Monday, September 02, 2013

Agra Fort

You soon realise, the more you explore, that Agra is not just about the Taj Mahal. There are so many amazing and beautiful places to visit and take in here from the Mughal period, and the Fort is one of the must visits.

Building of this red sandstone structure was begun by Emperor Akbar, and then added to by Shah Jahan. Adding white marble features, Shah Jahan transformed the military base into a palace. It later became his prison for eight years until his death,once his own son come to power.

The foreboding walls rise above you to some 20 metres as you walk through the Amar Singh Gate, where you have access to a very small section of the whole Fort, with the rest used as a current day military base.

From the dog-legged entryway, said to be built like that to confuse would-be attackers, you come into the Hall of Public Audiences - the Diwan-i-Am - and across past the archways of the Pearl Mosque.

Through a small staircase you proceed then to the next courtyard which features the stunning Gem Mosque - the Nagina Masjid.

Further on is the Hall of Private Audiences - the Diwan-i-Khas - where important dignitaries were received, and then the Mirror Palace.
The next palace section is white marble and runs to the river's edge. The Masamman Burji and Khas Mahal is the tower and quarters where Shah Jahan was held - affording him a view across the river to the iconic monument to love he built in the memory of his wife.

From here, you can complete the circuit back to Jehangir's Palace - another huge and beautiful red sandstone structure. It's lush garden space brings you back to the path to the Amar Singh Gate.

There is so much to this Fort, so much history and detail, and much of it is certainly missed by it being added to a day which includes a visit to the Taj. Without a doubt you could spend as much time here with a well versed guide on the history of the building, and the circumstances of it's function, including Shah Jahan's imprisonment.

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