Agra Fort is declared as the UNESCO World Heritage site and forms an important part of the Agra city, Uttar Pradesh. It is located at a distance of just 2.5 km from another very popular monument of Taj Mahal. Agra fort is surrounded by walls from all its sides to protect the people from enemies. The Mughals had captured the fort after winning the Panipat battle and seized treasures like Koh-i-Noor. Babur, one of the Mughal rulers stayed here for a long time and in 1530 Humayun received the status of a king and was crown by his father. After being defeated, this fort was captured by Sher Shah in 1940 and they ruled this place for the next 15 years. In 1555, it was again captured by 'Hem Chandra Vikramaditya' who was defeated by Akbar in 1556. Thus the Agra fort remained to be a part of the Mughal empire.

HISTORY

The fort was under the Sikarwar Rajputs who constructed it by using bricks. The name of Agra fort appeared only in 1080 AD when Ghaznavide had captured it. Later Sikandar Lodi (1488–1517) who was the very first Sultan of Delhi moved to Agra and made the Agra Fort as his living place. He ruled the city and Agra obtained a great reputation and became its second capital as well. As he died in 1517, Ibrahim Lodhi, his son ruled over Agra unless he was defeated in Panipat battle in 1526. He constructed palaces, monuments and mosques during his reign.

The first Panipat Battle led to the Mughal rule as they not only captured this fort but seized the treasures as well. Even Koh-i-Noor was held by them. The fort was now the dwelling place of Babur followed by Humayun who took charge of his dynasty in 1530. In the year 1540, Humayun was defeated by Sher Shah in Bilgram and continued to reign here till 1555. It was again seized by Humayun but Hem Chandra Vikramaditya defeated Humayun’s army and seized the fort. His efforts also helped him to win Delhi which was also a part of the Mughal Empire. Finally it was Akbar who defeated Hemu and captured Agra fort and ruled it for a long time.

In 1558, Akbar shifted to Agra and it was also made the capital city. Abdul Fazal who was the historian during Akbar’s suggested that the condition of this fort was ruining and therefore Akbar ordered the fort to be rebuilt by using red sandstone that was especially brought from Rajasthan. Around 1,444,000 builders were engaged, it took about 8 eight years to completely redesign the fort and completed its construction in 1573.

The current Agra Fort that you see is the efforts of Shah Jahan, grandson of Akbar. Shah Jahan also built the epitome of love Taj Mahal in the memories of Mumtaz Mahal, his beloved wife. He got most of the buildings reconstructed with marble to add a new look to them. Semi precious stones were also used to enhance its beauty.

During his last days, he was captured by Aurangzed, his son. It is said Shah Jahan had died taking the glimpse of Taj Mahal which was located directly in front of the Muasamman Burj.

During 1857, Agra Fort served as a place of battle and it also brought an end to reign of the East India Company and followed the rule of Britishers in India.

ARCHITECTURE

The Agra Fort is spread in an area of 94 acres with 70 feet high walls and a semicircular design. This fort was constructed with walls around so that it could save the place from its enemies. There were four gates that led to the different directions with one gate opening towards the river. This gate was known as Khirzi.

The other two gates of the Agra Fort are namely the Lahore gate as well as the Delhi gate. The Lahore Gate was constructed in the memories of Amar Singh Rathore and therefore it is also called as Amar Singh gate.

One of the most highlighting features of Agra fort is its architectural design that is just marvelous. According to a historian Abdul Fazal, the fort consists of over 500 hundred buildings designs that were related to states like Gujarat and Bengal. Though a few of the buildings were destroyed by Shah Jahan for new construction but many still exist even today. While rest was demolished from 1803 to 1862 by the Britishers and now only 30 buildings exist at the Southeastern end. The buildings designed by Akbar include the Akbar gate, Delhi gate and the Bengali Mahal.

Later on the Britishes renamed the Akbar gate as Amar Singh gate. On the other hand the Bengali Mahal was purely made of sandstone and divided in two areas; one is the Akbari Mahal while the other was Jahangiri Mahal. The fort gives you a glimpse of the perfect blend of Hindu-Muslim architectural style. Special areas like harem consist of decorative and paintings that include birds, elephants, dragons along with calligraphy and other interesting patterns.

HOW TO REACH


By Air

The Agra's Kheria Airport (IATA: AGR ICAO: VIAG) is the nearest airport from where you can catch flights of different airlines like Kingfisher and Air India which ply on different routes across Delhi and Jaipur. Since November 2008 many airlines have extended its facilities to serve the people in a better way. You can even hire a car if in case there is a delay in the flights and reach your destination in a much lower price as compared to the fares of these airlines.

