India is the land of exceptional regal architectures of old centuries. Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World has been attracting tourists all across the globe. Much near to the gardens of the Taj Mahal stands the important 16th-century Mughal monument which is the Red Fort of Agra, commonly known as the Agra Fort.
This powerful fortress is made up of red sandstone giving it its imperial look. It was begun by Emperor Akbar in 1565 and his grandson Shah Jahan added more to it. The fort was built primarily as a military structure, which was then transformed into a residential palace. As fate would have it, it became his gilded prison after Aurangzeb came to power in 1658.
Monuments within the fort
Jahangiri Mahal – One of the profound and elegant buildings of the Akbari period is Agra Fort and the principal zenana palace within the Fort was Jahangiri Mahal. Grand halls with profuse carvings on stone are astonishing example of architecture of the era.
Khas Mahal – overlooking the Angoori Bagh, Khas Mahal is an airy edifice with intricately designed decorative stone screens. It has two copper-roofed pavilions built in the Bengali traditions meant for the royal ladies of the family.
Diwan-I-Khas – The name translates to ‘hall of private audience’ which was built by Shahjahan in 1636-37. The grand courtyard of Machchi Bhawan, meant for harem functions is located below it.
Diwan-I-Aam– The hall of public audience or Diwan-I-Aam has arches covered with white lime polished to a smooth finish. The Moti Masjid (pearl mosque) stand further north of it.
Musamman Burj – it is a romantic, ornamental pavilion which was meant for Mughal queens – Nurjahan and Mumtaz. The inlay stone work is fabulous. It is here where Shahjahan spent his last days. The place overlooks Taj Mahal.
It so happens at times that while visiting Agra, Taj Mahal overshadows most of the other monuments. But the astounding regal presence of the Agra Fort should not be missed. It blends Indian and Central Asian architectural styles which reminds the Afghani cultural roots of the Mughals.