Located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, the Agra Fort is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is known as the walled city. Just about two and a half kilometers from the gardens of Taj Mahal, this important fortress made of red sandstone presents a formidable façade with its massive walls, towering at 70 feet in height and is divided by a 12-meter-deep moat.
While Taj Mahal relates to a certain time in history (i.e. the death of Mumtaz Mahal, Shah Jahan’s wife), it is in Agra Fort where most of India’s significant historical moments of the 16th to 18th centuries happened, including the illustrious rule of Mughal emperors Akbar, Humayun, Shah Jahan, Jahangir, and Aurangzeb.
Also known as the Red Fort of Agra, it consists of beautiful courts and palaces. The robust wall and moat signifies that the Mughal rule placed significant effort to make it secure from any form of hostile attacks. Seeing the fort is truly a unique experience in exploring the rich history of India, as well as the art of the Mughal rule.
You can discover more or less 18 sites and structures within the 380,000 square meter area of the fort. Entry to the fort is through the Amar Singh gate, named after the bold warrior Amar Singh Rathore during Shah Jahan’s ruling. It was named before as the Akbar Gate. The first monument you will come across is the Jahangiri Mahal. Right in front is a huge bowl known as Jahangir’s Hauz.
It is one of the most noticeable buildings inside the fort because it does not look like a 400-year-old palace. This is probably due to meticulous maintenance and preservation. From afar, Jahangari is noticeable.
After Jahangiri Mahal, another significant building you would notice is the Shah Jahani Mahal, built by Emperor Shah Jahan during the early 17th century. Based on history, Shah Jahan was highly fascinated with rich architecture and art, and this was his first attempt to transform a part of Agra Fort, a huge red sandstone palace.
If the Jahangiri Mahal is the most well-known building within the fort, perhaps the most stunning is the Khas Mahal, the king’s white marble palace. The extensive artwork on the ceiling and the pillars makes it one of the best examples of painting in marble. Opposite the Khas Mahal is the Grape Garden (Anguri Bagh) that is adorned with alternating colors of different grasses, giving the impression of a stunning landscape from a distance. During the Mughal rule, it used to be ornamented with various kinds of flowers and grapes. The garden is adorned with a water fountain at the center.
There are still plenty of palaces and monuments that are worth visiting inside Agra Fort, including Musamman Burj, Machhi Bhawan (Fish House), Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private Audiences), and Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audiences). But before you head straight to the walled city, here are some do’s and don’ts you must follow.
Tourists are advised to get an approved photographer and guide with identity cards for security. When going inside the Agra Fort, eating and smoking are strictly prohibited and bringing head phones, sharp objects, wire, electronic items except for camera and mobile chargers are not allowed. Avoid scratching or touching the surfaces and walls. Tourists are also requested to switch off their mobile phones and avoid making noise once inside the premises.