When visiting the famous Taj Mahal in Agra, a city in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, one should not miss passing by the Agra Fort, situated just few kilometers away. The Agra Fort is another site that holds a significant historical value. It occupies an area of around 38 hectares enclosed with thick double-walled structure made of red sandstone reaching nearly 21 meters high. This served as the stronghold of the Mughal Empire. Only a portion of the fort is open for public viewing today since almost three fourths is occupied by the Indian military. The Amar Singh Gate is the designated entrance for tourists. Entrance tickets of the Agra Fort cost 500INR for foreigners.
The Agra Fort was the headquarter of the Mughal dynasty where emperors lived lavishly on their ornately decorated palaces. The Agra Fort is also the place where Shah Jahan has been imprisoned by his third son, Aurangzeb. He spent the last days of his life here gazing from a distance at the Taj Mahal, where he housed the tomb of his beloved wife.
The Agra Fort consists of palaces, courtyards, audience halls, mosques, and buildings designed in Mughal style. The architectural design of the buildings in this walled city is influenced mostly by two generations of Mughal emperors: Akbar and his grandson Shah Jahan.
IMPORTANT HISTORICAL BUILDINGS AT AGRA FORT
This palace is constructed by Emperor Akbar during his reign as a residential palace for women belonging to the royal family. This is one of the few buildings from Akbar’s time that remained intact up to this time.
Diwan-I-Khas (Hall of the Private Audience)
This was the place where Mughal emperors receive and welcome foreign state dignitaries. This is also where the “Throne of Jahangir” is situated, which is a huge slab of black rock with Persian inscriptions on its sides.
This palace was built by Shah Jahan for her two favorite daughters, Roshnara and Jahanara. The interior of this palace is embellished with marble carvings and floral designs similar to that of the Taj Mahal.
This is an octagonal tower with a marble balcony which gives a beautiful view of Taj Mahal. This was built by Shah Jahan for his precious queen, Mumtaz Mahal. It is said that in the balcony of this building, Shah Jahan spent his last few days staring at the Taj Mahal.
Sheesh Mahal (The Mirror Palace)
Like the Taj Mahal, this palace is inlaid with the pietra dura decorations, perhaps a trademark of Shah Jahan buildings. This is called “Mirror Palace” because of the mirror-works set into the marble that creates a sparkling effect. This building is temporarily closed for renovations during our visit.
The Agra Fort is another impressive Mughal monument that demonstrates the Empire’s power and prosperity during their rule in India. While exploring one building to another, this Red Fort of Agra will surely captivate you by its artful conception and construction. It will bring its visitors back to the grandeur of the Mughal Empire.