About SikandraThere are many prominent cities and towns all over UP that are very popular in terms of the interest they evoke amongst the common people. The reasons are many – architecture and monuments, arts and crafts, cuisines and local traditions, music and fine arts, mosques and temples and many more. The world famous monument and one of the Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal, is situated in UP, in the town of Agra, once the epicentre of the flourishing Mughal rule relegating Delhi to a distant second.
One such town that stands out for its architectural relevance to the Mughal Empire is Sikandra, also known as Sikandara. Situated close to Agra, at a distance of about 11 kms from the city centre and the Agra Fort on the Delhi-Mathura NH2, Sikandra’s proximity to Agra speaks volumes and its importance as a rich site of cultural heritage is rather obvious; at least for history lovers.
A Brief History of Sikandra
Sikandra is believed to have got its name from the Lodhi dynasty rulers who ruled Delhi in the 14th century, particularly Sikandar Lodhi whose dynasty served as a model for later Mughal kings. It is a bit ironical that although it is situated in close proximity to the headquarters of the Mughal Dynasty, namely Delhi-Agra, not much is known about Sikandra as a location. However, its claim to fame as a final resting place personally chosen by Akbar himself, undoubtedly, the greatest of the Mughal emperors, is noteworthy. Emperor Akbar was regarded as the greatest of them all because he did not believe in conquest alone by the power of battle but by a liberal and compassionate outlook towards all religions and faiths, his patronage and great interest in art & music, architecture, culture and literature that allowed for the consolidation and growth of the empire in all aspects.
Some even go so far as to point out that Sikandra is far more intriguing and mesmerising all at once, even more than the iconic Taj Mahal, a fact that does not go down well with historians and Taj lovers. The reasons in its favour are many – for sheer symbolization of harmonious, religious amicability, architectural elegance and seamless amalgamation of all the cultures that co-existed in India, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and Jainism. As a mausoleum in memory of Emperor Akbar who was the true heir to a lineage of traditional oriental refinement, Sikandra completes the personality of the great emperor.
Geography of Sikandra
Sikandra is a town panchayat in the Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh, situated about 80 kms to the west of Kanpur. It is about 174 kms from the national capital, New Delhi and is less than 20 kms from Agra. It has an elevation of 278 ft above sea level and is located at 26°N longitude and 79°E latitude.
Climate of Sikandra
Seated as it does on the vast Gangetic plain where summers can be dry, hot and hazy with temperatures hovering in the mid to high 30°C, day time temperatures on occasions have been known to shoot up to 45°C; winters are cool and pleasant but temperatures are known to drop to single digits, sometimes as low as 2°C. The monsoon starts around July but the region is known to receive minimal and sporadic rainfall because of its arid nature.
Demographics of Sikandra
According to the last population census, Sikandra has a population of around 12,000; males total 53% while females average 47%. The mean age of nearly 16% of the total population is under six years. The literary rate is slightly lower than the national average of 60%, and stands at 58%. The predominant languages spoken are Hindi and Urdu in different dialects and a smattering of English.
Tourism in Sikandra
Though Sikandra is not on the main tourist circuit as compared to a planned travel itinerary to Agra-Jaipur-Fatehpur Sikri, many holiday planners who use the Internet for information to plan their own holiday getaways are increasingly looking for “off-the-road” places that they can add to their plans and Sikandra fits in perfectly. The main tourist season coincides with the arrival of domestic and international travellers who plan vacations and sight-seeing trips in and around Agra; hence there is a flowing population in and out of Sikandra during this time.
The best time to visit Sikandra is between September and March when the mild winters with bright sunny days are ideal for sightseeing, but the summer months can see an influx of domestic and international tourists coinciding with the annual vacation of school children and office goers. As with the Taj Mahal, viewing and visiting times should be kept in mind while planning visits to historical sites. All Fridays are holidays and sunrise and sunset are the best times to see architectural sites and monuments as they allow for unhurried leisure times free from noisy crowds. Businesses and shops are set up during season times, off-season will invariably see a lull with not many shops and eateries open.
How to Reach Sikandra
Its proximity to Agra makes Sikandra easily accessible by road transport, rail network and air. The closest railway station is Agra Cantonment which is well serviced by trains from the east, south and north. From Agra, the drive to Sikandra on the Agra-Mathura road is just about 11 kms.
Some quick facts on SikandraDistrict Administration - Kanpur
Maintained by – Agra Development Authority
Location – Delhi-Agra-Mathura National Highway
Time Zone – IST/UTC (GMT +5.30)
Postal Code – 282 xxx
Telephone Code - +91-(562)
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