904 and still continues. Many believe that construction will never end at Swāmī Bāgh – it is often seen as the next Tāj Mahal. The carvings in stone, using a combination or coloured marble, are lifelike and not seen anywhere else in India. The picture shown is taken from the rear of the building and shows only two floors. When completed, the Samādhi will have a carved dome and a gateway.
The Mankameshwar Temple is one of four ancient temples dedicated to Lord Shiva located on the four corners of Agra City. It is located near the Jāma Masjid and is about 2.5 kilometres from the Tāj Mahal and less than 1 km (0.6 mi) from Agra Fort. Being located in the old city, the temple is surrounded by markets, many of which date back to the Mughal Era.
It is widespreadly considered to be the birthplace of great poet Mirza Ghalib. It is located near the Mankameshwar Temple and is about 3 kilometres from the Tāj Mahal and less than 1 km (0.6 mi) from Agra Fort. Being located in the old city, the College is surrounded by markets. Approximately four or five years back, the birth room of Mirza Ghalib was hidden behind the wall by the Management of the college to keep the identity of the place secret.
Guru ka Tal was originally a reservoir meant to collect and conserve rainwater built in Agra, near Sikandra, during Jahangir's reign next to the Tomb of I'tibār Khān Khwājasara in 1610. In 1970s a gurudwara was erected here. Guru ka Tal is a holy place of worship for the Sikhs. Four of the ten Sikh Gurus are said to have paid it a visit. Enjoying both historical and religious importance, this shrine attracts a large number of devotees and tourists. Boasting elaborate stone carvings and eight of the twelve original towers. It is located by national (Delhi-Agra) highway-2.
The Jāma Masjid is a large mosque attributed to Shah Jahan's daughter, Princess Jahanara Begum, built in 1648, notable for its unusual dome and absence of minarets. The inscription at its entrance shows that it cost Rs 5 Lakhs at that time for its completion.
The oldest Mughal garden in India, the Rām Bāgh was built by the Emperor Bābar in 1528 on the bank of the Yamuna. It lies about 2.34 km (1 mi) north of the Tāj Mahal. The pavilions in this garden are designed so that the wind from the Yamuna, combined with the greenery, keeps them cool even during the peak of summer. The original name of the gardens was Ārām Bāgh, or 'Garden of Relaxation', and this was where the Mughal emperor Bābar used to spend his leisure time and where he eventually died. His body was kept here for some time before sending it to Kabul.
The Mehtāb Bāgh, or 'Moonlight Garden', is on the opposite bank of the River Yamuna from the Tāj Mahal.
Also known as Sur Sarovar, Keetham Lake is situated about 7 kilometres from akbar tomb Agra, within the Surdas Reserved Forest. The lake has an impressive variety of aquatic life and water birds.
The Mughal Heritage Walk is a part of community development programme being implemented with support of Agra Municipal corporation, USAID and an NGO; Center for Urban and Regional Excellence. It seeks to build sustainable livelihoods for youth and women from low resource communities and improve their living environments through infrastructure services and integration within the city.
The Mughal Heritage Walk is a one kilometre loop which connects the agricultural fields with the Rajasthani culture, river bank connected with the ancient village of Kuchhpura, the Heritage Structure of Mehtab Bagh, the Mughal aqueduct system, the Humanyun Mosque and the Gyarah Sidi.
Nearly five centuries ago, Agra was the commercial nerve centre of Mughal empire. Due to the presence of the Taj Mahal and other historic monuments, it has a tourism industry as well royal crafts like Pietra Dura, marble inlay and carpets
Today 40% of the population depends largely on agriculture, and others on the leather and footwear business and iron foundries. Agra is the second most self-employed in India in 2007, behind Varanasi, followed by Bhopal, Indore and Patna. According to the National Sample Survey Organization, in 1999–2000, 431 of every 1,000 employed males were self-employed in the city, which grew to 603 per 1,000 in 2004–05. Tourism contributes to the economy of Agra. Agra is home to Asia’s largest spa called Kaya Kalp – The Royal Spa, at the Hotel Mughal in Agra.
