Agra Fort is a historical fort in the city of Agra in India. It was the main residence of emperors of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638, when the capital was shifted from Agra to Delhi. In 1983, the Agra Fort has been inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is about 2.5 km northwest of its famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. Agra Fort is the only fort in India where all early Mughal emperors lived.
Agra Fort was built by Akbar in 1558. The fort stands on an ancient site and was traditionally known as Badalgarh. Architects laid the foundation and it was built with bricks in the inner core with sandstone on external surfaces. Some 4000 builders worked on it daily 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. Shah Jahan built the beautiful Taj Mahal in the memory of his wife, Mumtaz 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.
The 380,000 m2 fort has a semi-circular plan, its chord lies parallel to the river Yamuna 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 gate are notable: the “Delhi Gate” and the “Lahore Gate”. The Lahore Gate is also popularly known as the “Amar Singh Gate”, for Amar Singh Rathore. The monumental Delhi Gate, which faces the city on the western side of the fort, is considered the grandest of the four gates and a masterpiece of Akbar’s time.
This monolithic tank was used for bathing. It is 5feet high, 8feet in diameter and 25feet in circumference.
It is situated in between the white marble Khas Mahal and the red stone Jahangiri Mahal and is set transitionally in between these two residential complexes of two different ages.
The gate originally belonged to the tomb of Mahmud Ghaznavi at Ghazni. It was brought from there by the British in 1842.
This is the spot where Mughal king Jahangir instituted his ‘chain of justice’. It was made of pure gold. It was 80’ in length and had 60 bells. It’s weight was 1 Quintal.
This beautiful palace surmounts the largest bastion of Agra Fort on the riverside, facing the East. It was originally built of red stone by Akbar who used it for jharokha darshan, as well as for sun worship.
It was built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan as a part of summer palace. Its most distinctive feature is glass mosaic work done on its walls and ceiling. These glass pieces have high mirror quality which glittered and twinkled in thousand ways in semi-dark interior. The glass was imported from Haleb of Syria.
Bricks formed the base of Agra Fort’s structure. Red and sandstone was brought all the way from Rajasthan and that was laid on the external surfaces. Back then, the entire fort was built using the red sandstone. This appearance of the fort underwent a major change during the reign of Shah Jahan. Unlike his grandfather, Shah Jahan was smitten by the beauty of white marble. Hence, he destroyed many structures within the fort, only to rebuild them using white marble.
Agra Fort has many secret subterranean apartments and edifices. It is said that the entire fort is interconnected through tunnels and other underground pathways. According to historians, the emperors who owned the fort during their respective reigns are said to have contributed to the secret tunnels for obvious reasons. One such known tunnel is located near the Water Gate, connecting the fort to the banks of river Yamuna.