January 27, 2008

Magnificent Agra Fort


After the Battle of Panipat the Mughals captured the Agra Fort and with it came a vast treasure which included the world famous Kohinoor diamond. Babur then started living in the Fort in the palace of Ibrahim Lodi. The other great Mughals Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangazeb lived here and the country was governed from this Fort. The Agra Fort was visited by foreign dignitaries and ambassadors, travellers and other high ranking officials who were instrumental in the making of history in India.

Akbar began further construction of the splendid Agra Fort on the banks of River Yamuna in 1565 to serve as a military base. The Fort was ready by 1571 and was then used also as royal quarters and several additions were made until the rule of Shah Jahan.



Akbar and his son, Jahangir, preferred red sandstone and used it to build many palaces and courts. His grandson, Shah Jahan, used white marble, and built other marble mosques and palaces and pavilions of gem-inlaid marble which is seen in its resplendent beauty in the Taj Mahal.

Historians state that about 500 buildings were existing in the Fort originally. It is reported that some of them were demolished to make way for Shah Jahan's white marble palaces and mosques and some were apparently destroyed by the British between 1803 and 1862. Now there are about 30 Mughal buildings that have survived in the Fort.



Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal, was imprisoned by his son, Aurangzeb, in this luxurious Agra Fort. It is rumored that Shah Jahan died in Muasamman Burj, a tower with a marble balcony from where he could see the mirage of the Taj Mahal until his death.

I went to the Agra Fort after my visit to the Fatehpur Sikri. Little did I know then that this was going to be the first among other forts that I was to explore during this trip to India.

There was a long queue at the Fort entrance for buying tickets, and I had no intention of spending time there. So within a few minutes, while in the snail-paced queue, I befriended a small group of people in front of me. Unfair it may sound, however, I informed them that I'd be returning for my spot in the queue after taking a few pictures of the Fort from outside, to which they agreed.

After about ten minutes of shooting these pictures of the Fort, I went back to find them still in the queue, and this time they kindly volunteered to buy a ticket on my behalf thus giving me the freedom to go around. I was glad and promptly paid them and continued exploring further. I stopped by at the entrance gate called the Lahore Gate (so named because it faces Lahore). It is also called the Amar Singh Gate.



Till my entry ticket was ready, I stood by the Lahore Gate to listen to the low-pitched sweet sounds of chirping birds dwelling in the Fort premises. I made a half hearted attempt to capture a few pictures of them fluttering past but realized I am not talented enough to achieve that feat.



It was a cool, slightly misty day, and there was a strange mix of excitement and serenity in the atmosphere at the Lahore Gate. Somewhat like how I got lost in my surroundings for a while even through the hustle and bustle of the tourists, probably the birds have got used to the place and so continue singing sweetly in the trees - coolly indifferent to the crowd passing by.


The Agra Fort is a fine example of a beautiful blend of the Islamic and Hindu style of architecture, and various buildings inside the Agra Fort represent the assimilation of other cultures as well. This is widely regarded as a distinguishing feature of the Mughal architecture.



The northern part of the Agra Fort is closed to the public as it is being used by the military. The northern side gate is called the Delhi Gate.


Jahangir Palace was used by the Rajput wives of the Mughals


View from Diwaan-I-Aam

Arches of Diwaan-I-Aam



The three rising domes of the ancient mosque, Moti Masjid, raising their heads over the red sandstone is a charming sight. Built by Shah Jahan, it is situated on the right of Diwan-I-Aam and its white marble structure is one of the precious buildings of the Agra Fort.



I spent the next few hours at the Agra Fort and had a delightful time in exploring the place. During this visit, I felt that I had a look at the Fort with a new perspective.

The Agra Fort is a photographer's delight. If you liked these photographs, click this link to view more pictures of the magnificent Agra Fort.


22 comments:

Ananda Niyogi said...

Have been out of the blog world for a while...but having read all your posts, I realize that you must have had a wonderful time during your vacation.

Your descriptions and photos are excellent - I plan to use them as a guide when I travel to these parts sometime!

This reminds me, read William Dalrymple's The Last Mughal if you can - it gives a fascinating insight into the Mughal way of life before and during the Mutiny of 1857

backpakker said...

wow..i feel like ive revisited the mughal era ..been to delhi so many times, but have missed out agra ..awesome ..

GMG said...

Remarkable post! Quite interesting text and beautiful pictures, also at your Picasa album...
I saw a BBC documentary on TV on Akbar and other mughal emperors. It seems that the end was not that brilliant...
Look forward to seeing the rest of this beautiful trip!
Take care
Gil

indicaspecies said...

Ananda,

Welcome back to blogworld, and thank you for your generous compliments.

Any information on the great Mughals would be welcome. I'll try to catch hold of that book, thanks. :)

indicaspecies said...

backpakker:

Thanks Lakshmi. I hope you get a chance to go to Agra the next time you are in Delhi. :)

indicaspecies said...

Gil,

Thanks for the lovely words. I'm delighted that you liked these photographs.

You are right, after five generations of glorious reign by the great Mughals, the power of the Mughal Empire was on the decline.

You get to see a documentary on TV and a post here at the same time. Now I hope you get to see these places in real some day. ;)

San said...

Celine, your photos do provide a sense of the grandeur of this place. It must be breathtaking to behold in person.

I love your description of getting lost in the moment, unaware of the crowd around you, like the sweet birds just going about their own business of chirping.

Lovely post!

final_transit said...

Brought back sweet memories from 2005. There is so much to explore inside the fort, it felt really great to read the narration from you. I liked the picture of the Lahore gate - it looks weird from the angle you shot and that makes it so real.

- Priyank

CHEWY said...

As I was scrolling through your photos I noticed... there sure are a lot of domes. The fort is magnificent in it's red sandstone.

Crazy Me said...

Every time I read your blog, I'm ready to buy a plane ticket!

indicaspecies said...

San,

It's a grand place indeed. After returning, I spent some time reading about the Mughals, and their love for art, poetry, painting and architecture and other fine arts.

I'm delighted that you liked this post. :)

indicaspecies said...

Priyank,

Glad my post did, and that you enjoyed the narration. :)

indicaspecies said...

chewy:

Darlene, domes and cupolas are a significant part of Mughal (and Islamic) architecture. :)

indicaspecies said...

crazy me:

I'm ready as well. Let's go. ;)

Celebration of Life said...

Celine,
Thanks for visiting my blog and your kind comments.

This is a beautiful post; thanks for sharing your travels and insight!

*~*Sameera*~* said...

Awesome pics!Feels like I went there in person,you sure know how to transport people to a different world with your photography!Keep it up dear :)

Sandi McBride said...

Celine, what beautiful photos...I have always loved India, it is a spot I hope to one day be able to visit for myself. I love the red sandstone. I love the marble...thanks for visiting me, I followed you home, hope you don't mind!

indicaspecies said...

celebration of life:

Welcome. Thank you for being here and your kind comments.

My visit to your blog through Authorblog was a real pleasure. :)

indicaspecies said...

Sameera,

Thank you very much for your generous compliments. :)

indicaspecies said...

Sandi,

Of course I don't mind, in fact you are most welcome to my space.

I'm glad you liked these pictures and I hope one day you get a chance to visit India. :)

San said...

Hi Celine--

Just popping in to see if you had a new post, but this one was certainly worth a second look!

indicaspecies said...

San,

My friend, the new post was put up a few minutes after your visit here. I'll pass by you soon, and thank you again for the kind words. :)