Located just around 1.5 km away from the majestic Taj Mahal, Agra fort is the second most visited historic site in Agra. Although I would like to think of this place as a prelude to the magnificent Taj since it is here all the story began. The Agra fort is probably the most extensive and intact Mughal architect in India which also laid a foundation for the Red fort in Delhi.
It had been the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal dynasty until 1638 when the capital shifted from Agra to Delhi. It feels like a walled city, a place so huge that can consist of anything and everything in it. The 94 acre fort has a semicircular plan and its walls are almost 70 ft high.
It only seemed to sink in as I walked and explored the fort. It’s enormous, the place!
The first thing you’ll see as you enter inside the fort is the Jahangir Mahal on the right. This was built by Akbar, the great Mughal emperor for his son Jahangir which later became the residence for the palace women. The bowl like structure you see in the front is Jahangir’s bath tub. It’s about 5 ft tall and I was amazed to see such a different style. Made me wonder how our modern bathtubs evolved from this?
Inside the Jahangir Mahal, you’ll see such fine intrinsic designs on red sandstone. I love how it’s so detailed. One thing to note here is this is made by Akbar who was fond of red sandstone very well clear by the Agra fort and the Delhi fort.
His grandson Shah Jahan on the other hand disliked the sandstone and favoured white marble instead which is very clear by the Taj Mahal which he built. He also demolished parts of this fort and rebuilt it using white marble.
You can easily distinguish the areas made by Akbar or Shah Jahan this way. The fort seamlessly blends both together perfectly – just like the old with the new.
The Khas Mahal, rebuilt by Shah Jahan used as bed chambers is beautifully decorated with floral designs and precious gems.
It is said that Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his very own son Aurangzeb in this fort in an area called Musamman Burj for almost 8 years. Decorated with fountains and white marble, it also has a spectacular view of the Taj Mahal. He breathe his last here pining for his wife while looking at the Taj.
The diwan-e-aam which served as the hall for common audience lies on the ground floor of the fort. An raised seat for the king is present where he used to hear to the audience woes and answer accordingly.
The hall is huge and the arches are so well symmetrical. I love how symmetrical the building is even when when machines weren’t invented.
There are so many hidden gems in here which you can only find and only marvel at the life these Mughal emperors lived. This fort is where Akbar resided, Shah Jahan spent his childhood, fell in love with Mumtaz, built the Taj Mahal and finally breath his last. This fort stands tall to narrate the story of love, family, betrayal and power.
Things to remember when you visit:
- Food items, cigarettes, lighters, matchboxes, tripods and drones are not allowed inside the premises
- You can buy tickets on premise.
- Carry a water bottle with you as it can get hot and humid.
- You would have to walk a lot since this place is huge. Wear comfortable footwear and clothes.
- Be ready to see a lot of tourists inside the premise. So the earlier you go, the better view you get.
- Hire a guide but only after checking his ID. You would appreciate this place more if you know the story behind it.
It opens from 6am till 6pm every day.
How to Reach:
Situated just 230 km from Delhi, you can either go by air or rails. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can go on a road trip through Yamuna expressway which takes around 3 hours to reach from Delhi.
Do you have a question?
Do you have any more questions about visiting this place? Ask me and let me make your trip a little easier 🙂
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