Agra Fort

Last updated

Agra Fort
Agra 03-2016 10 Agra Fort.jpg
Agra Fort
Location Agra, Uttar Pradesh
Area94 acres (38 ha)
Built1565–1573
Built for Akbar
Architectural style(s) Mughal
Owner
Criteria Cultural: (iii)
Reference 251
Inscription1984 (8th Session)
Coordinates 27°10′46″N78°01′16″E / 27.179542°N 78.021101°E / 27.179542; 78.021101 Coordinates: 27°10′46″N78°01′16″E / 27.179542°N 78.021101°E / 27.179542; 78.021101
Uttar Pradesh relief map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location of Agra Fort in Uttar Pradesh
India relief location map.jpg
Red pog.svg
Agra Fort (India)
South Asia non political, with rivers.jpg
Red pog.svg
Agra Fort (South Asia)

The Agra Fort is a historical fort in the city of Agra in India also known as the Red Fort. Built by the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1565 and completed in 1573, it served as the main residence of the rulers of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638, when the capital was shifted from Agra to Delhi. It was also known as the “Lal-Qila”, “Fort Rouge” or “Qila-i-Akbari”. [1] Before capture by the British, the last Indian rulers to have occupied it were the Marathas. In 1983, the Agra fort was life inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. [2] It is about 2.5 km northwest of its more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. The fort can be more accurately described as a walled city.

Contents

Like the rest of Agra, the history of Agra Fort prior to Mahmud Ghaznavi's invasion is unclear. However, in the 15th century, the Chauhan Rajputs occupied it. Soon after, Agra assumed the status of capital when Sikandar Lodi (A.D. 14871517) shifted his capital from Delhi and constructed a few buildings in the pre-existing fort at Agra. After the first battle of Panipat (A.D. 1526) Mughals captured the fort and ruled from it. In A.D. 1530, Humayun was crowned in it. The fort was given its present appearance during the reign of Akbar (A.D. 15561605). Later this fort was under the rule of Jats of Bharatpur for 13 years.

History

Agra Fort captured by Hemu before the Battle of Delhi (1556). Maharaja Hemu Bhargava - Victor of Twenty Two Pitched Battles, 1910s.jpg
Agra Fort captured by Hemu before the Battle of Delhi (1556).
Samuel Bourne, "The Fort. Delhi Gate. Agra," 1863-1869, photograph mounted on cardboard sheet, Department of Image Collections, National Gallery of Art Library, Washington, DC The Fort Delhi Gate dli A136 cor.jpg
Samuel Bourne, "The Fort. Delhi Gate. Agra," 1863–1869, photograph mounted on cardboard sheet, Department of Image Collections, National Gallery of Art Library, Washington, DC

After the First Battle of Panipat in 1526, Babur stayed in the fort, in the palace of Ibrahim Lodi. He later built a baoli (step well) in it. His successor, Humayun, was crowned in the fort in 1530. He was defeated at Bilgram in 1540 by Sher Shah Suri. The fort remained with the Suris till 1555, when Humayun recaptured it. Adil Shah Suri's general, Hemu, recaptured Agra in 1556 and pursued its fleeing governor to Delhi where he met the Mughals in the Battle of Tughlaqabad. [3]

Diwan-i-Aam, Hall of Public Audience Diwan-E-Aam Inside.JPG
Diwan-i-Aam, Hall of Public Audience

Realising the importance of its central situation, Akbar made it his capital and arrived in Agra in 1558. His historian, Abul Fazl, 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 Dhaulpur district, in Rajasthan. [4] Architects laid the foundation and it was built with bricks in the inner core with sandstone on external surfaces. Some 4,000 builders worked on it daily for eight years, completing it in 1573. [5] [6]

It was only during the reign of Akbar's grandson, Shah Jahan, that the site took on its current state. 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.

