Agra Fort also known as “Agra’s Lal Qila” is situated in the city of Agra, India. This majestic structure echoes the grandeur and opulence of the Mughal Empire. The construction of Agra Fort dates back to the 16th century, during the reign of Emperor Akbar the Great. Its strategic location on the banks of the Yamuna River made it an ideal fortress to protect the empire. The fort served as the main residence of the Mughal emperors until the capital was shifted to Delhi. Let’s explore the rich history, fascinating features and intriguing facts that make Agra Fort history a timeless chapter.
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|Also Known as
|Agra’s Lal Qila
|6:00 am to 6:30 pm; open everyday
|Entry Fee for fort
|₹ 50 for Indians; ₹ 650 for foreigners On Fridays – ₹ 40 for Indians; ₹ 600 for foreigners
|UNESCO World Heritage Site
History of Agra Fort
The timeline of the history of Agra Fort is –
- 12th Century: Built as a brick fortress by the Chauhan Rajputs.
- 1526: Captured by the Mughal Emperor Babur, founder of the Mughal Empire, after defeating Ibrahim Lodhi.
- 1556-1573: Transformed by Akbar into a magnificent red sandstone fort, serving as the Mughal capital for nearly a century. It took eight years to complete.
- 17th Century: Shah Jahan, Akbar’s grandson, adds his signature touch with ornate white marble palaces and mosques. His son, Aurangzeb took over the charge and later imprisoned his own father, Shah Jahan, within the fort walls.
According to some historians, Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal in the loving memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, and at the time of his imprisonment, he watched the Taj Mahal from Agra Fort and is rumoured to have died in one of the marble balconies in the Mausamman Burj, a tower inside the fort.
- 18th & 19th Centuries: The fort endured a tumultuous period, changing hands between Maratha Empire and British forces. The Marathas reigned for a decade and with the defeat of Mahadji Shinde in the Second Anglo-Maratha War in 1803, the fort went to the British Army.
- 1857: Witnesses the Indian Rebellion of 1857, against British rule, marking a turning point in Indian history. The battle led to the direct rule by the Britain over Indian Subcontinent.
- 1947: Becomes part of independent India and is managed by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Features of Agra Fort
Agra fort is made of red sandstone, which later became one of the symbols of Mughal Architecture. The fort boasts an impressive entrance known as the Amar Singh Gate, which leads to the courtyard. The fort has four gates, namely – Delhi Gate, Hathi Pol, Amar Singh Gate (Lahore Gate) and Ghaznin Gate. The Delhi Gate was the formal gate which was exclusively used by Akbar. Some other features of the fort include –
|A stepwell built by Babur
|It is a palace built for Akbar and is rumoured to have multiple underground passages.
|Emperor Akbar built a red sandstone palace for Jahangir.
|A bathtub or a monolithic tank for Emperor Jahangir.
|A palace where Akbar stayed in the later years of his life.
|A mosque was built for the use of Ladies. It is rumoured that under this masjid was Mina Bazaar where Jahangir fell in love with Nurjahan.
|Diwan-i-Aam (Hall of Public Audience)
|This grand hall for public meetings by Shah Jahan.
|Diwan-E-Khas (The Hall of Private Audience)
|A grand hall was for the meetings of the ruling Kings. The famous Peacock Throne of Shah Jahan adorned with Koh-i-noor Diamond was placed in the hall before being shifted to Delhi
|The hall is adorned with tall arched gateways with the use of White Marble.
|Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace)
|The walls are studded with intricate glasswork, depicting floral motifs, mythological scenes and intricate designs, reflecting even the tiniest ray of light.
|This chamber was built by Shah Jahan.
|Shah Jahani Mahal (Shah Jahan’s Palace)
|A palace of white marble showcasing an octagonal tower, a large hall and a side room.
|A large area on the terrace that connects the various chambers of the fort.
|A tomb that first belonged to Mahmud Ghazni, but was later connected to the fort under British rule
|Shah Jahan built a white palace, has a jaali-style window and features floral carvings. Its structural position gives a distant view of the Taj Mahal.
|A grapefruit garden built by Shah Jahan
|An octagonal tower gives a clear view of the Taj Mahal. This is the building where Shah Jahan was imprisoned for 8 years by his son Aurangzeb.
|A private shrine believed to be built with pearls.
5 Fascinating Facts about Agra Fort
- The fort covers an area of approximately 2.5 kilometres and is surrounded by a 70-foot-high fortified wall. Nearly 4000 labourers worked tirelessly every day to build the Fort.
- Akbar’s historian Abul Fazl mentions the fort as a brick fort named “Badalgarh”.
- The Red Fort of Delhi was inspired by Agra’s Fort.
- An aerial view of the Fort showcases the structure as a semi-circle.
- Agra Fort gained recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.
Timings of Agra Fort
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), took the initiative of illuminating the fort after sunset with lights. Another attraction is the accredited best light and sound show at the fort. The timings for visiting the Monument and watching the mesmerising light and sound shows are –
|6 am to 6:30 pm (Sunrise to Sunset)
|Light and Sound Show
|For Hindi Shows – (Based on Season after Sunset)
|For English Shows – (Based on Season after Sunset)
|Duration of the Show
Entry Fee and Light & Sound Show Fee
|INR 50 per person (changes applicable)
|INR 650 per person (changes applicable)
|INR 40 for Indians and INR 600 per person (changes applicable)
|For Light & Sound Show
|₹ 70 for Indians, ₹ 40 for Indian Student
|₹ 200 for Foreign tourists
|Children below 15 years have free entry.
Other Attractions near Amer Fort
|Taj Mahal (2.9 km)
|Jama Masjid (700 m)
|Itmad-ud-Dulah’s Tomb (3.5 km)
|Sadar Bazaar (3.5 km)
|The Red Taj (6.2 km)
|Mehtab Bagh (5.5 km)
|Sikandra Fort and Akbar’s Tomb (12.6 km)
|Fatehpur Sikri Fort Complex (40 km)
|Wildlife SOS Bear Santuary (36.2 km)
Agra Fort stands not only as a magnificent architectural wonder but also as a historical treasure that displays the grandeur of the Mughal Empire. With its history, captivating features and fascinating facts, this fort is the second most visited fort after the Taj Mahal.
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That’s all about Agra Fort history! If you want to know more about topics like this, then visit our general knowledge page! Alternatively, you can also read our blog on general knowledge for competitive exams!