I. One of the six Northwestern Provinces of British India (which constitute one of the eight separate administrations into which India is divided), lying nearly in their centre; area, 9,479 sq. m.; pop. about 4,500,000, all Hindoos, except nearly 400,000 Mohammedans.
II. One of the six districts or zillahs of the province of Agra; area, 1,8(55 sq. m.; pop, about 1,000,-000.
III. A city, capital of the preceding province and district, and formerly of the Northwest-ern Provinces, on the S.W. bank of the Jumna, connected by railway with the principal Indian cities, 115 m. S. S. E. of Delhi and 783 m. N. W. of Calcutta; pop., including the two suburbs and the garrison, about 125,000. It is the centre of an extensive trade, chiefly in cotton, sugar, indigo, salt, and silks. The ancient walls embrace an area of nearly 11 sq. m., about half of which is occupied. Inside Fort Akbar are the palace of Shah Jehan and the famous pearl mosque. Near the river, about 1 m. E. of the fort, is the celebrated Taj Mahal, a mausoleum built by Jehan for himself and his wife Noor Mahal, in the construction of which 20,000 men are said to have been employed 22 years: the cost was estimated at over $4,000,000. It is of white marble, 100 feet in diameter and 200 in height, built in the form of an irregular octagon, and rising from a high marble terrace which rests upon another of red sandstone. At the corners of the marble terrace are lofty minnrets, and in the centre of the main building rises a dome, flanked by cupolas of similar form. Both the interior and exterior are decorated with mosaics of precious stones and the most beautiful tracery.
The whole Koran is said to be written in mosaic of precious stones on the interior walls. The sarcophagi of Jehan and Noor Mahal lie in the crypt below. Among the European public buildings is the government house, the seat of the lieutenant governor of the Northwestern Provinces, who is sometimes called lieutenant governor of Agra, the province having been at first destined (in 1833) to form a separate presidency. - In the 16th century Agra was embellished and fortified by Akbar, whose tomb is 6 ra. from the city. In 1C>58 the capital was removed to Delhi. From that time the population, then estimated at nearly 500,000, began to decline, but it has increased since the British occupation. In the 18th century Agra was held by various native rulers, and eventually by Madhaji Sindia, the Mahratta chief, patron of the French adventurer Pirron, who during the conflict in 1803 with the East India compony employed in his turn the Dutch adventurer Hessing. Anarchy prevailed in the garrison, and several Mahratta regiments joined the English forces under Gen. Lake, who occupied the city in September, and the fort in October, 1803. During the sepoy mutiny of 1857 most of the European houses were destroyed.
The English and other foreign residents, however, shut themselves up in the fort and sustained a gallant defence until relieved by Col. Greathed. - Agra is venerated by the Hindoos as the city of the incarnation of Vishnu under the name of Parasu Rama.
The Taj Mahal, Agra.