What’s Agra Fort?

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Agra Fort, also known as the Red Fort of Agra, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in India. It played an important role in Indian history and is second only to the Taj Mahal in recognition. Originally occupied in the 11th century, it became a second capital in the 15th century under the Sultan of Delhi. The Mughals took over in the 16th century and transformed the fort into a massive fortress. The fort has high walls, four gates, and various structures, including mosques and halls, some of which are open to the public.

Agra fort is a walled city in India. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been since 1983. Agra Fort is also referred to as the Red Fort of Agra or Lal Qila. The Agra fort has played an incredibly important role in India for centuries and is second only to the Taj Mahal in terms of widespread recognition.

A fort originally occupied the region as early as the 11th century, although it was still relatively small and unimportant at this point. In the 15th century the Sultan of Delhi, Sikandar Lodi, ran the government of his kingdom from Agra Fort, which essentially became a second capital. His son continued to rule from the fort and during his reign added a number of important buildings to the complex.

The Mughals eventually took the Agra fort in the 16th century and with it the immense Kohinoor diamond. It was during the era of Mughal control that the Agra fort really came into prominence. Akbar completely redone the fort, replacing the original brick with red sandstone and transforming it into a massive fortress. His reconstruction of the Agra Fort took eight years, cost more than three million rupees and employed nearly one and a half million workers.

Shah Jahan, grandson of Akbar, later further added to the fort. His additions embodied many of the same visual sensibilities used in his Taj Mahal, including white marble and more ornate inserts. Eventually, Shah Jahan was deposed and spent the rest of his life in the Musamman Burj within the Agra Fort, held under house arrest by his son.

The walls of Agra Fort are over 70 feet (21 m) high, with battlements interspersed along the double ramparts. Each side contains a single fortified gate. The most important of the four gates of Agra Fort is the Delhi Gate which was built as the king’s gate. The Delhi Gate is the most fortified of the gates, with a crooked entrance and a huge drawbridge. However, it is not open to the public as it opens in the northern section of the Agra Fort which is still actively used by the Indian Army. Instead, most tourists enter through the Lahore Gate.

Inside the Agra Fort are a number of structures, some of which are open to the public, some of which are not. The Diwan-i-Khas and the Diwan-i-Am, or Audience and Private Audience Halls, are two popular venues, where the rulers of the Mughal Empire used to meet with visiting royalty and ordinary people. Diwan-i-Am is perhaps best known for housing the Peacock Throne, before it was taken by the Persians and ultimately destroyed. The Rang Mahal, Jehangiri Mahal, Khas Mahal, Shah Jahani Mahal and Sheesh Mahal are also all located within the Agra Fort and each offer distinct architecture and views in different eras of the Mughals.

The various mosques in the Agra Fort are also quite renowned. Among these are the Gem Mosque, or Nagina Masjid, built for court women to pray, the Heavenly Mosque, or Mina Masjid, which cannot be visited, and the Pearl Mosque, or Moti Masjid, which served as Shah Jahan’s mosque personal.

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