The Agra Fort is one of India’s most impressive and important forts and palaces, close to the Taj Mahal.
From fortress to city
Primarily intended as a military structure, the Agra Fort is made up of 20 metre high walls with a circumference of 2.5 kilometres. However, the Agra Fort was later transformed into a city unto itself expanding into a labyrinth of red sandstone buildings, including a palace, a mosque, homes, halls and monuments.
Original construction of the Agra Fort was commenced by Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1565 with successive emperors of the Mughal Dynasty adding to it over time. One particular contributor was Emperor Akbar’s grandson and commissioner of the Taj Mahal, Emperor Shah Jahan, who added further white marble buildings, in effect creating a palace.
While the Agra Fort was intended to keep out enemies, it in fact transformed into an opulent prison in 1685, when Shah Jahan was imprisoned there for the final eight years of his life when his son, Aurangzeb, seized power.
What there is to see
Incredibly well-preserved, the Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site. In addition to the fort itself, some of the most impressive structures within the Agra Fort complex include the Diwan-i-Am or ‘Hall of Public Audiences’, from which Shah Jahan conducted state business, the 17th century Nagina Masjid or ‘Gem Mosque’ and the mirror encrusted Shish Mahal palace. The Anguri Bagh gardens are also very beautiful, having been extensively restored.
The Agra Fort is by the Taj Mahal gardens in the centre of Agra, approx. 200km southeast of New Delhi. From New Delhi, you can fly to Kheria Airport (1 hr) or take a train to Agra Cantt Station on the Bhopal Shatabdi Express or Taj Express lines (2-5 hrs). Taxis and rickshaws are available at the train station. The main road joining Dehli and Agra is the NH2 motorway (4-5 hrs drive, although traffic can be bad). Jaipur is also within four hours of Agra along Highway 11 and train line 2988. There’s a shuttle bus from the north gate of the Taj Mahal to the Agra Fort.
Admission costs Rs.250 (plus an R500 levy). Most people combine a tour of the Taj Mahal with a tour of the Agra Fort, particularly as you can buy a cheaper combined ticket.
Yamuna Kinara Road, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
+91 011 23711995
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