Agra Fort: Home of Mughals

Agra fort is the most important fort of India, The great mughals: Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jehan and Aurangzeb lived here and country was governed from here. It contained the largest state treasury and mint. It was visited by foreign ambassadors, Travelers and the highest dignitaries who participated in the making of medieval history of India. No other fort of India had this honor.
Agra Fort : Front Gate
                                              
Agra Fort : Front Gate
Agra fort stands on an ancient site just by the river Yamuna. It was brick fort and Chauhan Rajputs held it. It is mentioned for the first time in 1080 AD when a Ghaznavide force captured it. Sikandar lodhi (1487-1517) was the first sultan of Delhi who shifted to Agra and lived in the fort. He governed the country from here and Agra assumed the prominence of the second capital. He died in the fort in 1517 and his son Ibrahim lodhi held it for 9 years until he was defeated and killed at Panipat in 1526. Several places, Wells and a Mosque were built in the fort during the lodhi period.
Taj Mahal's distant view from Agra fort
                                    
Taj Mahal's distant view from Agra fort
After Panipat, Mughal captured the Agra fort and a vast treasure –which included the diamond later named “Koh-i-noor” was seized. Babur stayed in the fort in the palace of Ibrahim. He built a baori (Steep well) in it. Humayun was coronated here in 1530, after the defeat at Chausa in 1539, he returned to Agra. Nizam water carrier (Saqqa) who had saved humayun from drowning was crowned here for half a day and he issued a menial currency. Humayun was defeated at Bilgram in 1540. Sher Shah held it for 5 years. The Mughal defeated the Afghans finally at Panipat in 1556.
 

Realizing the importance of the central situation, Akbar (1556-1605) decided to make Agra his capital. He arrived here in 1558. His historian abul fazl recorded that this was a brick fort, known as ‘Badalgarh’. It was in ruined condition and Akbar ordered it to be rebuilt with Red Sandstones. Foundations were laid by expert architects and it was massively built with bricks in inner core and stones at external surfaces. Some 4000 builders daily worked on it and it was completed in 8 years (1565-1573).
Jahangir Mahal Agra Fort
                                           Jahangir Mahal Agra Fort

The fort has a semi-circular plan, its chord lying parallel to the river. Its walls are 70 feet high. Double ramparts have massive circular bastions at regular intervals, battlements, embrasures, machicolations and string courses. Four gates were provided on its Four sides. one " khizri gate' opening on the river, where series of Ghats (quays) was also built.
 

Abul fazl recorded that 500 buildings in the beautiful designs of Bengal and Gujarat were built in it. Some of these were demolished by shah jahan to make room for his white marble palaces. But they were mostly destroyed by the British between 1803 to 1862 for raising barracks. Hardly 30 mughal buildings have survived on the south-eastern side, facing the river. Of these, the delhi-gate and akbar-gate and one palace: 'bengali-mahal', are representative akbari buildings. The delhi- gate faces the city. A draw-bridge and crooked entrance made it impregnable. Two life-size stone elephants, with their riders were placed on its inner gate which was called "hathi-pol" delhi-gate was monumentally built as the king's formal gate. 'Akbar gate' was renamed 'Amar singh gate' by the british. This gate is similar to the delhi-gate. Both are built of red stone. The bengali-mahal is also built of red stone and is now split into 'akbari-mahal' and'jahangiri-mahal'.
Taj Mahal distant view in the backdrop of river yamuna
                     Taj Mahal distant view in the backdrop of river yamuna

Akbar died and jahangir was coronated in the fort in 1605. The latter mostly resided at lahore and kashmir, though he visited agra regularly and lived in the fort. Agra continued to be the capital of the Mughal Empire. Shah jahan was also crowned in the fort in 1628. He was a great builder and its white marble palaces belong to him. He built three white marble mosques in it: moti-masjid, nagina-masjid and mina-masjid.
 

