Agra Fort - Historical Monuments of Agra
Agra Fort was built by Mughal emperor Akbar in 1565 AD. This powerful fortress of red sandstone encompasses within its 2.5-km-long enclosure walls, the imperial city of the Mughal rulers. It will stand near the Taj Mahal gardens.
It is said that the construction of the fort was originally begun by emperor Akbar, but completed by his grandson Shah Jahan, who added most of the marble monuments here. The construction of the Agra fort was started around 1565, when the initial structures were built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, and subsequently taken over by his grandson Shah Jahan. There are a number of exquisite buildings like Moti Masjid, Diwan-i-Khas (hall of private audience) and Diwan-I-Aam (hall of public audience), Jahangir's Palace, Khaas Mahal and Sheesh Mahal.
The Agra fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is about 2.5 km northwest of its more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal.
The wall of Agra Fort is made of red sandstones and the perimeter is around 2 km. It is a semi-circle fort with its base into the riverbank of Yamuna. To avoid the entry of any intruder, the wall is built at a height of 70 feet. There were originally four gates for entrance, of which Lahore Gate and Delhi Gate are common. Delhi Gate is considered as the security gate and also the gate of royals. Through the main gate, one can pass through the Elephant Gate. The gate is known for the strength challenged by an elephant war and is generally used for the Indian army. And only one is open today by tourists can enter into the fort – the Amar Singh gate. The first thing that captures one's attention as they enter is Jehangir (Jahangir) Mahal, a palace said to have been built by Akbar as the women’s quarters and named after his son, Jehangir (Jahangir). It is built of stone and is simply decorated on the exterior. Simple and elegant, Ornamental Persian verses have been carved on a large stone bowl, which were probably used to contain fragrant rose water. Akbar built a palace, adjacent to Jehangir Mahal, for her favourite queen Jodha Bai.
Agra Fort is widely considered to be a masterpiece of planning, design and construction. There are two prominent mosques inside the fort - Nagina Masjid, built by Shah Jahan, was the private mosque of the ladies of the court. Some of its other internal structures include the stunning Moti Masjid. Moti Masjid or the Pearl Mosque is the prettiest structure at Agra Fort. The building is presently closed for visitors. Near Moti Masjid is Mina Masjid, which seems to have been constructed by Shah Jahan strictly for his private use. Structures relating to other Mughal emperors here include the Khas Mahal, said to have been built in honour of Jahanara Begum (eldest daughter of Shah Jahan), and Sheesh Mahal or the glass palace. Built by Shah Jahan, entirely of marble, the Khaas Mahal demonstrates distinctive Islamic-Persian features. These are well blended with a striking range of Hindu features such as chhatris. It is considered to be an emperor's sleeping room or 'Aramgah'. Khaas Mahal provides the most successful example of painting on a white marble surface.
On the left of the Khaas Mahal, is the Musamman Burj, built by Shah Jahan. The Musamman Burj is another interesting structure - it is an octagonal tower with an open pavilion, and is believed to be where emperor Shah Jahan breathed his last, imprisoned and gazing at his beloved Taj Mahal.
Sheesh Mahal or the Glass Palace is the finest example of decorative water engineering in the hammams. The story goes that it was once the dressing room for the queens, and its walls are inlaid with several tiny mirrors. To the right of Sheesh Mahal is the Diwan-I-Khaas, the hall of Private Audience. The marble pillars are inlaid with semi-precious stones in delightful floral patterns. Adjacent to this, is the Mammam-E-Shahi or the Shah Burj, used as the summer retreat. The Diwan-E-Am used to house the famous Peacock Throne, which was taken to the Red Fort when Shah Jahan moved his capital to Delhi. The throne alcove is of richly decorated white marble.