Agra Fort is the main icon of Mughal history and architecture. Agra Fort is the former royal residence of the Mughal clan located in India’s city of Agra. In fact, the History of Agra Fort dates back to many years ago since the Mughals came in India. The magnificient and grandeur of Agra Fort is still there, thanks to the Mughal dynasty which remodelled it for its better use.
History of Agra Fort
Agra Fort was said to be built by Lodi but the Mughal undertook the massive exercises to strengthen and remodel the fort. In the process, the almost wiped out the original structure of brick-klin made by Raja Badal Singh of Badalgarh estate. A lot of unauthenticated stories have been attached to this fort. So, there is no denial of the fact that present-day structure of Agra Fort was built by the Mughals, though a fort had already stood there since at least the 11th century. Agra Fort was originally a brick fort held by Raja Badal Singh, who was a HinduSikarwar Rajput emperor of his estate. It was mentioned for the first time in 1080 AD when a Ghaznavide force captured it. Sikandar Lodi (1488–1517) was said to be the first Sultan of Delhi who shifted to Agra and lived in the fort. He governed the country from the Agra Fort and the city assumed the importance of the second capital of the country. After his demise in the fort in 1517 his son, Ibrahim Lodi, held it for nine years until he was defeated and killed at Battle of Panipat in 1526. It is said that several palaces, wells and a mosque were built by him in the fort during his period.
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After the Battle of Panipat in 1526, the victorious king Babur captured Agra Fort and stayed in the fort, in the palace of Ibrahim Lodi. He later built a baoli (step well) in it. The emperor Humayun was crowned in the fort in 1530. Humayun was defeated at Bilgram in 1540 by Sher Shah. The fort was in the hands of Suris till 1555, when Humayun recaptured it. Adil Shah Suri’s general, Hemu, recaptured Agra in 1556.
Akbar, the Great knew the strategic location of the fort, so he made it his palace and the city of Agra as his capital when he arrived in Agra in 1558. Abu’l-Fazl, historian of Akbar recorded that this was a brick fort known as ‘Badalgarh’. It was in a ruined condition and Akbar had it rebuilt with red sandstone from Barauli area in Rajasthan. Architects laid the foundation and it was built with bricks in the inner side with sandstone on external surfaces. About four hundred workers worked on it daily for eight years and it was completed ultimately in 1573.
During the rule of of Akbar’s grandson, Shah Jahan, that the site took on its current state. It is a well-known fact that Shah Jahan built the beautiful Taj Mahal in the memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Unlike his grandfather, Shah Jahan tended to have buildings made from white marble. He modified some of the earlier buildings inside the fort to make his own. Shah Jahan was made a prisoner by his son, Aurangzeb, in the Agra fort. It is said that Shah Jahan died in Muasamman Burj, a tower with a marble balcony with a view of the Taj Mahal.
The fort was captured by the Maratha’ in the early 18th century. Thereafter, it changed hands between the Marathas and their foes many times.
Agra fort was also the place of a battle during the war of independence of 1857, which caused the end of the British East India Company’s rule in India.
Architecture of Agra Fort
Agra fort is spread into 94 acres or 3,80,000 square meters of an area. It is located near river Yamuna bank and encircled by a wall which runs about 3.5 kilometers. There are four gates of Agra Fort but two are in working mode which are known as Delhi Gate and Lahore Gate.
The entrance of visitors to the fort is through the Amar Singh Gate, which was known as Lahore Gate. Tourist access is limited to the southern part, which houses most of the buildings of interest like the Moti Masjid, the Diwan-e-Aam, Diwan-e-Khaas, Jahangir’s Palace, Sheesh Mahal and many more. The grand structure displays the architectural affection and prowess of three generations of the greatest Mughal kings– Akbar, Jahangir and Shahjahan.
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