Author: Shailaja Kathuria
Photographer: Victorial & Albert Museum
Publisher: Roli Books
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8174361391
An interesting short text on Agra with 24 color plates makes this mini-book a collector's item.
It is traditional to make playful speculation s on the etymology of the name of a place. It was believed by some that Agra was derived from the Hindi word 'Agar', used to describe the brackish soil of this region. Others thought that the city got its name from the Agarwal banias, who inhabited this place in large numbers. Agra could also simply mean 'Age-rah' - the way ahead.
The Way Ahead - it certainly turned out to be for Babar. However, one must not forget the predecessor, Sikander Lodi, who seems to have been the first emperor to make Agra his capital. He is also remembered for leaving his name on what later became an important suburb of Agra - Sikandra.
Abul Fazal, on Agra, in the Akbarnama says, ‘It is a city possessing a salubrious climate... The soil is congenial to the growth of the trees and fruit of Khorasan and Iraq…the river Jun (Jumna)…flows in the midst of the city. On either side of it the nobles and servants of the State have constructed edifices of such beauty and elegance that they surpass description.’