By Rail

Agra is well connected with the most important routes like Delhi-Chennai and Delhi-Mumbai; therefore you can easily get trains from various destinations to reach Agra. Some of the trains even have a stoppage in Agra hence you can find out such trains and get your reservation done. Around 20 trains run from Delhi and reach to various places like Mumbai and Chennai via Agra. During the winter season, heavy fog is the biggest concern for most travelers as trains get delayed for number of hours thus disturbing the journey. So it is necessary to plan the trip in such a way that you have enough time in case you have your reservations in the connecting trains to reduce the burden. Despite getting delayed during the winters, trains are still considered to be the safest option as compared to roads as driving may become difficult during this season. Agra has five important stations when the trains stop.

Stations

  • Agra Cantt (Station Code : AGC) is one of the most important stations located at the southwestern end of the Agra Fort as well as the Taj Mahal. You can either hire a car or even take a taxi or rickshaw to reach any of these places. It is a short ride and will not take much of your time. With the help of prepaid taxi services, you can pay flat ₹150 and takes you to a good hotel where you can live. Similarly auto rickshaws just take ₹50 to take you to the desired hotel. Do not forget to try the Comesum food corner which serves a variety of specialties of different states to leave your tongue licking.

  • Agra Fort station (Station Code: AF) is the closest to the Agra Fort and many express trains stop here. Some of the trains coming from different destinations are Kolkata, Kanpur, Gorakhpur and many more. A few of these trains may also stop at Agra Cantt.

  • Raja Ki Mandi (Station Code: RKM) is a station where only a few trains stop. The station lies just at the center of Agra city and its atmosphere becomes lively as soon as the express trains enter Agra station.

  • Agra City is also one of the stations that can lead to Agra Fort but very few trains stop here and hence there is no point in getting down here.

  • Idgah Railway Station will arrive if you are coming from Jaipur.


By Road


From Delhi: NH2 is the new highway that connects Agra and Delhi which is just a 200 km route. Driving through this highway will just take around 4-5 hours. One of the most common routes that are followed by many people is the Mathura Delhi highway while other people can take up the Aurobindo Marg which is meant for all travelers who are coming from the southern region. The Mehrauli road directly connects to the NH2 highway therefore it becomes easy to reach your destination. Drive safely and ensure that you drive on the right side.

From Jaipur: NH1 is the highway route that connects Jaipur and Agra through Bharatpur which is a small town. The total distance is 255 kms and it will take around 4 hours to reach Agra.

From Gwalior: NH3 is the main route that connects Agra and Gwalior which is a 120 km path and can be covered in just 1.5 hours.

From Lucknow / Kanpur: If you are coming via Kanpur or Lucknow, you can follow NH2 route which is quite easy. From Kanpur the distance is about 285kms and may take 5 hours to complete your journey. NH25 is the route that connects Lucknow and it is just 90 kms away from Kanpur and will take a maximum of 2 hours.

NEAR BY PLACES TO VISIT

  • Anguri Bagh (Grape Garden) – This garden is known for its 85 square and geometrical patterns.

  • Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience) – It is where people could come with their problems and make the king familiar with it.

  • Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private Audience) – used as a special entrance for the king and royal dignitaries.

  • Golden Pavilions (Jahan Ara Pavilion and Roshan Ara Pavilion) – Shaped similar to the Bengali huts with lots of space.

  • Jahangiri Mahal – constructed by Akbar for Jahangir.

  • Khas Mahal – It is a place where you can explore the finest paintings done on the marble.

  • Macchi Bhawan (Fish Enclosure)– A place for the harem functions with lots of fountains and pools.

  • Mina Masjid (Heavenly Mosque) – a worship place for the mujahara

  • Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) – a worship place for the royal court members

  • Musamman Burj – a huge spacious tower that was right in front of Taj Mahal.

  • Takht-i-Jahangir – Jahangir’s throne

  • Nagina Masjid (Gem Mosque) – worship place for ladies

  • Naubat Khana (Drum House) – a place where musicians entertained the kings.

  • Rang Mahal – place where the wives and mistresses of the king used to reside

  • Shahi Burj - Shah Jahan's private work area

  • Shah Jahani Mahal – First event building that was made using the red sandstone.

  • Sheesh Mahal or Shish Mahal (Mirror Palace) – dressing room for the ladies which was decorated in an exclusive style to make them feel special.

  • Zenana Mina Bazaar (Ladies Bazaar) – Area where only female merchants were allowed to sell their wares.


WEATHER AND BEST TIME TO VISIT

Agra city is known for its hot summers, cool winters and a moderate monsoon season. As compared to other regions of the state, Agra receives a lesser amount of rainfall. The summers may be very hot with temperature rising to 46-50°C while nights are still cool and have a temperature of 30°C. The average rainfall experienced in Agra is about 400 millimeters. Though winters are quite chilly but it is the best time to come to Agra.

Hence the best time to plan your trip is from November to February.

Related Image

Agra Fort 1
Agra Fort 2
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