A Handbook to Agra and the Taj eBook

Ernest Binfield Havel
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 98 pages of information about A Handbook to Agra and the Taj.

There is also at Govardhan a very fine Hindu temple, dating from the time of Akbar.

A great fair is held here every year about the end of October, or beginning of November, on the occasion of the Hindu Diwali, or Feast of Lamps, one of the most beautiful and impressive of all the Hindu festivals.

Muttra, the Mathora of the Greeks, about fourteen miles from Govardhan, and within easy reach of Agra by rail, is one of the most sacred places of the Hindus, from being the reputed birthplace of Krishna.  It is a great centre for the worship of Vishnu.

Brindaban, or Bindaraban, which is a very short distance further by rail, possesses an old Hindu temple, dedicated to Govind Deva, or Vishnu, of the same period as the other at Govardhan, and built by the same person, Rajah Man Singh of Amber, an ancestor of the present Maharajah of Jaipur.  Fergusson describes it as one of the most interesting and elegant temples in India.

There is also a great Vishnu temple of the last century, in the Dravidian style of Southern India, built by a Hindu millionaire merchant.  Krishna’s childhood and early youth were passed in the vicinity of Brindaban, and on that account it is held especially sacred by the followers of the Vaishnavite sect of Hinduism, who flock there in thousands on the anniversary of Krishna’s birth, in the month of Bhadon (August—­September).


[1] Babar’s “Memoirs,” translated by Erskine.

[2] For further particulars of Babar’s history the reader is referred to the “Memoirs,” or to Stanley Lane-Poolers admirable “Life of Babar,” in the “Rulers of India Series” (Macmillan & Co.).

[3] The State documents of the Mogul Emperors, “given under the royal hand and seal,” were sometimes actually impressed by the royal hand.  Plate I. reproduces part of a letter, addressed by Shah Jahan to an ancestor of the present Maharajah of Gidhour.  In this letter the Raja Dalan Singh is informed that “the auspicious impress of the royal hand” is sent as a mark of royal favour, and he is commanded to proceed to Court to participate in the festivities and to pay homage to the Emperor.

[4] Bernier’s “Travels”—­Constable’s translation.

[5] These elephant statues have been a vexed point with archaeologists.  Bernier, in his description of Delhi, refers to two great elephants of stone, with their riders, outside of the Fort Gates.  The riders, he says, were portraits of the famous Rajput chiefs Jaymal and Patta, slain by Akbar at the siege of Chitore.  “Their enemies, in admiration of the devotion of the two heroes, put up these statues to their memory.”  Now, Bernier does not say that the statues were put up by Akbar, but General Cunningham, inferring that Bernier meant this, propounded a theory that they were originally in front of the Agra Fort, which Akbar built, and removed to Delhi by Shah Jahan, when he built his new palace there. 

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A Handbook to Agra and the Taj from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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