Agra has many industries. Uttar Pradesh's first plant biotech company Harihar Biotech is located near the Taj. It is one of the largest plant tissue culture laboratories in North India with an annual production capacity of 2 million plants. There are about 7,000 small scale industrial units. Agra city is known for leather goods, carpets, handicrafts, Zari Zardozi, Marvel and stone carving and inlay work. Agra is known for its sweets (Petha and Gajak) and snacks (Dalmoth), garment manufacturers and exporters and an automobile industry. Carpet making was introduced to the city by Moghul Emperor Babur and since then this art has flourished. Some leading exporters of carpets in Agra are Karan Exports, The Rug Factory, Agarwal Brothers, Rugs International, Floor Artists Inc,.
The city center place at Agra (Kinari Bazar) has jewellery and garments shops. The silver and gold jewellery hub is at Choube Ji Ka Fatak. The Shah Market area is an electronics market while Sanjay Place is the trade center of Agra.
Property is one of the growing sectors of the Agra's economy. Agra has one of the fastest growing property rates in almost all the areas due to redevelopment of several areas.
There are several malls such as BIG BAZZAR, TDI MALL, PACIFIC MALL, RATAN MALL, OMAXE SRK MALL, ASHOKA MALL (Sanjay Place)
6) Radio Taxi
It was during the advent of the Mughal era that Agra grew as a centre of Islamic education. British people introduced the western concept of education in Agra. In the year 1823, Agra College, one of the oldest colleges in India was formed out of a Sanskrit school established by the Scindia rulers. In the British era, Agra became a great center of Hindi literature with people like Babu Gulab Rai at the helm.
Agra University was established on 1 July 1927 and catered to colleges spread across the United Provinces, the Rajputana, the Central Provinces and almost to entire North India, at present 10 institutes comprising various departments and around 700 Colleges are affiliated to this university. The historic Agra University was later rechristened as "Dr. BhimRao Ambedkar University" by the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Ms. Mayawati.
Agra is home to the Dainik Jagran newspaper which is the most read Hindi Newspaper in India. Other newspapers that are widely read include Amar Ujala, Aaj, Hindustan. The English dailies published are The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Economic Times, The Pioneer, etc. There is also the Hindi and English mixed Newspaper Tabloid I-NEXT.
Morphers Animation Studios LLP is also a proud animation studio in Agra, which caters 3d visualization services to clients around the world.
Agra is famous for its sweetdish "petha". Petha (Hindi: पेठा pronounced [ˈpeːʈʰaː]) is a translucent soft candy from North India and Pakistan (Punjab region and metros). Usually rectangular or cylindrical, it is made from the ash gourd vegetable (also known as winter melon or white pumpkin, or simply petha in Hindi and Urdu). With growing demand and innovation, more varieties of the original preparation are available. Many flavoured variants are available, e.g. Kesar Petha, Angoori Petha etc. There are some other variations based on content, one with coconut mixed, another with some nuts put into it. Sometimes kewda essence is used to flavor petha. Dalmoth another traditional namkeen of agra is very famous pan India along with the petha .
Railway Stations served by the Indian Railways network at Agra are:
This cultural bonanza was started in year 1992 and since then its grandeur has reached to greater heights. In the year 2014, we are celebrating the 23th year of this Mahotsav. This festival also figures in the calendar of events of the Department of Tourism, Government of India. A large number of Indian and foreign tourists coming to Agra joins this festivity in the month of February. One of the objectives of this craft mela is to provide encouragement to the Artisans. It also makes available the magnificent work of art and craft at the most reasonable and authentic prices that are not inflated by high maintenance cost.
Ram Barat (Hindi: राम बारात) is a part of Ramlila celebration in Agra. It is one of the biggest annual event in North India. Ram Barat literally mean Baraat Marriage procession of Shri Ram. Every year a new locality is chosen in Agra and is elaborately decorated with lights & flowers. The area is given a major face lift befitting the venue for the divine marriage.
Taj Literature Festival, saw the brightest stars of the literary world manifest themselves on the earth of Agra. The galaxy comprised the greatest literary stalwarts of the literature world viz., Muzaffar Ali, Shobha De, Prahlad Kakker, Raghu Rai to name a few. The stage shone brilliant and the heritage city breathed life .This festival, an attempt to rejuvenate that aesthetic spirit which is a soul of this historically rich city, Agra. The city that nurtured the likes of Ghalib, Tansen, Surdas, Nazeer and many more.
Held at Kailash about 12 k.m. from Agra in the month of August/September. It is a major fair celebrated in honour of Lord Shiva who is belived to have appeared here in the form of stone Lingam.
A month long festival is held annually during the month of November at the place called Bateshwar, which is about 65 k.m. from Agra.
Gokulpura / Moti Katra, Agra
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