Agra is a city on the banks of the Yamuna river in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is 378 kilometres (235 mi) west of the state capital, Lucknow, 206 kilometres (128 mi) south of the national capital New Delhi, 58 kilometres (31 mi) south of Mathura and 125 kilometres (78 mi) north of Gwalior. Agra is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh, and the 24th most populous in India.
Agra is a major tourist destination because of its many Mughal-era buildings, most notably the Tāj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpūr Sikrī, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Agra is included on the Golden Triangle tourist circuit, along with Delhi and Jaipur; and the Uttar Pradesh Heritage Arc, tourist circuit of UP state, along Lucknow and Varanasi. Agra falls within the Braj cultural region.
The history of Agra before the Islamic conquerors is unclear. A 17th century chronicle called it an old settlement which was merely a village, owing to its destruction by Mahmud of Ghazni, before Sikandar made it his capital. The 11th-century Persian poet Mas'ūd Sa'd Salmān writes of an assault on the fortress of Agra, then held by the King Jaypal, by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni. Despite his surrender, Mahmud sacked the place. It was mentioned for the first time in 1080 AD when a Ghaznavide force captured it. Sultan Sikandar Lodī (1488–1517) was the first to move his capital from Delhi to Agra in 1506. He governed the country from here and Agra assumed the importance of the second capital. He died in 1517 and his son, Ibrāhīm Lodī, remained in power there for nine more years and several palaces, wells, and a mosque were built by him in the fort during his period, finally being defeated at the Battle of Panipat in 1526. Between 1540 and 1556, Afghans, beginning with Sher Shah Suri ruled the area. It was the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1556 to 1648.