Originally built by the local hindu leaders around the year 1,000, this fort was later adopted by the first Mughal leader in the area, Sikander Lodi in the late 1400's. Today the fort is still used by the Indian military but the most interesting portions are open to the public.
The fort in Agra is more like a walled city than just a defence structure. It was originally a brick fort and was first mentioned in history in 1080. In 1488 Sikandar Lodi the first Sultan of Delhi moved to Agra and live here until he died in 1517 when his son Ibrahim Lodi held it until he was defeated in battle in 1526. In these nine years he built several palaces, wells and a mosque.
The fort was now under Mughal rule but changes hands several time until Mughal emperor Akbar took it in 1556. It was Akbar who rebuilt the fort with red sandstone when he realised the importance of its location.
His grandson, Shah Jahan (creator of the Taj Mahal) made the changes to what is now the current state. Shah Jahan liked to build with white marble decorated with inlaid semi-precious stones and he replaced some of the original buildings. Things didn't go well for Jahan as he was deposed by his son Aurangzeb and imprisoned in the Muasamman Burj. He lived in this tower with a view of his beloved Taj Mahal until he died.
As well as the tower the walls enclose some remarkable buildings and gardens.
Anguri Bagh - the Grape Garden
Diwan-i-Am - the Hall of Public Audience
Diwan-i-Khas - the Hall of Private Audience
Jahangiri Mahal - built by Akbar for his son Jehangir
Khas Mahal - white marble palace
It was listed as World Heritage in 1983
Entry is 300Rs between sunrise and sunset.
Starting to be a military establishment in the XVI century, the Red Fort, facing from distance the Taj Mahal, was later converted into a palace, suffering several additions and transformations, giving an impression of a city within the city.
We can’t visit much, but the marble mosque inside the fort is very beautiful. we also appreciated the views over the river, with Taj Mahal in background.
Yet another great place to see in Agra is the Red Fort ... or Agra Fort .... this building sitting on top of a hill overlooking the Yumuna river ... This fort is huge ... built between 1565 and 1573 by Akbar .... admission price was 250 rupees and we spent about 2 hours here .... saw everything in a non rushed way ..... be aware monkey's are everywhere as you enter ... and tons and tons of people also come here after visiting the the Taj ..... A UNESCO World Heritage site ... A must do while in Agra !!!!
Jahangiri Mahal , may be the most noteworthy building inside the Agra Fort of India. The Mahal was the principal zenana (palace for women belonging to the royal household), and was used mainly by the Rajput wives of Akbar.
The 94-acre (380,000 m2) fort has a semicircular plan, its chord lies parallel to the river and its walls are seventy feet high. Double ramparts have massive circular bastions at intervals, with battlements, embrasures, machicolations and string courses. Four gates were provided on its four sides, one Khizri gate opening on to the river.
Two of the fort's gates are notable: the "Delhi Gate" and the "Lahore Gate." The Lahore Gate is also popularly also known as the Amar Singh Gate, for Amar Singh Rathore.
It was originally a brick fort, held by the Hindu Sikarwar. It was mentioned for the first time in 1080 AD when a Ghaznavide force captured it. Sikandar Lodi (1488–1517) was the first Sultan of Delhi who shifted to Agra and lived in the fort. He governed the country from here and Agra assumed the importance of the second capital. He died in the fort in 1517 and his son, Ibrahim Lodi, held it for nine years until he was defeated and killed at Panipat in 1526. Several palaces, wells and a mosque were built by him in the fort during his period.
After Panipat, Mughals captured the fort and a vast treasure - which included a diamond that was later named as the Koh-i-Noor diamond - was seized. Babur stayed in the fort in the palace of Ibrahim. He built a baoli (step well) in it. Humayun was crowned here in 1530. Humayun was defeated in Bilgram in 1540. Sher Shah held the fort for five years. The Mughals defeated the Afghans finally at Panipat in 1556.
Realizing the importance of its central situation, Akbar made it his capital and arrived in Agra in 1558. His historian, Abdul Fazal, recorded that this was a brick fort known as 'Badalgarh' . It was in a ruined condition and Akbar had it rebuilt with red sandstone from Barauli area in Rajasthan. Architects laid the foundation and it was built with bricks in the inner core with sandstone on external surfaces. Some 1,444,000 builders worked on it for eight years, completing it in 1573.
It was only during the reign of Akbar's grandson, Shah Jahan, that the site took on its current state. The legend is that Shah Jahan built the beautiful Taj Mahal for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Unlike his grandfather, Shah Jahan tended to have buildings made from white marble, often inlaid with gold or semi-precious gems. He destroyed some of the earlier buildings inside the fort in order to make his own.
