Agra Fort

World
World Map
Indian-Subcontinent
   



India >> Uttar Pradesh >> Agra >> Attractions >> Agra Fort

Agra Fort

History

The original `Red Fort' (although that title has since been usurped by the more well-known fort in Delhi), the fort at Agra stands next to what is perhaps India's best known monument, the Taj Mahal. More often than not, the Agra Fort is overshadowed by the pristine beauty of the Taj, but for those looking for something beyond romance, the Agra Fort is worth seeing.

Akbar, the greatest empire-builder of the Mughals, commissioned the Agra Fort in 1565, and his grandson Shah Jahan, pulled down many of the original buildings and replaced them with marble ones, while Aurangzeb added the ramparts. The fort was for some time occupied by the British; today, much of it is with the Indian Army and is out of bounds for tourists.

The main point of entry for tourists to the Agra Fort is the Amar Singh Gate; the main entrance, the Delhi Gate, is now closed. Once past the gate, some of the fort's most splendid architectural structures are on view: keep your camera ready. The first of these is the Diwan-e-Aam (the Hall of Public Audience), a pillared hall centred round a throne alcove of marble with a delicate pietra dura inlay of floral motifs. The throne alcove was initially made to house the Peacock Throne (which was later taken to Delhi by Shah Jahan, looted by Nadir Shah and then carried away to Persia).

Like the Diwan-e-Aam, the Diwan-e-Khas, where the emperor held audience with visiting dignitaries, is also splendid. Built in 1635, it had two thrones on the terrace, one in white marble and one in black slate. Emperor Shah Jahan is believed to have used the marble throne for repose, and the slate throne to watch elephant fights in the courtyard.

Other than these, the fort's main structures include the Khas Mahal, where the emperor slept (the Khas Mahal has cavities in its flat roof to insulate it from the hot winds of summer) and the Macchi Bhawan, or fish chamber, with its fountains, tanks and water channels stocked with fish. The emperor and his courtiers amused themselves by angling here.

Also within the fort is the marble Nagina Masjid, built by Shah Jahan to house the women of the zenana or harem. Below it is the Zenana Meena Bazaar, where the ladies could examine and buy trinkets, finery and the like- all without actually emerging from their purdah (veil). The Sheesh Mahal (the Palace of Mirrors) has mirrored walls, which reflected and enhanced the lamplight, and was used by the women for bathing.

Last but not least is the two-storied octagonal tower known as the Musamman Burj, said to be the place from where Shah Jahan last saw his beloved Taj Mahal before dying.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Agra is in winter - between November and March, when the weather is at its best and the city plays host to some interesting festivals. Of these, arts and crafts fair known as the Taj Mahotsav (February 18-27) is perhaps the best-known, although the Sharadotsav (October), a cultural festival featuring eminent performers from across India, is also worth attending.

Trivia

Legend has it Shah Jahan who was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb was locked up here in a tower that had a view of the Taj Mahal, where his beloved Mumtaz Mahal was buried.

Timing

The Agra Fort is open to visitors from sunrise to sunset on all days of the week.


Travel Tools

World Weather World Time Converter
Currency Converter World Holidays & Festival
Travel Health & Tips Travel Insurance
TrainsTravel Features
 


Subscribe
Subscribe
Get the latest and the best on travel
Downloads
Downloads
Free Desktop Calendars!
Facebook
Stay Connected!
Come join our interactive community
Twitter
Quick Updates
Latest News, Deals, Views & more
 
© 2001 - 2014 JourneyMart.com. All rights reserved. Useful Links