Agra Fort

AGRA FORT

Agra Fort is precursor to Red Fort of Delhi. Previous to present day Red Fort of Agra, the site was having a brick-made ancient Rajput era fort. The remnants of the same are still kept preserved. The Agra Fort is in UNESCO World Heritage Sites and, hence, holds an esteemed place in Agra tourism. Any India tour, encompassing Agra as tourist destination, includes visit of Agra Fort. Agra Fort serves an import purpose of the historians and archaeologists to study the gradual evolution of Mughal empire with respect to building architecture.

The Agra Fort built by Emperor Akbar during the year 1565 - 73, is associated with the memories of Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. Initially a military architecture as garrison, by the time of Shahjahan, it had turned partially into a fortified palace. Many of the events which led to the construction of Taj Mahal, took place here. The fort is on the bank of river Yamuna. There are many fascinating buildings inside the massive 20 metre walls which stretch for 2.5 kms surrounded by a 10 metre wide moat. Within the fort are a number of exquisite buildings, including the Moti Masjid, Diwan-E-Aam,, Diwan-E- Khas, Shish Mahal and Musamman Burj, where Emperor Shah Jahan had spent 8 years in the exile looking towards Taj Mahal and died in imprisonment. Moti Masjid or Pearl Mosque was built by Shahjahan during 1646-53. Constructed in marble, the mosque is perfectly proportioned and its courtyard is surrounded by arched cloisters. It contains a marble built tank in the centre.

The Diwan-e-Aam or Hall of Public audiences, built by Shahjahan, was the seat of Shahjahan's throne which is inlaid with intricate marble works. In order to cater to the needs of the women folk of Mughal court, Nagina Masjid (Gem Mosque) and ladies bazaar were built. The merchants used to come here to display and sell their goods. In order to meet important dignitaries and foreign ambassadors, Shahjahan built Diwan-e-Khas in 1636. Shahjahan used to sit on the famous peacock throne which was kept here before being moved to Delhi by Aurangzeb. It was later carried off to Iran and its remains are now in Tehran.

The Musamman Burj or Octagonal Tower, adjacent to Diwan-e Khas was meant for Mumtaj Mahal and built by Shahjahan. Intricately designed and built, the Musamman Burj is the place where Shahjahan breathed his last in 166 during his imprisonment.

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