The fort was under the Jat rulers of Bharatpur for 13 years. In the fort, they built the 'Ratan Singh ki Haveli'. The fort was invaded and captured by the Maratha Empire in the early 18th century. Thereafter, it changed hands between the Marathas and their foes many times. After their catastrophic defeat at Third Battle of Panipat by Ahmad Shah Abdali in 1761, Marathas remained out of the region for the next decade. Finally Mahadji Shinde took the fort in 1785. It was lost by the Marathas to the British during the Second Anglo-Maratha War in 1803. [4] The fort was the site of a battle during the Indian rebellion of 1857 which caused the end of the British East India Company's rule in India and led to a century of direct rule in India by Britain. [4] [7]

Scene of the gunpowder explosion at Agra Fort, 29 November 1871 Scene of the gunpowder explosion at Agra Fort, 29 November 1871.jpg
Scene of the gunpowder explosion at Agra Fort, 29 November 1871

On 30 November 1871, thirty six people died when a cartridge factory located inside the fort exploded. [8]

Layout

Plan of the Red Fort, Agra from Murray's Handbooks for Travellers 1911 Plan du fort d'Agra (1901).jpg
Plan of the Red Fort, Agra from Murray's Handbooks for Travellers 1911

The 380,000 m2 (94-acre) fort has a semicircular plan, its chord lies parallel to the river Yamuna and its walls are seventy feet high. Double ramparts have massive circular bastions at intervals, with battlements, embrasures, machicolations and string courses. Four gates were provided on its four sides, one Khizri gate opening on to the river. Two of the fort's gates are notable: the "Delhi Gate" and the "Lahore Gate." The Lahore Gate is also popularly also known as the "Amar Singh Gate," for Amar Singh Rathore. [4]

The monumental Delhi Gate, which faces the city on the western side of the fort, is considered the grandest of the four gates and a masterpiece of Akbar's time. It was built circa 1568 both to enhance security and as the king's formal gate, and includes features related to both. It is embellished with intricate inlay work in white marble. A wooden drawbridge was used to cross the moat and reach the gate from the mainland; inside, an inner gateway called Hathi Pol ("Elephant Gate") – guarded by two life-sized stone elephants with their riders – added another layer of security. The drawbridge, slight ascent, and 90-degree turn between the outer and inner gates make the entrance impregnable. During a siege, attackers would employ elephants to crush a fort's gates. Without a level, straight run-up to gather speed, however, that is prevented by this layout. [9]

Because the Indian military (the Parachute Brigade in particular) is still using the northern portion of the Agra Fort, the Delhi Gate cannot be used by the public. Tourists enter via the Amar Singh Gate.[ citation needed ]

The site is very important in terms of architectural history. Abul Fazal recorded that five hundred buildings in the beautiful designs of Bengal and Gujarat were built in the fort. Some of them were demolished by Shah Jahan to make way for his white marble palaces. Most of the others were destroyed by the British troops of East India Company between 1803 and 1862 for raising barracks. Hardly thirty Mughal buildings have survived on the south-eastern side, facing the river, such as the Delhi Gate and Akbar Gate and one palace – "Bengali Mahal".

Akbar Darwazza (Akbar Gate) was renamed Amar Singh Gate by Shah Jahan. The gate is similar in design to the Delhi Gate. Both are built of red sandstone. [4]

The Bengali Mahal is built of red sandstone and is now split into Akbari Mahal and Jahangiri Mahal. [10]

Historical sites

Jahangir's Hauz, 1916-18 Hauz i Jahangiri.jpg
Jahangir's Hauz, 1916-18
The Ghaznin Gate, taken in 1842 from the tomb of Mahmud of Ghazni in Ghazni, Afghanistan. Red Fort, Ghazni gate (photographic restoration).jpg
The Ghaznin Gate, taken in 1842 from the tomb of Mahmud of Ghazni in Ghazni, Afghanistan.

See also


Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fatehpur Sikri</span> Town in Uttar Pradesh, India

Fatehpur Sikri is a town in the Agra District of Uttar Pradesh, India. Situated 35.7 kilometres from the district headquarters of Agra, Fatehpur Sikri itself was founded as the capital of Mughal Empire in 1571 by Emperor Akbar, serving this role from 1571 to 1585, when Akbar abandoned it due to a campaign in Punjab and was later completely abandoned in 1610.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Agra</span> Metropolis in Uttar Pradesh, India

Agra is a city on the banks of the Yamuna river in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, about 230 kilometres (140 mi) south-east of the national capital New Delhi and 330 km west of the state capital Lucknow. With a population of roughly 1.6 million, Agra is the fourth-most populous city in Uttar Pradesh and twenty-third most populous city in India.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lahore Fort</span> Citadel in the city of Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan

The Lahore Fort is a citadel in the city of Lahore, Pakistan. The fortress is located at the northern end of walled city Lahore, and spreads over an area greater than 20 hectares. It contains 21 notable monuments, some of which date to the era of Emperor Akbar. The Lahore Fort is notable for having been almost entirely rebuilt in the 17th century, when the Mughal Empire was at the height of its splendour and opulence.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sheesh Mahal (Lahore Fort)</span> Public monument in Lahore, Punjab Pakistan

