Agra the former capital of Hindustan, is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India, 363 kilometres (226 mi) west of state capital, Lucknow and 200 kilometres (124 mi) south of the national capital New Delhi. With a population of 1,686,976 (2010 est.), it is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh and the 19th most populous in India. Because 80 percent of the city's sewage flows into Yamuna River, it is 20th most polluted city in India. Agra can also refer to the administrative district that has its headquarters in Agra city.
The city finds mention in the epic MahÄbhÄrata where it was called Agrevaá¹‡a, or 'the border of the forest'. Legend ascribes the founding of the city to Raja Badal Singh, a Sikarwar Rajput king (circa 1475), whose fort, Badalgarh, stood on or near the site of the present Fort. However, the 11th century Persian poet Mas'Å«d Sa'd SalmÄn writes of a desperate assault on the fortress of Agra, then held by the ShÄhÄ« King Jayapala, by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni. Sultan Sikandar LodÄ« was the first to move his capital from Delhi to Agra in the year 1506; he died in 1517 and his son IbrÄhÄ«m LodÄ« remained in power there for nine more years, finally being defeated at the Battle of Panipat in 1526. Between 1540 to 1556, Afghans beginning with Sher Shah Suri to Hindu King Hem Chandra Vikramaditya, also called Hemu, ruled the area. It achieved fame as the capital of the Mughal emperors from 1556 to 1658 and remains a major tourist destination because of its many splendid Mughal-era buildings, most notably the TÄj Mahal, Agra Fort and FatehpÅ«r SikrÄ«, all three of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.