Agra Fort India
The construction of the imposing Agra fort, built of blocks of red sandstone, began in 1156 during the reign of the great Mughal Emperor Akbar. The fort was completed in 1605 during the reign of his grandson Shah Jahan in 1605. Built in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, which was the hallmark of the Mughal period, this sprawling fort stretches 2.5 km along the banks of the Yamuna River in Agra, in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
The Agra fort has 2 gates, the Delhi Gate and the Amar Singh Gate, which is the fort's entrance. When you enter the gate you will find yourself in the Great courtyard. On the right is the Hall of Public Audience or Diwan-i-Am where Shah Jahan accepted petitions from the general public.
Further within the Agra Fort is the Diwan-i-Khas or Hall of private audience made of white marble and decorated with intricate carvings. The Royal Pavilions and palaces including the Shah Jahani Mahal, Khas Mahal, Shish Mahal and Macchi Bhavan, are a beautiful sight. Channels for water can be seen along the walls and floor, along which water flowed and cooled the palaces. The balconies from these palaces offer scenic views of the River Yamuna and the Taj Mahal. The Nagina Masjid and Mina Masjid are mosques where the royal family attended prayers. There are formal gardens between the royal pavilions, where shrubs and fragrant flowers were grown.
Parts of Agra Fort are under the control of the Indian Army and entry is restricted. However the parts open to the general public provide a memorable tour and invite the traveler to step back into Mughal times.
The emperor Aurangzeb deposed his father Shah Jahan and imprisoned him in the Agra Fort, from where he gazed across at the Taj Mahal, which he had built for his beloved wife. Shah Jahan is believed to have died in the Musamman Burj, a tower in Agra Fort with a beautiful marble balcony, which offers a scenic view of the Taj Mahal.