Agra Fort - Agra
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Ever since Babur defeated and killed Ibrahin Lodi at Panipat in 1526, Agra played an important center of Mughal Empire. Akbar chose this city on the bank of River Yamuna as his capital and proceeded to build a strong citadel for the purpose. It is said that he destroyed the damaged old fort of Agra for the purpose and raised this grand group of monuments instead in red sandstone. Started in 1565, it took eight years and thirty-five lakh rupees to complete its construction and is second only to Taj in Agra. Qasim Khan Mir Barr-u-Bahr supervised the construction of this building.
Agra Fort is entered today at the south end, through a low outer wall and gate built by Aurangzeb. Visitors then pass in succession through two of Akbar's gates, the Amar Singh and the Akbari, before finally gaining admittance to the fort proper. The original entrance to the fort was through the grander Delhi Gate in the west wall.
The gate was originally tiled. Although the colorful tile has been lost, the inlay patterns remain in the stone into which they were set. For defensive reasons, this gate is placed perpendicular to the walls. After passing through here, the visitor has to enter yet another gate, the Akbari Darwaza, before reaching the inside of the fort.
Akbari Darwaza ("Akbar's Gate") is the third and final gate which guards the south entrance to the fort. The gate pierces the fort's massive inner wall between these two protective towers, which still retain some traces of their original tiling.
This palace takes its name from Jahangir, but was built by Akbar sometime between 1560 and 1580. Lacking ground-story windows, it might have been used as a zenana. The large bowl in front was carved in 1611 from a single block of porphyry; it is variously said to have been used as a cistern, or as Jahangir's bathtub.
The ornate, sinuous carving and pendants on the brackets are typical of early Mughal style, much of which derives from Hindu forms. Additional examples of this type are seen in Fatehpur.
On the east side of the fort, this octagonal pavilion looks out across the Jumna River and countryside, and downstream to the Taj Mahal. It is said to be the tower where Shah Jahan was imprisoned. Next to the Burj in the photo left foreground is the rear of the Khass Mahal and its adjoining pavilions. Below are fortifications and the riverbank. The river was originally higher, reaching up to the base of the walls.
The inner chamber of Musamman Burj is exquisitely worked in marble decorated with pietra dura (colored stone inlay). At the bottom of the photo is the lip of the basin of an elaborate sunken marble fountain.
This is one of two pavilions flanking the Khass Mahal (left). Its curving bangla roof imitates the shape of Bengali thatched huts, in one of the characteristic styles of 17th century Mughal building. The pavilion overlooks the Jumna River to the east.
The Khass Mahal (Private Pavilion) dates from 1636. This was probably a multifunction room that could have been used for various kinds of gatherings, or even for sleeping.
The Diwan-i-Khass (Hall of Private Audience) was built in 1635 and was used to receive heads of state, ambassadors, and other diplomatic visitors to the Mugal court. The dome of the adjoining Musamman Burj is visible to the left.
The colonnade below the terrace level fronts a formal garden, the Anguri Bagh (Grape Garden). Underneath the terrace is a warren of rooms and chambers including hot-weather retreats and possibly a dungeon.
Built during the reign of Shah Jahan, the Diwan-i-Amm (Hall of Public Audience) was used for durbars, formal receptions in which the emperor would conduct state business while ceremoniously enthroned.
One of the large fortified residences built at various strategic points of Mughal Empire; it had over five hundred buildings, as mentioned by Abul Fazal in his chronicles. Most of the buildings added later use marble as the chief construction material. At the time of Akbar, River Yamuna touched the fort and thus, a number of ghats were built here. Some of these ghats were meant to load and unload goods transported through river and other covered passages were for use by the harem inmates only.
Timings - Open all days from 6:00 am to 5:30 pm.
Entry Fee - Rs.300 for foreign tourist and Rs.20 for Indian tourist
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