When in Agra, Visit the Red Fort

Asia | | August 30, 2010 at 1:45 am




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When people visit Agra in India, they generally end up marking out some time to visit the Taj Mahal. There is a lot more that the region has to offer to everyone who decides to visit it. The Agra Fort stands at a distance of lower than 2 kilometers from the Taj Mahal.

Red Fort Agra

The Heydays of Agra:

The history of Agra is known to date back to around 2500 years. It wasn’t until the days of the Mughal emperors (Muslim rulers) that this region got the status of being a provincial city.

Humayun, son of Babur, who was the founder of the Mogul empire, received a number of precious gems and stones from the family of the King of Gwalior. One of these gifts included the oh-so-famous Kohinoor diamond. This precious and unique diamond is today said to be in the custody of the English, who had ruled over India for a good 150 years.

But things got even better for Agra when Humayun’s son Akbar took over the throne. Akbar the Great, as he was called, was the one under whose reign the Agra Fort was built.  The construction on the fort began in the year 1156 and was completed by the year 1605.  Shah Jahan, built the Taj Mahal, and he was responsible for building most of the buildings that stand inside this fortress as well.

The Fort:

The fort is built in such a way that it runs alongside the Yamuna River. It is said to stretch across about 25000 meters. The walls of this fort are said to have 2 gates, the Amar Singh Gate and the Delhi Gate. An entry to the fort would be possible only via the Amar Singh Gate.

Jehangir Mahal:

The first building that the visitors entering the fort would notice would be the Jehangir Mahal. Jehangir Mahal is said to have been built by King Akbar; and it served the purpose of being the women’s quarters. It is built out of stone and has a lot of decorations that cover the outside. A large stone bowl is placed here, which was probably used to contain rose water. There are Persian verses in ornamental fonts that have been carved on the outside of this stone bowl.

Jehangir Mahal

Khaas Mahal:

This marble mahal (palace) was built entirely by Shah Jahan. It represents features that are distinctly Islamic and are known to have Persian features as well. Though it was built by Mogul Emperors (Muslim rulers), this building of the Agra Fort is known to have Hindu features entwined in its construction. This was considered to be the sleeping room of the Emperor and is perhaps, the most successful and enticing example of painting that has been artistically achieved on a marble surface.

Khaas Mahal

Sheesh Mahal:

The Sheesh Mahal is said to be the best example when it comes to water engineering that is decorative as well as utilitarian. This was believed to double up as the dressing room; and the walls of this site were inlaid with mirrors all over. This is perhaps one of the most famous specimens when it comes to glass mosaic decoration that exists in India.

Sheesh Mahal

The Diwan-I-Khaas lies to the right of the Sheesh Mahal. This was the hall of the Private Audience. The kings would have their lighter moments here; with the courtesans to entertain and amuse them.

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