After the battle of samogarh in 1658, aurangzeb besieged the fort and stopped its water supply from the river. Shah jahan could not drink the well water and surrendered. Auranagzeb imprisoned him, his own father, in the fort where he lived as a prisoner for 8 years. He died in 1666 and was buried in the Taj mahal. The barbicans around the two gates and on the river-side were built by aurangzeb to strengthen its defenses.
Corridors in Agra fort
                                           Corridors in Agra fort

Though shah jahan had transferred his capital to Delhi, formally in 1638, he continued to live here. But after his death, Agra lost its grandeur; aurangzeb remained busy in the deccan conflict. Yet, time and again, he lived here and held the durbar. Shivaji came to agra in 1666 and met aurangzeb in diwan-i-khas. He was betrayed and imprisoned, though the wily maratha ultimately escaped. Aurangzeb's death in 1707 threw the affairs of the mughal empire to chaos. The 18th century history of agra fort is a saga of sieges and plunder. It was held by jats and marathas. The British captured it from the marathas in 1803. They garrisoned it and converted it into an arsenal.
 

The mughal palaces have remained in a small, south-eastern portion of the fort and only this area is protected and conserved by the archeological survey of India. Agra fort is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Out of bound part of Agra Fort
                                      Out of bound part of Agra Fort

How to reach: Agra fort is situated very close to Bijaligarh Bus stand and Agra fort railway station. There are frequent shared autos from the Western Gate of Taj Mahal. You can easily locate it if you are following the road adjacent to the bank of river Yamuna. Ask around, everyone in Agra will direct you.

Entrance fee: India (20 INR), Foreigners (300 INR)

Agra Fort Timings: Sunrise to sunset

Daily Sound and Light show at Agra fort:
India-40 INR, Student-25 INR, Foreigners- 150 INR
Hindi Show- 07:00 PM, English Show- 08:00 PM

Plan of Agra Fort
                                                  Plan of Agra Fort
                           Important Monuments inside Agra Fort Complex

Jahangir's Hauz (1610 A.D)

 

This circular bowl-shaped monolithic tank (hauz) is 5 feet high, 8 feet in diameter and 25 feet in circumference at the RIM. It has stairs on the internal and external sides, which shows that it was not buried in the ground and was mobile. So that it could be transported and used in the camp, as well as in the Harem Palace for bathing. It was made by order of the mughal king Jahangir. A Persian inscription was carved in the ten ornamental cartouches on the external side of the RIM. It has five couplets, only two are readable and mention it as "Hauz-I-Jahangiri" which also gives 1610 A.D as the date of its construction.
Jahangir's Hauz Agra fort
                                             Jahangir's Hauz

It was first discovered in a court of Akbar's Palace in the fort in 1843 and was placed in front of Diwan-I-Am. In 1862, it was removed to public gardens (company gardens) where it suffered much of the damage. Sir John Marshal brought it back to Agra fort and placed it here. It is owing to this hauz of Jahangir that this palace became famous as "Jahangiri-Mahal", though it is only a part of Akbar's "Bengali-Mahal".
Ruins of Bengali Mahal Agra Fort
The Bengali-Mahal (1565-1569 A.D)

The Bengali-Mahal was a vast palace which originally extended from the south eastern tower walled Bengali Burj to the Machchhi Bhawan. It overlooked the river Jamuna which provided a pleasant landscape, fresh air and constant supply of water. IT was built by Akbar and was named as such owing to Banglauar (Curved) Chhajjas and roofs of its buildings. Underground apartments in two storeyes are situated beneath this palace. Shah Jahan built his white marble palaces on its northern part. The remaining portion is ar present split into two palaces. Akbar Mahal and Janagiri-Mahal. The Former has a spacious court which had mansions around it. Only the river side apartments have now survived. There were smaller courts and complexes, toilers, service quarters and a large Baori (Stepwell) with a well. The east India company first used it as provostergeant quarters and then as a prison. The latter palace also has a large central court with assembly halls and living rooms around it. Most of these were in ruins and were restored by John Marshal between 1902 and 1911 A.D.
Ruins of Akbar's Mahal Agra fort
                                       Ruins of Akbar's Mahal Agra fort

