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Agra Fort, Agra

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Agra Fort, Agra Tours

The great Mughal Emperor Akbar commissioned the construction of the Agra Fort in 1565 A.D., although additions were made till the time of his grandson Shah Jahan. The forbidding exteriors of this fort hight an inner pardise. The fort is crescent shaped, flattended on the east with a long, nearly straight wall facing the river. It has a total perimeter of 2.4 k.m., and is ringed by double castellated ramparts of red sandstone punctuated at regular intervals by bastions. A 9 mt. wide and 10 mt. deep moat surround the outer wall.

There are number of exquisite building like the Moti Masjid-a white marvel mosque akin to a perfect pearl, Diwan-e-Am, Diwan-e-Khaas, Jehangir's Palace, Khaas Mahal, Shish Mahal and Musamman or Samman Burj-where Shahjahan was held captive in 1666 A.D.

The fort had originally four gates, two of which were later walled up. Delhi Gate in the west is fortified by massive octagonal towers and faces the bazar and leads to the lama Masjid in the city. Its architectural plan was imperviously devised to put the defenders in an advantageous position. Delhi gate is now closed for visitors. The Amar Singh Gate lies to the South and is defended by a square bastion flanked by round towers. It had a crooked entrance with dangerous trap points and a steep rise. Its Naubat Kbana Court with pillared pavilions is an impressive structure. Visitors are allowed entry through this gate only.

Buildings Inside the Agra Fort

Sheesh Mahal

Opposite to the Mussaman Burj and just below the Diwan-i-Khaas hall is the Sheesh Mahal or the Glass Palace. It is believed to have been the harem dressing room and its walls are inlaid with tiny mirrors which are the best specimens of glass-mosaic decoration in India. The Sheesh Mahal is composed of two large halls of equal size, each measuring 11. 15m x 6.40 m. Both are connected in the centre by a broad arched opening and on the sides by two narrow passages.

Diwan-I-Khaas

To the right of Sheesh Mahal is Diwan-i-Khaas, the Hall of Private Audience. Presently entry is not allowed inside Diwan-i-Khaas but the fine proportions of the building can easily be preciated. The marble pillars are inlaid with semi-precious stones in delightful floral patterns.

Jahangiri Mahal

Jahangiri Mahal, Agra Vacations

This is the first notable building that the visitor sees on his right hand side at the end of a spacious lawn, as one enters through the Amar Singh Gate and emerges out of the passage. It was built by Akbar as women's quarters and is the only building that survives among his original palace buildings. It is built of stone & is simply decorated on the exterior. The most important feature of the edifice are its ornamental stone brackets which support the beams. In front is a large stone bowl which was probably used to contain fragrant rose water. - Ornamental Persian verses have been carved along the outer rim, which record its construction by Jahangir in 1611 A.D. This elegant, double storeyed palace reflects a strong Hindu influence with protruding balconies and domed chhatries.

Anguri Bagh

These formal, 85m square, geometric gardens lie to the left of the fort. During Shah Jahan's time the beauty of the gardens was considerably enhanced by decorative flower beds.

Golden Pavilions

The curved chala roofs of the small pavilions by the Khaas Mahal are based on the roof shape of Bengali village huts constructed out of curved bamboo, designed to keep off heavy rain. The shape was first expressed in stone by the Sultans of Bengal. Originally gilded, these were probably ladies' bedrooms, with hiding places for jewellery in the walls. These pavilions are traditionally associated with Shah Jahan's daughters-Roshanara and Jahanara Begum.

Khaas Mahal

Khaas Mahal, Agra Tours

Situated in between the golden pavilions is the Khaas Mahal. Built entirely of marble by Shah Jahan, the palace demonstrates distinctive Islamic-Persian features. These are well blended with a striking range of Hindu features such as chhatries. It is considered to be emperor's sleeping room or' Aramgah', The Khaas Mahal provides the most successful example of painting on a white marble surface.

Musammanburj

On the left of the Khaas Mahal is the Musamman Burj built by Shah Jahan. It is a beautiful octagonal tower with an open pavilion. With its openness, elevation and the benefit of cool evening breezes blowing in off the Yamuna river, this could well have been used also as the emperor's bedroom. This is where Shah Jahan lay on his death bed, gazing at the Taj. Access to this tower is through a magnificently decorated and intimate appartment with a scalloped fountain in the centre. The inlay work here is exquisite, especially above the pillars. In front of the fountain is a sunken courtyard which could be flooded and in the Sheesh Mahal opposite are further examples of decorative water engineering in the hammams.