Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Agra, India. The fort is also known as Lal Qila, Red Fort of Agra. It is about 2.5 km from the much more famous the Taj Mahal. The fort is so big that it can be more accurately described as a walled palatial city within Agra. This powerful fortress of red sandstone encompasses, within its 2.5-km-long enclosure walls, the imperial city of the Mughal rulers.
The Agra fort comprises many royal palaces, such as the Jahangir Palace and the Khas Mahal, built by Shah Jahan; audience halls, such as the Diwan-i-Khas; and two big mosques. The Mughal kings Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb lived here, and the Mughal empire in India was governed from here. It contained the largest state treasury and mint.
Sikandar Lodi (1487-1517) was the first Sultan of Delhi who shifted to Agra and lived in the Agra fort. He governed the country from here and Agra assumed the importance of the second capital. His son Ibrahim Lodi, also stayed here for nine years. It was only during the reign of Akbar’s grandson, Shah Jahan, that the Agra fort finally took on its current state.
The following are the important places in the Agra Fort
The Octagonal Tower, Mina Masjid, Jehangir Palace, Diwan-e-Aam, Diwan-e-Khas, Machhi Bhawan, Moti Masjid, Sheesh Mahal, Anguri Bagh, Jahangiri Mahal, Golden Pavilions and Musamman Burj
As soon as you enter Agra Fort through the Amar Singh Gate, first palace on the right is Jehangir Mahal. The large extensive and beautifully landscaped lawn was the place where royal ladies used to pass their time and entertain themselves. Build in sandstone, it is the only original palatial building commissioned by Akbar. It used to serve as Zanana or the Quarters of Royal Women. The ornamental stone brackets to support the beam originated from here and was soon adopted all across India. A giant stone bowl in front of the palace was used to store ‘Gulab Jal’ or fragrant rose water for bathing. The Persian verses carved on its outer rim is said to be the work of Jehangir.
The incredible Diwan-e-Aam or the Hall of Public Audience is situated in front of the Machhi Bhawan. The best design features here include cleverly deigned pillars that offered uninterrupted view of the throne to all the visitors entering the hall from right or left doors, beautiful jaalis to veil royal ladies and female members listening in to court proceedings, and richly adorned marble throne, which ones used to hose the legendary Peacock Throne.
Diwan-e-Khas or the Hall of Private Audience is to the right of Sheesh Mahal or Glass Palace. Exclusively used by the emperor to receive distinguished guests and hold private meetings, it displays beautiful Naqqashi work on the facades and the interiors. Marble pillars with floral motifs, inlaid with semi-precious stones, were used to mark the grandeur of the Mughals.
It was so named because of the extensive use of mirrors in its walls and ceilings set in the plaster. Opposite to Musamman Burj, Sheesh Mahal has a glass décor that is unmatchable and perhaps most magnificent in India. Tiny mirrors and glass mosaic designs in the two inter-joined halls of this palace are exceptional.
Timings of Agra fort
The fort is open from sunrise to sunset
Entrance Fee / tickets
Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) – Rs. 20 per head.
Others: US $ 8 or Indian Rs. 350/- per head (ASI)
Children up to 15 years are free to enter the Agra fort