Agra Fort – A Complete Guide. When you are planning to explore the history and heritage of India, Agra is one of the best places to head for. Home to an innumerable number of architectural wonders, Agra is a beautiful city to travel back to time.
Although the city is often associated entirely with Taj Mahal, but Agra Fort is another marvellous example of Mughal architecture that Agra flaunts proudly.
About Agra Fort
Agra is one city that puts excellent Mughal architecture on display for the world to behold. This city features as many as three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and Agra Fort is one of them.
This ancient fort still stands tall against the test of time while witnessing the ploy for politics, for power and for love. This fort city used to be the main royal abode to Mughal emperors, and it also served as the capital of the Mughal Empire until Emperor Akbar decided to shift his capital to Agra from Delhi in 1638.
The History of Agra Fort
Agra Fort is one of the most spectacular Mughal heritage structures in India. Realising the importance of the strategic position of Agra Fort, Mughal Emperor Akbar made this fort city his capital and abode in the year 1558.
In order to give the fort a complete makeover, Akbar restored the fort from its ruined condition and rebuilt it with red sandstone. That’s the reason; this fort is also known as the Red Fort.
Although Akbar was the one who primarily built this fort, however, it was only during the ruling days of Shah Jahan, Akbar’s grandson, this fort took on its present structure.
Unlike his grandfather, Shah Jahan was more in love with white marble when it came to erect buildings. He demolished few parts of Agra Fort and replaced them with white marble-made structures to mark his own signature style at this site.
Though Shah Jahan was the reigning Emperor of Mughal Dynasty, however, he spent his last days being only the captive of his own son, Aurangzeb. Shah Jahan was deposed and restrained by Aurangzeb in a small portion of the fort, and he breathed his last in Mausamman Burj, a tower with a view of the ethereal Taj Mahal.
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The Architecture Agra Fort
Standing at a distance of 2.5 km from Taj Mahal, Agra Fort (also known as the Red Fort of Agra) is a beautiful piece of Mughal craftsmanship. This 16th-century Mughal monument is made with bricks at the base, adding mainframe of the fort.
Red sandstone was laid on the external surface only to give the fort a red-hued appearance. This fort features a 2.5 km long enclosure wall which made this site almost invincible.
The construction of Agra Fort was initiated in 1565 and completed in 1573 under the supervision of Mughal Emperor Akbar. It then came under the ruling of Shah Jahan, Akbar’s grandson.
Shah Jahan added a few marble creations to this fort. Sprawling across an area of 380,000 square meters, Agra Fort is almost crescent in shape.
The outer wall is surrounded by a 9-meter wide and 10-meter deep moat. Visitors are allowed to enter the fort only through Amar Singh Gate. Jahangir Mahal is the first prominent building to encounter after making an entry to the fort.
Ornamental Persian verses are carved on a massive stone bowl. Akbar built another palace adjacent to Jahangir Mahal for his beloved queen Jodha Bai.
Another stunning creation standing inside the fort is Khas Mahal. This place flaunts prominent Islamic and Persian features. This mahal offers a classic example of paintings done on a white marble surface. Beside Khas Mahal, sits the Mausamman Burj.
This gorgeous octagonal tower with an open balcony was built by Shah Jahan, and this is the place where Shah Jahan was put under house arrest by his own son, Aurangzeb.
This tower offers a breath-taking view of Taj Mahal. Other must-see attractions of the fort include Sheesh Mahal, Diwan-I-Khas, Diwan-E-Aam, Moti Masjid and Nagina Masjid.
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Agra Fort Timings
Agra Fort opens its door for the visitors at 6 o’clock in the morning, and it shuts down the entry gate sharp at 6 o’clock in the evening. In general, the fort can be visited any time between sunrise and sunset. The fort remains open on all days of the week including holidays.
Agra Fort Entry Fees / Ticket Price
Entry Ticket to Agra Fort costs INR.40 per person for Indian visitors, and foreign nationals have to pay INR. 550 per person to secure the entry. Children below the age of 15 years don’t have to buy any Entry Ticket. Tickets are available at booking counters near the site.
There are several tickets booking counters selling entry tickets for Agra Fort, and therefore you can get your tickets in your hands within a few minutes of standing in the queue.
How To Reach Agra Fort?
Agra is well-connected by rail and road to all major cities of the country. Therefore, reaching Agra by train or by bus is very comfortable and light on the pocket. Book your train tickets well ahead of time to avoid the rush, particularly during the holiday season.
Yamuna Expressway, connecting Agra and Delhi, really offers a pleasurable road trip to this historical monument. There is a seasonal commercial airport at Agra which connects the city to New Delhi by Air India flights. After reaching Agra, you can take a cab to reach Agra Fort.
Tourist Attractions Near Agra Fort
When you are in Agra, it is a sin to miss Taj Mahal. If anything, that makes Agra world-famous is its architectural masterpieces, and Taj is the most fascinating of them all.
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Located at the banks of Yamuna River, this sparkling white marble made mausoleum was built by Shah Jahan to make his love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal immortal. Taj Mahal is not just a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Fatehpur Sikri is a stunning heritage destination in India. This place is just 40 km far from Agra, and it takes about one hour to cover the distance. This 16th-century fortified city was built by Mughal Emperor Akbar, and it served as the capital of the Mughal empire for 15 years.
Enclosed by an 11-kilometre long stretch of wall, Fatehpur Sikri is an excellent architectural piece from Mughal era flaunting Ind-Islamic styles. Akbar built three amazing palaces for his wives in Fatehpur Sikri to demonstrate his openness to all religions.
There is no dearth of remarkable historical monuments in the city of Agra. Akbar’s Tomb is one such ancient monument for sure. This is the final resting place of the Great Akbar.
Akbar himself started the construction of his tomb but his son, Jahangir finished it. This tomb showcases the typical Mughal style and symmetry. This structure also blends in Rajputana and Gothic style of architecture nicely to create a stunning treat to every sore eye.
Lying just opposite Taj Mahal across the Yamuna River, Mehtab Bagh is a spectacular crescent-shaped lush garden built by Shah Jahan in order to behold the gleaming beauty of Taj Mahal on full moon nights.
This garden allows tourists to have completely different views of Taj across the river. Dotted with pond, step fountain, sandstone domes and several small artefacts; this garden is an ideal spot to spend some quality time with your loved one.