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Agra is not only about Shah Jahan and the beautiful mausoleum-Taj Mahal - that he built in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. In fact Agra is like a chapter in Mughal history that needs to be enjoyed lesson by lesson. If Taj Mahal is the most captivating lesson that every body wants to read and enjoy, it is eventually the Agra Fort that makes an informative and interesting read. Enjoy learning more about Mughal history on tours to Agra with Taj Mahal Agra.
Interestingly, Agra Fort has a history that spans two generations of the Mughal emperors. Started during the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar (1556-1605), the construction work on the Agra Fort continued till the reign of his grand son Shah Jahan (1627-58). Though started by Akbar in 1565, it was Shah Jahan, who constructed most of the buildings inside the fort.
Situated on the bank of river Yamuna, the Agra Fort today, stands as a citadel of the past that has witnessed centuries slip by. Built in red stone, the Agra fort stretches almost two kilometres on the bank of the Yamuna. A huge wall that stands 69 ft in height encircles the crescent shaped fort. With only two main gates built to enter the fort, the impregnable stature of the fort becomes amply clear. The two gates are named the Delhi gate and the Amar Singh Gate.
Once inside the Agra Fort, one comes across a number of mosques and palaces, most of them are built in white marble and red stone during the rein of Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jahan. At one point of time in the 16th century, the fort used to house a small city.
Jehangiri Mahal, inside the Agra Fort is what speaks of Akbar's love for his son Jehangir. Akbar built this as a private palace for his son. Jehangiri Mahal located north of the Amar Singh Gate is a mix of Central Asian and Hindu architecture. The Jehangiri Mahal is considered one of the important buildings constructed by Akbar. Nearby is the palace of Jodha Bhai, the Hindu wife of Akbar.
Khas Mahal is another prominent palace in the Agra Fort. It can be termed as a marble affair of sorts as the whole palace is built in marble stones. Built by Shah Jahan in 1637, Khas Mahal is believed to be a finest example of paintings on white marble. Khas Mahal was built specially as a private palace for Shah Jahan that overlooks the Angoori Bagh (Grapes' garden). Another palace, Diwan-I-Khas, was built around the same time as the Khas Mahal as a hall of private audience and was used by Shah Jahan to receive kings, dignitaries and ambassadors.
Built for Mumtaz Mahal, Musamman Burj offers a beautiful view of the Taj Mahal. Ironically, it was here, Shah Jahan spent the last days of his life gazing at the Taj Mahal. The Burj is an octagonal structure with an open pavilion.
Now if you want to know where the royal ladies of Mughal era used to dress, Sheesh Mahal or the Glass Palace is what you must visit. Sheesh Mahal used to be the dressing room of the royal ladies. The Sheesh Mahal is divided into large halls and its walls are decorated with tiny mirrors.
There are other important buildings in the Agra Fort that are unique in their own way. Nagina Masjid and Moti Masjid are two mosques that were built by Shah Jahan. There used to be Mina Bazar below the Nagina Masjid where ladies of the royal family used buy things. Macchi Bhawan, Hamma-I-Shahi and Diwan-I-Am are other buildings that offer an insight into the reign of Shah Jahan. Step back into Mughal history on tours to Agra with Taj Mahal Agra.