Agra rose to prominence during the Mughal reign and has been a major historical and heritage centre of India since then. Sultan Sikandar Lodi found the city in 1504 and in 1526, it was captured by Babur – the first Mughal emperor. His grandson Jalal ud-din Muhammed Akbar, upon becoming the king, made the city his capital. After his death, his descendants Jahangir and Shah Jahan too ruled India from here. The city fell into the British hands in 1803 and remained with them till 1947. Although Taj Mahal is the most-visited attraction in the region, there are many other places of tourist interest here, such as Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort and Tomb of Akbar. People during their Agra tour consider flocking to these places of historical significance.
The fort was built in the 11th century under the jurisdiction of the Rajputs. From the 16th century, the Lodis, Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan ruled from here. The walls of this 94-acre and semi-circular fortification reach a whopping 70 metres in height and one and a half mile in circumference. It is a massive complex with its front side having two walls; one behind the other. Embrasures allowed the troops to fire arrows and bullets from a certain height from within the thick defensive exterior. Battlements allowing soldiers to man the buildings inside the complex can also be seen inside this military establishment. According to some historic accounts, about 500 buildings existed inside the fortress, most of which were destroyed by either Shah Jahan or colonists.
Four gateways are provided to enter inside, with one of them opening towards River Yamuna. The most prominent of them is the Delhi Gate, which is built in white marble and has a moat and a drawbridge. Another gate at an angle of 90 degrees was constructed after the former to make it tough for enemies to infiltrate. Contemporary entry is through the Amar Singh Gate, which opens up into the courtyard of the Diwan-i-Aam, having beautifully-decorated walls. The Machhi Mahal inclusive of gardens and water fountains is situated behind the hall of public audience. Interiors of this quadrangular complex are richly decorated while the outer walls of the inner buildings have brackets to balance light and provide shadows. A pillared hall is located in the north of the complex.
The courtyard of Jahangir Mahal gives a magnificent view of the Taj Mahal and its terrace has two rooms and a number of reservoirs used for water supply. Overlooking the yard is a small room where Shah Jahan was held captive by his son Aurangzeb. Towards the north of the courtyard is the Moti Masjid or the Pearl Mosque. Agra is foremost among the various holidays destinations in India and is perfect for sampling the Mughal heritage.
Helpful Information for Visitors
This impressive fortress is open for tourists from sunrise to sunset and the entry fee is INR 20 for Indians and INR 300 for travelers coming from abroad. Children up to 15 years of age do not have to pay anything to witness its grandeur. Cigarettes, weapons and electronics are banned inside the complex as is touching and scratching the walls.