The Sheesh Mahal is a palace located within the Shah Burj block in northern-western corner of Lahore Fort. It was constructed under the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1631–32, with some additions later under Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The ornate white marble pavilion is inlaid with pietra dura and complex mirror-work of the finest quality. The hall was reserved for personal use by the imperial family and close aides. It is among the 21 monuments that were built by successive Mughal emperors inside Lahore Fort, and forms the "jewel in the Fort’s crown." As part of the larger Lahore Fort Complex, it has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Burhanpur</span> City in Madhya Pradesh, India

Burhanpur is a historical city in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. It is the administrative seat of Burhanpur District. It is situated on the north bank of the Tapti River and 512 kilometres (318 mi) northeast of city of Mumbai, 340 kilometres (211 mi) southwest of the state's capital city of Bhopal. The city is a Municipal Corporation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mandu, Madhya Pradesh</span> Town in Madhya Pradesh, India

Mandu or Mandavgad is an ancient city in the present-day Mandav area of the Dhar district. It is located in the Malwa and Nimar region of western Madhya Pradesh, India, at 35 km from Dhar city. In the 11th century, Mandu was the sub division of the Tarangagadh or Taranga kingdom. This fortress town on a rocky outcrop about 100 km (62 mi) from Indore is celebrated for its architecture.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mughal garden</span> Style of gardens built by the Mughals

Mughal gardens are a type of garden built by the Mughals. This style was influenced by the Persian gardens particularly the Charbagh structure, which is intended to create a representation of an earthly utopia in which humans co-exist in perfect harmony with all elements of nature.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mughal architecture</span> Indo-Islamic architecture from 16th to 18th century Indian subcontinent

Mughal architecture is the type of Indo-Islamic architecture developed by the Mughals in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries throughout the ever-changing extent of their empire in the Indian subcontinent. It developed from the architectural styles of earlier Muslim dynasties in India and from Iranian and Central Asian architectural traditions, particularly Timurid architecture. It also further incorporated and syncretized influences from wider Indian architecture, especially during the reign of Akbar. Mughal buildings have a uniform pattern of structure and character, including large bulbous domes, slender minarets at the corners, massive halls, large vaulted gateways, and delicate ornamentation; examples of the style can be found in modern-day Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Red Fort</span> Historic fortress in Delhi, India

The Red Fort or Lal Qila is a historic fort in Old Delhi, Delhi in India that served as the main residence of the Mughal Emperors. Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned construction of the Red Fort on 12 May 1638, when he decided to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi. Originally red and white, its design is credited to architect Ustad Ahmad Lahori, who also constructed the Taj Mahal. The fort represents the peak in Mughal architecture under Shah Jahan and combines Persianate palace architecture with Indian traditions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shah Jahan period architecture</span>

Shah Jahan period architecture is an architectural period of Mughal architecture. It is associated with Shah Jahan's thirty-year reign over the Mughal Empire from 1628 to 1658. The most notable structures of this period include the Taj Mahal in Agra and the Red Fort in Old Delhi. Shah Jahan period architecture is distinguished by the extensive use of symmetry, the embellishing of structures through features such as the Shajahani column and the use of red sandstone and white marble as essential building materials. Shah Jahan is believed to have been heavily involved in the design and construction processes of the structures which had an immediate cultural impact seen through the involvement of social elites in architectural practices. Shah Jahan period architecture was influenced by previous Mughal emperors architectural works in addition to Persian architecture.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shah Jahani Mahal</span> Historic site in Uttar Pradesh, India

The Shah Jahan Mahal is palace in the Agra Fort in northern India.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jahangiri Mahal</span>

Jahangiri Mahal may be the most noteworthy building inside the Agra Fort of India. The Mahal was the principal zenana, and was used by the Rajput wives of Akbar. It is a form of Islamic architecture.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jama Mosque, Fatehpur Sikri</span> 16th-century mosque in Uttar Pradesh, India

The Jama Masjid is a 16th-century congregational mosque in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Fatehpur Sikri in Uttar Pradesh, India. Constructed by Mughal Emperor Akbar, it is one of the largest mosques in India. It is the most sought after pilgrimage site by the devotees. It is also one of the most visited tourist destinations in Agra district. Some of the designs of the mosque reflect beautiful Iranian architecture.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Musamman Burj (Agra Fort)</span>