The palace is entirely built of RED sandstone. Construction is tradeated with emphatic use of designed brackets supporting the chhajjas as well as lintels. Flat Ceilings have been used in the wide variety even on large assembly halls. Ingeniously some ladaodar ceilings built of stone Ribs and panels are unique. Glazed-Tiling and Stucco have been used along with stone carving for ornamentation. Designs are indigenous as well as exotic. The whole composition is unique and harmonious. This happy trend is reflective of the composite culture which developed under the Mughals.
Bengali Mahal and Akbar Mahal
                                      Bengali Mahal and Akbar Mahal
Akbar's harem was housed in this palace. Historian Abul-Fazl recorded that Akbar made a large enclosure with fine building inside where he reposes. Though there are more than 5000 women. He has given each a separate apartment. It was a sensitive matter and called for efficient organization. Chaste women and trustworthy officers were appointed in the service of Harem. It was carefully guarded. Women were paid monthly salaries ranging from Rupees 1028 to 1610. Maid-Servants were kept in large numbers for cleaning, lighting and other duties of the household. They received salaries from Rupees 2 to 51. All this was well organized and kept in perfect order.
Shahjahani Mahal Agra fort
                                                  
Shahjahani Mahal
The Shahjahani Mahal (1628-35 A.D)
It is situated in between the white marble khas-Mahal and the red stone Jehangiri-Mahal and is set transitionally in between these two major residential complexes, of two different ages. It is the earliest attempt of the Mughal king Shah Jehan to convert an existing Red Stone building in accordance with his taste, and it is his earliest palace in Agra fort. It has a large hall and side rooms and an octagonal tower on the river-side. The skeletal construction of brick masonry and red stone was all white stuccoed with a thick plaster and colorfully painted in floral designs and whole palace once glistened white. Like white marble on its face towards the Khas-Mahal is a large spacious white marble Dalan, composed of five 9- cusped arches supported on double pillars and protected externally by a chhajja. Its western bay is closed to house the Ghaznin-Gate. Babur's Baoli and well are situated beneath it. The subterranean apartments in several storeys and phansighar are also situated under this palace.
Ghaznin gate Agra fort
                                                
Ghaznin Gate
Ghaznin-gate (1030 A.D)
This gate originally belonged to the tomb of mahmud ghaznavi at ghazni. He died in 1030 A.D. it was brought prom there by the british in 1842. It was claimed, in the historic proclamation of lord Ellenborough, the governor general, that these were the sandalwood gates of somnath which mahmud had taken to ghaznin in 1025, and the british has thus avenged an insult of 800 years back. This false claim was made just to win the goodwill of the indian people. The gate is, in fact made of local deodar wood of ghaznin and not of sandalwood. The style of decoration bears no resemblance to ancient gujarati Wood work. There is also an Arabic inscription carved on the upper side. It mentions mahmud with his epithets. Sir John marshall had placed here a notice-board which described the whole episode and this gate.

 

It is 16-1/2 feet high and 13-1/2 feet broad and its weight is about half a ton. It is made up of geometrical, hexagonal and octagonal panels which have been fixed, one with the help of the other, into the frame, without rivets.
 

The idea to restore it at somnath was ultimately given up and the gate was abandoned. Since then, it is stored in this room. In no way is it relates to this fort, or the mughals, and it is lying here either as a war trophy of the British campaign of 1842 A.D, or as a sad reminder of the historic lies of the east India co.
The Khas Mahal Aramgah and Anguri Bagh
                                     The Khas Mahal Aramgah and Anguri Bagh

Subterranean apartments and phansighar (11569 1658 A.D)
An underground  complex of  stairways, corridor, tunnels and rooms. In two storeys, exists beneath the palaces, all along the river side originally. It extended from the baori (step-well) near bengali-Burj to the machchhi bhawan and had entrances from the baori. Eastern court of jehangiri-mahal. Anguri bagh and muthamman-burj. In fact Akbar built his palace, Which originally covered this area, on the existing structures which were converted and used to serve as its foundational basement with which every quarter of his palace was secretly connected. This is also how it assumed such a gigantic height from the river. It housed his harem (seraglio) which had 6000 women (including maids). As historian asul fazl recorded, and ' notwithstanding the great number of faithful guards". Akbar kept his own vigilance "through this complex all entrances as also the original stairways tunnels and corridors have been enclosed up from time to time and it can now accessible only by this window.
 

