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AGRA –AGRA FORT


Agra Fort is the former imperial residence of the Mughal Dynasty located in Agra, India. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and is about 2.5 km northwest of its more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. The fort can be more accurately described as a walled city. After the First Battle of Panipat in 1526, the victorious Babur stayed in the fort, in the palace of Ibrahim Lodi. He later built a baoli (step well) in it. The emperor Humayun was crowned in the fort in 1530. Humayun was defeated at Bilgram in 1540 by Sher Shah. The fort remained with the Suris till 1555, when Humayun recaptured it. Adil Shah Suri's general, Hemu, recaptured Agra in 1556 and pursued its fleeing governor to Delhi where he met the Mughals in the Battle of Tughlaqabad.
Realising the importance of its central situation, Akbar made it his capital and arrived in Agra in 1558. His historian, Abu'l-Fazl, recorded that this was a brick fort known as 'Badalgarh'. It was in a ruined condition and Akbar had it rebuilt with red sandstone from Barauliu area in Rajasthan. Architects laid the foundation and it was built with bricks in the inner core with sandstone on external surfaces. Some 4,000 builders worked on it daily for eight years, completing it in 1573. It was only during the reign of Akbar's grandson, Shah Jahan, that the site took on its current state. Legend has it that Shah Jahan built the beautiful Taj Mahal in the memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Unlike his grandfather, Shah Jahan tended to have buildings made from white marble. He destroyed some of the earlier buildings inside the fort to make his own.

Structure of Agra Fort

The Red Fort in Agra spreads across an area with radius three kilometres and is bordered by a 70 feet tall wall. The walls are made of red sandstone and they surround the fort. The fort has a semi circular plan. Double ramparts have been provided in the fort with broad circular bastions at regular intervals. The fort has four main gates on its four sides. One of these gates was known as the Khizri gate and it opens to the river front. At present, there are over two dozen monuments in the fort. Abul Fazl, historian of Akbar records that 5000 buildings were built here in Bengali as well as Gujarati style but those buildings have disappeared now.

Facts About Agra Fort

The Agra fort was built by Akbar primarily and then it was converted into a palace by Shah Jahan. Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb for eight years in the Mussaman Burj of Agra Fort. In the present time, Taj Mahal can be seen from the Mussaman Burj. A large part of the Agra Fort was converted into army barracks by the British, which were not accessible to the public.

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