Musamman Burj also known as the Saman Burj or the Shah-burj, is an octagonal tower standing close to the Shah Jahan's private hall Diwan-e-Khas in Agra Fort.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zafar Mahal (Mehrauli)</span> Building in Delhi, India

Zafar Mahal, in Mehrauli village, in South Delhi, India, is considered as the last monumental structure built as a summer palace during the fading years of the Mughal era. The building has two components namely, the Mahal or the palace, which was built first by Akbar Shah II in the 18th century, and the entrance gate that was reconstructed in the 19th century by Bahadur Shah Zafar II, popularly known as "Zafar" meaning ‘Victory’. It has a forlorn history because Bahadur Shah Zafar, who wished to be buried in the precincts of the Zafar Mahal (palace) and the famous Dargah of Khwaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiar Kaki in Mehrauli, Delhi, was deported by the British to Rangoon, after the First War of Indian Independence in 1857, where he died of old age. The monument today is in a neglected and ruined state, locals play cricket and gamble freely inside the protected monument. The 18th-century palace has been all but subsumed by unauthorised constructions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jagat Gosain</span> Empress Consort of Mughal Emperor Jahangir

Manavati Bai, also spelled Manvati Bai,, better known by her title, Jagat Gosain, was the second wife and the empress consort of the fourth Mughal emperor Jahangir and the mother of his successor, Shah Jahan.

<i>Jharokha Darshan</i> Practice of addressing the public at the balcony at forts and palaces of medieval kings in India

Jharokha Darshan was a daily practice of addressing the public audience (darshan) at the balcony (jharokha) at the forts and palaces of medieval kings in India. It was an essential and direct way of communicating face-to-face with the public, and was a practice which was adopted by the Mughal emperors. The balcony appearance in the name of Jharokha Darshan also spelled jharokha-i darshan was adopted by the 16th-century Mughal Emperor Akbar, even though it was contrary to Islamic injunctions. Earlier, Akbar's father Emperor Humayun had also adopted this Hindu practice of appearing before his subjects at the jharokha to hear their public grievances.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Diwan-i-Khas (Red Fort)</span>

The Diwan-i-Khas, or Hall of Private Audiences, was a chamber in the Red Fort of Delhi built-in 1648 as a location for receptions. It was the location where the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan received courtiers and state guests. It was also known as the Shah Mahal.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Muthamman Burj (Red Fort)</span>

The Muthamman Burj, also written Musamman Burj, is a tower of the Red Fort located in Delhi.

<i>Persian Inscriptions on Indian Monuments</i> Book by Hekmat E Shirazi

Persian Inscriptions on Indian Monuments is a book written in Persian by Dr Ali Asghar Hekmat E Shirazi and published in 1956 and 1958 and 2013. New edition contains the Persian texts of more than 200 epigraphical inscriptions found on historical monuments in India, many of which are currently listed as national heritage sites or registered as UNESCO world heritage, published in Persian; an English edition is also being printed.

References

  1. "Agra Fort". www.tajmahal.gov.in. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  2. "Agra Fort - World HeritageCentre". UNESCO.ORG. Archived from the original on 17 July 2010. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
  3. Sarkar, Jadunath (1960). Military History of India. Orient Longman. pp. 66–67. ISBN   9780861251551.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Verma, Amrit (1985). Forts of India. New Delhi: The Director of Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 78-80. ISBN   81-230-1002-8.
  5. "The Akbarnama of Abul Fazl Vol. 2". 1907.
  6. "Agra Fort (1983), Uttar Pradesh – Archaeological Survey of India". Archived from the original on 3 December 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  7. Sinha, Shashank Shekhar (2021). Delhi, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri: Monuments, Cities and Connected Histories. Pan Macmillan. p. 88. ISBN   9789389104097.
  8. "The Explosion at Agra". No. Volume 6. The Illustrated London News. 6 January 1872. pp. 9–10. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  9. Kaur, Gurmeet; Singh, Sakoon N.; Ahuja, Anuvinder; Singh, Noor Dasmesh (24 May 2020). Natural Stone and World Heritage: Delhi-Agra, India. CRC Press. p. 84. ISBN   9781000040692.
  10. "The Bengali-Mahal, adfagra.org". Archived from the original on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  11. Agra Museum notice