An octagonal room in its first floor had a phansighar (execution chamber : with a 18.5 feet long wooden beam across ft for private execution of offenders of the harem chastity babur baori and well a tank with cascade and series of rooms are also there. Slits for ventilation are given in the corridor chruns all along the fort wall. There is also a jharokha the second floor below it is more spacious and has larger apartments and a more complex network of halls, rooms and corridor. Agra fort contained the largest treasury of the mughal empire and this floor probably reserved for storing treasures in gold silver coins and jewelry. These underground apartments have now been closed for security ‘reasons. They remain as great a mystery today as they were during the mughal times.
Way to Zanana mina bajar and Mandir Raja Ratan
                        Way to Zanana mina bajar and Mandir Raja Ratan

Babur's baoli and overhead tanks (water-works) (1527-1573 A. D.)
This is the spot where babur's baoli and water-works were situated. Babur recorded in his memoirs that he built a stone baori (step-well) in agra fort. It had three-storeys, the bullock turned the water- wheel (rehant) for raising water. In the second storey all these opened on the stairs which descended down to water. It was completed after the battle of khanwa in 1527 a.d. and babur placed there an inscription. A well was attached to it at a higher level and water from the baoli was first raised to this well. A 'rehant' also worked in it "by- means" of which water is carried along the ramparts to the high garden", as babur recorded.

Distant view of Diwan I Am
                                        Distant view of Diwan I Am
Shahi - hammam & water supply system (c. 1570-1658 A.D.)

The shaw hammam, also called ghusl-khanah, was originally built by akbar and was renovated by shah jehan. It is a closed complex of octagonal halls and rooms, interconnected by corridors, with only a few jali openings on the river-side. The instrument room above the furnaces had two large deghs (pots) of brass and copper, clay and copper pipes, sunk mysteriously in the masonry walls, were conducted to other rooms some of which also had miniature tanks hidden in corners at dado-height the secret of this mechanism is not known to us today. Construction is in brick masonry but pavements and dados were originally finished in white marble. Walls were stuccoed and painter. Every room is connected by a hypocaust-system. A ventilator is provided at the apex of each cupola shaped domed ceiling. Some backyard quarters served the purpose of imperial toilet. Its mechanism shows that some sort of air-conditioning was worked and this was mainly used as a summer palace for conducting business of confidential nature, as foreign travelers name observed. It ranks among the finest hammams of the mughals.
 

There are three deep tanks on its roof. These were filled by the river-water, drawn by rehant (water-wheel) near the khizri or water-gate. From these overhead tanks, water was supplied to the fountains, water-falls and tanks of nagina-masjid, machchhi bhawan, shish-mahal ano- muth amman-burj through water-tight clay and copper pipes and open nalis. River water in mughal time s was clean pure and fully potable. King Shah jehan used it for drinking. Aurangzeb besieged the fort after the battle of samogarh and stopped its water supply from the river forcing the king to surrender on 8 june 1658 thereafter, aurangzeb secured the fort gates by additional barbicans.
Nagina Masjid
                                                 Nagina Masjid
The Nagina masjid (c. 1635 A.D.)

It is a private mosque built entirely op white marble, by the mughal king shan jehan, c. 1635 A.D, for use by the ladies of the harem with court on its three sides. It is open and airy though it has been adequately enclosed for purdah. It is two aisles deep with a three-arched facade. Piers have been used to support the cusped arches, the central one being larger than the side ones. The chhajja protecting the facade is curved in the middle above the central arch and so is the parapet. Three bulbous domes, crowneo by lotus-petals and kalash-finials, constitute the superstructure : the central one is higher than the side domes. The bangladar feature : the circular curve of the chhajja and parapet, gives prominence to the nave and the elevation and |ns is its distinctive characteristic. Both ceilings of the nave are also triangular bangladar. A miniature water-tank with cascade is provided in the eastern wall, for ablution (wuzu). Of the private harem mosques of shah jehan, this beautiful masjid is excelled only by its younger sister: the moti-masjid, red fort Delhi (c.1658-53).
Diwan-I-Am Agra Fort
                                                    Diwan-I-Am

