Our way to Agra Fort after leaving New Delhi
Driving from New Delhi to Agra was fun. After leaving the greater New Delhi area there was a good freeway. It felt sometimes as if we were alone on this freeway. Time fore 1-3 naps. Later it became more crowded and shortly before Agra we passed some smaller villages and it became again chaotic on the streets. No problem for Ravi, and I was able to take photos out of the car ;-).
Agra Fort History
The Agra Fort has a long history. The first fort was build in 11th century. Before the mainly present-day structure was build by Akbar, the third Mughal Emperor – son of Humayun – Akbar finally defeated Hemu, an enemy emperor, who used the death of Humayun in 1556 to conquer the Mughal Empire and reignt until Akbar defeated him again. Akbar decided to make Agra his capital and started rebuilding most of the buildings, when he arrived in 1558.
A lot of name dropping 😉 . You possibly may remember that I visited Humayun’s Tomb in New Delhi and the story about it? No? OK you can read it here.
Just to get some structure in the Mughal Dynasty of this family at that time, I list here the first six Moghuls. I was first a little bit confused about this family and their buildings and connections, but I think the following helps to understand the „family business“.
Confused? Overview Mughal Empire 1526-1658
5th Shah Jahan (son of Jahangir) reigned 1627-1658 build by his orders: Taj Mahal
I only mentioned architecture above, I was able to visit during my tour. There is a lot more! If you want to know more about Mughal architecture follow this link. For a complete overview about all rulers of the Mughal Empire follow this link.
That’s it! Now back to the Agra Fort.
Hello Agra Fort!
We had again only about an hour for the Agra Fort after arrival in Agra. It could have been more, but I had read in my travel guide, and Ravi confirmed this, that we have to be at the Taj Mahal for sunset. Sunset and sunrise are very important for taking nice photos with special moods – especially for the Taj Mahal. Ravi dropped us off at the Amar Sing Gate entrance and waited there for us.
Agra Fort – a little history
The Agra Fort is also an UNESCO World Heritage site. When Akbar arrived in Agra in 1558 the old brick fort was in ruined condition. Akbar’s architects had to rebuild it with red sandstone on external surfaces and with bricks in the inner core. It is told that there were more than 4000 builders needed to finish the work in 8 years. During the reign of Shah Jahan the site took on its current state. Shah Jahan also built the beautiful Taj Mahal for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
At the end of his life, Shah Jahan was deposed by his son, Aurangzeb. It is told that Shah Jahan was detained until his end of life at Agra Fort. He said to have died in Muasamman Burj, a tower with a view of the Taj Mahal, where his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal found her rest. This is another story which belongs to my next article about the Taj Mahal.
We started our tour at the Amar Sing Gate entrance. There were again a lot of not „certified guides“ – I told you about before – we left behind us. We started with a turn right and entered the Jahangiri Mahal. Here is a map you will also find inside the fort:
We followed the crowd from one palace to the other, passing through the different palaces (mahal) and towers (burj) build inside the Red Fort – Bengali Mahal, Akbari Mahal, Khas Mahal, Angoori Bagh, Musamman Burj, Machchihi Bhawan, Diwan-I-Khas, Hammam-I-Shahi, Nagina Masjid and Diwan-I-Am.
I don’t want to bore you with the history of each building inside the Agra Fort as there are too many stories to tell. It would end up telling you again about years and names and years and names ;-). Walk around yourself with a good guidebook, read the history of each palace when you are inside the special palace. There are always possibilities to have a seat somewhere and soak in the stories of the palaces. I only want to give you an pictured overview about what there is to see.
My Conclusion for visiting Agra Fort
I think you should plan about 3 hours for the fort. I had no time to really enjoy the old palaces in only one hour. There are so many details to see and moods to capture in the different parts of the palaces and I would have enjoyed to have a seat somewher,e having room for ideas and dreams how living inside this palaces must have been!
Jaipur – coming soon