Take the name of Agra and the first thing to come to your mind is Taj Mahal. However, besides Taj Mahal, another masterpiece of Mughal architecture is Agra fort which is one of the finest fort built by Mughals in India.
Agra Fort is located on the right bank of the river Yamuna in the city of Agra in Uttar Pradesh.
Some interesting things to know:
- The fort, semi-circular on plan, is surrounded by a 21.4 m high fortification wall. The fort spreads over an area of about 94 acres of land.
- Tourists can enter the fort via the Amar Singh Gate since the Indian military is using the northern portion of the Agra Fort and the Delhi Gate cannot be used by the public.
- The first thing to notice at the fort entrance is the moat which was crocodile-infested and worked as a first line of defence when the fort was in active use by Mughals.
- Another unique design of the fort is the dog leg shaped entrance which ensured that that the attackers to the fort does not have a clear view of the inside and impossible to break the gate using elephants due to lack of strainght passage.
- The fort construction was begun by Emperor Akbar in 1565 with red sandstone from Barauliu area in Rajasthan and was completed in 1573 taking 8 years to complete the fort.
- The fort went into a major makeover when Shah Jahan took over the Mughal empire which is visible in the prominent use of white marble at the fort. It is an irony that the same fort became his prision till his death after his son Aurangjeb seized power from him. It is said that Shah Jahan who was kept at Musamman Burj, used to gaze Taj Mahal which was built by him in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaj, after his house arrest till his death.
- One of the prominent place is the open Diwan-i-Am ( The hall of public audience), which was used by Shah Jahan for conducting darbar and daily business and features a throne room where he listened to the general public. Although it is made of red sandstone, the paster of white shell lime makes it look like marble. The imperial Jharokha (throne) chamber is made of white marble with intricate ornamentation.
- Opposite to Diwan – i -Am, is the grave of John Colvin, lieutenant-governor of the northwest provinces who died of an illness in the fort during the 1857 First War of Independence.
- The decorated Jahangir Mahal sandstone structure reminds of the Fateh Pur Sikri due to their resemblence in design.
The Jahangir Mahal
Related post on Mughal Architecture:
- Taj Mahal – the epitome of love
- Humayun’s Tomb, New Delhi
- Fatehpur Sikri – rise and abandonment of great Mughal era capital – Part 1
- Fatehpur Sikri Part 2 : Royal Enclosures