The Diwan-I-Am (The Hall of Public Audience) (1628-35 A.D)

This palace was built by the mughal king Shah Jehan who later commissioned similar halls in the forts of Lahore and Delhi, Originally there was no stone and mortar. Diwan-I-Am building in this fort and the assembly was held in a cloth tent and then in a wooden hall as recorded by the historian. It is places in the middle of the eastern sides of a large chowk, with arcaded dalans on all sides, which is the basic design of Shah Jehanian Diwan-i-AM. It is pillared hall which measures 208*75 Feet and has 9 broad semi-circular, 9 cusped engrailed arches on the facade and 3 arches on each side, supported on grand double-columns. It is 3- aisles deep and is composed of symbolic 40 pillar sites (Chihil-Situn), making 27 auspicious astronomical bays. Though built of red sandstone, the whole of it has been while shell-plastered, looking like marble. The imperial charokha (throne) chamber in the middle of the eastern walls is of white marble with inlay ornamentation. Historians noted that there was a silver balustrade and the nobles stood here in perfect order. Humility and submission, in attendance to their king who transacted day to day state business here.

 

It is noteworthy that unlike the fatehpur sikri Diwan-I-Am of akbar which faces east, it faces west, the direction of the holy Kabah. It was converted into an arsenal by the British East India co (1803-87) and was restored by archeological survey of India.

Courtsey: Archeological Survery of India, Agra Circle

 

Agra's hot properties
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Agra Fort
* Akbar's Tomb Sikandara
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Offbeat monuments of Agra
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* Hessing's Tomb
* Chini Ka Rauza
* Ram Bagh
* Tomb of Sadiq Khan
* Tomb of Mariam Zamani
* Tomb of Itmad-ud-daulah
* Mehtab Bagh
* Lost Monuments
------------------------------------------------------------------

Taj Mahal in Moon light

Food Joints in Agra

Commutation in Agra

Important Tourist Map of Agra

Train's Timetable at Agra's railwaystations

this is very nice place

this is very nice place

Yes, it is indeed..

Yes, it is indeed..

Very informative with photo

Very informative with photo illustrations. Much gratitude
for sharing your excellent work. Really appreciate for
introducing the very historical, cultural heritage of India.

Weel done and please keep up the good work.

Thank you so much.

Thanks for your generous

Thanks for your generous comment... Keep dropping by...

good work.........pics are

good work.........pics are really very nice including tha article
yy

Thanks... Keep dropping by...

Thanks... Keep dropping by...

i like see the picture of

i like see the picture of taj.

Wow...Amazing Clicks and

Wow...Amazing Clicks and Detailed Description...I hav recently visited Agra Fort..the pics i hav taken..http://shutterbugone.blogspot.in/

Happy to hear that you liked

Happy to hear that you liked it....

can i know if u work for any

can i know if u work for any company or this is ur hobby..?

You can say..."Thinking

You can say..."Thinking Particle" is more of a hobby driven initiative...

GOOD WORK .....THANKS PEOPLE

GOOD WORK .....THANKS PEOPLE LIKE U HAVE SAVED OUR PAST.....VERY GOOD ....U CAN CONTACT ME ON MY EMAIL FOR ANY HELP REGARDING HISORICAL ERA AND TRAVELLING .

Thanks for encouraging

Thanks for encouraging inputs....

do you have more matter

do you have more matter regarding new development made in agra fort and surrounding areas

Hi Snigdha, In my

Hi Snigdha,
In my knowledge, there is no new development in and around Agra Fort... Minor Restoration and maintenance work always take place... a large part of the Agra fort is now occupied by Army so I don't have much idea about that part of the fort...

THANX...do you have matter on

THANX...do you have matter on mughal gardens in agra....or their design principles

You should check at the

You should check at the archives of ASI... They have an office in Agra.... Ram Bagh and Mehtab bagh are the popular mughal gardens of Agra.. I have written about these gardens in a separate article..you can check those..

one of the best articles on

one of the best articles on red fort with excellent pictures. v
ery informative.thanx

I am glad you liked it...

I am glad you liked it...

hiiii

hiiii

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