At the end of his life, Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son, Aurangzeb, in the fort. It is rumored that Shah Jahan died in Muasamman Burj, a tower with a marble balcony with a view of the Taj Mahal.
The fort was the site of a battle during the Indian rebellion of 1857, which caused the end of the British East India Company's rule in India, and led to a century of direct rule of India by Britain.
This is a memorable sight viewing the Taj from Agra Fort. When Emperor Shahjahan was arrested by his own son Aurangjeb, he was kept at Agra Fort. He was allowed to gaze his beloved Tajmahal from Agra Fort through out the day till his death. A seat was also erected for him, where he will sit and gaze his beloved wife's Mausoleum The Tajmahal.
Almost all the tourist visit the Agra Fort take picture from this place, including us.
The personal residence of the Emperor, Khas Mahal, was built in 1631 by Shah Jahan. He had the older red sandstone palace of Akbar's era razed in order to construct Khas Mahal in the new imperial taste. It is a white marble pavilion surrounded by a portico with polyfoil arches, and its walls are richly decorated with floral and geometric motifs painted in white and silver. On one side, Khas Mahal enjoys panoramic views over the River Yamuna, and on the other it overlooks the beautifully landscaped garden, Anguri Bagh. Flanking Khas Mahal are two identical golden pavilions, which were built for the Emperor's daughters, Jahanara and Roshanara.
Long gone are the grape vines that gave this garden its name (anguri = grape, bagh = garden), but its four quadrants surrounding the central fountain are still beautifully landscaped to this day. This courtyard lies to the south-east of Diwan-i-Am and is surrounded on three sides by a double storeyed structure with elegant polyfoil arches and intricate red sandstone jali balustrades. These buildings were built by Shah Jahan in 1637 as part of the zenana, the private women's quarters of the Fort. On the eastern side lies the Khas Mahal, the private palace of the emperor, which overlooked the grape garden.
Standing between Machchhi Bhavan and Musamman Burj, Diwan-i-Khas was the "Hall of Private Audience," where the emperor received his closest guests. This palatial hall was built in 1635 by Shah Jahan, and it was decorated according to the imperial taste of the time, which consisted of polyfoil arches and inlaid floral motifs over white marble walls. Outside Diwan-i-Khas is a large open terrace exhibiting the thrones of Jehangir and Shah Jahan, which enjoy panoramic views over the River Yamuna and the Taj Mahal, while next to it is the large courtyard, Machchhi Bhavan, surrounded by arched porticoes (see separate tips). Below Diwan-i-Khas is the extravagant Shish Mahal, the "Glass Palace," decorated with glass mosaics imported all the way from Aleppo in Syria. Unfortunately, Shish Mahal was not open to the public when I visited in Feb 2009.
Located east of Diwan-i-Am, Machchhi Bhavan is a cloister-like courtyard surrounded by beautiful double arcaded porticoes, with polyfoil arches and intricately carved balustrades. Its name "Machchhi Bhavan" translates to "Fish Quarters," probably in reference to non-extant fish tanks that were once placed in the middle of the courtyard. A monumental gateway lies at the centre of its northern side, while the Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of the Private Audience) and an open terrace border it on the eastern side.
Constructed entirely from white marble, this tiny mosque was reserved for the ladies of the Agra Fort. Its name, Nagina Masjid, means "Jewel Mosque". It consists of an open prayer hall with polyfoil arches and is crowned by three onion-shaped domes. Emperor Shah Jahan built this mosque in 1631.
This large hypostyle hall was the Diwan-i-Am, or the "Hall of Public Audience." It is where the Emperor received his ministers and administered the affairs of the Mughal Empire. The large rectangular structure was built in 1628 by Shah Jahan in red sandstone but it was plastered over and decorated in stucco to look like white marble. Its series of columns and polyfoil arches have a dazzling effect in the interior, which also contains the throne on which the Emperor sat. Diwan-i-Am lies on the eastern end of the large landscaped courtyard surrounded by arcaded red sandstone porticoes. The courtyard has two monumental entrances on the northern and southern sides. Originally, the public entered through the northern entrance which connected directly to the Delhi Gate, while the southern entrance was a private one. Nowadays, visitors enter through the southern gate, while the northern gate is restricted.
Named after the brother of the Maharaja of Jodhpur who was executed here in 1644, the Amar Singh Gate is the southern entrance of the Agra Fort. It is nowadays the visitors' entrance as well, and consists of three successive defensive gateways intended to deter any invader. Each gateway is beautifully decorated, but the most exquisite is the third one, whose two polygonal bastions are partly covered in colourful decorative glazed tiles, albeit badly preserved.