Among the other monuments
that Agra takes pride in is the Agra Fort, built by
three of the greatest Mughal emperors. The construction
of this massive structure began in 1565, under Akbar,
and continued till the time of his grandson, Shahjahan.
Armed with massive double walls, punctuated by four
gateways, the fort houses palaces, courts, mosques,
baths, gardens and gracious pavilions within its premises.
Among the fascinating structures that are to be found
within the fort is the red sandstone Jehangiri Mahal
built by Akbar for his Hindu queen, Jodhabai, was one
of the earliest constructions illustrating the fort's
change from a military structure to a palace. The palace
is also notable for its smooth blending of Hindu and
central Asian architectural styles. The Diwan - i -
Am, the Diwan - i - Khas, the Khas Mahal, The Palace
of Mirrors, The Pearl mosque, the Nagina Masjid, the
Garden of Grapes, and the Fish Pavilion are the other
monuments in the fort complex
||Itmad-ud-daulah Tomb : The Itmad-ud-daulah
tomb stands in the centre of a grand Persian garden,
an architectural gem of its times. It is the tomb
of Mirza Ghiyas Beg, Emperor Jahangir's wazir,
or Chief Minister, and also his father - in- law.
The structure was built by Empress Noorjehan,
between 1622 and 1628 and is very similar to the
tomb she constructed for her husband, near Lahore
in Pakistan. This splendid garden tomb is believed
to be the precursor of the magnificent Taj Mahal,
and was the first Mughal structure to be built
entirely of marble, and the first, again, to make
use of pietra dura, the inlay marble work that
came to be typical of the Taj. Near the Agra Fort,
is Jami Masjid, built by Shahjahan in 1648. An
inscription over its main entrance indicates that
it was built in the name of Jahanara, the emperor's
daughter, who was imprisoned with the hapless
emperor by Aurangzeb.
10 km north of Agra lies Akbar's tomb, in Sikandra.
Named after the Afghan ruler Sikander Lodi, Sikandra
is the final resting place of Emperor Akbar. Akbar began
the construction of his own garden mausoleum during
his lifetime, a red sandstone structure in a chahar
- bagh, or 4 - square formal garden. An impressive marble
- inlaid gateway leads to the spacious four - tiered
monument which is crowned by a white marble cenotaph
and screen. This last was added by Jahangir, who completed
the tomb after the demise of his father. 40 km west
of Agra, is the perfectly preserved 'phantom city' of
Fatehpur Sikri. Between 1570 and 1586, during Akbar's
reign, the city served as the capital of the Mughal
empire, and was then abruptly abandoned. Today, albeit
deserted, the city's palaces, courts and other monuments
stand in mute testimony to the greatness, and amazing
vision of the greatest emperor of all times, who was
also a fine human being.
: Within the center of the fort is
the Hall of Public Audience, built by Shah Jahan.
It replaced an earlier wooden structure. It is a pavillion
supported by 40 carved pillars where the emperor once
sat in state, consulting with officials and receiving
petitioners. Other than the Diwan-i-Aam. There is
the small Nagina Masjid or Gem Mosque. Nearby is the
Ladies Bazaar, where female merchants came to sell
to the ladies of the Mughal court.
It was fort's true citadel of power, also built by
Shah Jahan, between 1636 and 1637. The Hall of Private
Audience glittered with solid gold, silver and precious
stones, and was the site where the emperor received
important diginitaries or foreign ambassadors. The
famous Peacock throne was kept here before being moved
to Delhi by Aurangzeb. Nearby are the Khas Mahal,
Shah Jahan private pavillions. Lookout for the Sheesh
Mahal the royal bathing quarters, where the light
of a single lamp is reflected in thousands of tiny
mirrors embedded in the walls and ceiling.
Musamman Burj or Jasmine
Tower : This exquisite octagonal tower,
standing close to the Diwan-i-Khas, is the place where
Shah Jahan died as captive of his son Aurangzeb, passing
his last days gazing at the Taj (the tomb of his beloved
wife). The Mina Masjid was Shah Jahan's private mosque
during his imprisonment.
Jahangir's Palace :
Built by Akbar, for his son Jahangir, it was the largest
private residence in the fort. Its a blend of Hindu
and Central Asian architectural styles.
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