Agra Fort

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Agra Fort
Agra 03-2016 10 Agra Fort.jpg
Entry gates of the Agra Fort
Location Agra, Uttar Pradesh, North India
Area94 acres (38 ha)
Built1565-1573
Built for Akbar the Great
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
India Uttar Pradesh location map.svg
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Location of Agra Fort in Uttar Pradesh
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Agra Fort (India)

Agra Fort is a historical fort in the city of Agra in India. It was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638, when the capital was shifted from Agra to Delhi. Before capture by the British, the last Indian rulers to have occupied it were the Marathas. In 1983, the Agra fort has been inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage site. [1] 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.

Agra City in Uttar Pradesh, India

Agra is a city on the banks of the Yamuna river in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is 378 kilometres (235 mi) west of the state capital, Lucknow, 206 kilometres (128 mi) south of the national capital New Delhi, 58 kilometres (31 mi) south of Mathura and 125 kilometres (78 mi) north of Gwalior. Agra is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh, and the 24th most populous in India.

Delhi Megacity and union territory of India, containing the national capital

Delhi, officially the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT), is a city and a union territory of India containing New Delhi, the capital of India. It is bordered by Haryana on three sides and by Uttar Pradesh to the east. The NCT covers an area of 1,484 square kilometres (573 sq mi). According to the 2011 census, Delhi's city proper population was over 11 million, the second-highest in India after Mumbai, while the whole NCT's population was about 16.8 million. Delhi's urban area is now considered to extend beyond the NCT boundaries and include the neighboring satellite cities of Faridabad, Gurgaon, Sonipat, Ghaziabad and Noida in an area now called Central National Capital Region (CNCR) and had an estimated 2016 population of over 26 million people, making it the world's second-largest urban area according to United Nations. As of 2016, recent estimates of the metro economy of its urban area have ranked Delhi either the most or second-most productive metro area of India. Delhi is the second-wealthiest city in India after Mumbai and is home to 18 billionaires and 23,000 millionaires. Delhi ranks fifth among the Indian states and union territories in human development index. Delhi has the second-highest GDP per capita in India.

UNESCO Specialised agency of the United Nations

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to promoting international collaboration in education, sciences, and culture in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter. It is the successor of the League of Nations' International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.

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Agra Fort is the only fort in India where all early Mughal emperors lived. The Fort stands on an ancient site and was traditionally known as Badalgarh. It was captured by Ghaznavi for some time but in 15th century A.D. the Chahman Rajputs occupied it. Soon after Agra assumed the status of capital when Sikandar Lodi (A.D. 1487-1517) shifted his capital from Delhi and constructed 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 here. In A.D. 1530, Humayun was crowned here. The Fort got its present look during the reign of Akbar (A.D. 1556-1605).

Rajput member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and some parts of Pakistan and Nepal

Rajput is a large multi-component cluster of castes, kin bodies, and local groups, sharing social status and ideology of genealogical descent originating from the Indian subcontinent. The term Rajput covers various patrilineal clans historically associated with warriorhood: several clans claim Rajput status, although not all claims are universally accepted.

Sikandar Lodi, born Nizam Khan, was the Sultan of Delhi between 1489 and 1517. He became the next ruler of the Lodi dynasty after the death of his father Bahlul Lodi in July 1489.The second and most successful ruler of the Lodi dynasty of the Delhi sultanate, he was also a poet of the Persian language and prepared a diwan of 9000 verses.

Humayun 2nd mughal emperor

Nasir-ud-Din Muḥammad, better known by his regnal name, Humayun, was the second emperor of the Mughal Empire, who ruled over territory in what is now Afghanistan, Pakistan, Northern India, and Bangladesh from 1530–1540 and again from 1555–1556. Like his father, Babur, he lost his kingdom early but regained it with the aid of the Safavid dynasty of Persia, with additional territory. At the time of his death in 1556, the Mughal Empire spanned almost one million square kilometres.

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).

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. [2]

First Battle of Panipat battle

The First Battle of Panipat, on 21 April 1526, was fought between the invading forces of Babur and the Lodi Kingdom. It took place in north India and marked the beginning of the Mughal Empire and the end of the Delhi Sultanate. This was one of the earliest battles involving gunpowder firearms and field artillery in the Indian subcontinent which were introduced by Mughals in this battle.

Babur 1st Mughal Emperor

Babur, born Zahīr ud-Dīn Muhammad, was the founder and first Emperor of the Mughal dynasty in South Asia. He was a direct descendant of Emperor Timur (Tamerlane) from what is now Uzbekistan.

Bilgram city in Uttar Pradesh, India

Bilgram is a town and a municipal board in Hardoi district in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India.

Diwan-i-Aam DIWAN-I-AM.jpg
Diwan-i-Aam
Effect produced by lighting candles in Sheesh Mahal, Agra Fort. Sheeshmahal.jpg
Effect produced by lighting candles in Sheesh Mahal, Agra Fort.

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.[ citation needed ] 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. [3]

Abul-Fazl ibn Mubarak Grand vizier of Mughal emperor Akbar

Shaikh Abu al-Fazal ibn Mubarak also known as Abu'l-Fazl, Abu'l Fadl and Abu'l-Fadl 'Allami was the Grand vizier of the Mughal emperor Akbar, and author of the Akbarnama, the official history of Akbar's reign in three volumes, and a Persian translation of the Bible. He was also one of the Nine Jewels of Akbar's royal court and the brother of Faizi, the poet laureate of emperor Akbar.

Sandstone A clastic sedimentary rock composed mostly of sand-sized particles

Sandstone is a clastic sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized mineral particles or rock fragments.

Rajasthan State in India

Rajasthan is a state in northern India. The state covers an area of 342,239 square kilometres (132,139 sq mi) or 10.4 percent of the total geographical area of India. It is the largest Indian state by area and the seventh largest by population. Rajasthan is located on the northwestern side of India, where it comprises most of the wide and inhospitable Thar Desert and shares a border with the Pakistani provinces of Punjab to the northwest and Sindh to the west, along the Sutlej-Indus river valley. Elsewhere it is bordered by five other Indian states: Punjab to the north; Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to the northeast; Madhya Pradesh to the southeast; and Gujarat to the southwest.

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. He destroyed some of the earlier buildings inside the fort to make his own.[ citation needed ]

Shah Jahan 5th Mughal Emperor

Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Khurram, better known by his regnal name Shah Jahan, was the fifth Mughal emperor, who reigned from 1628 to 1658. His reign represented the height of the Indian architecture, most notably the Taj Mahal. His relationship with his wife Mumtaz Mahal has been heavily adapted into Indian art, literature, and cinema.

Mumtaz Mahal Chief consort of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan

Mumtaz Mahal was the Empress consort of the Mughal Empire from 19 January 1628 to 17 June 1631 as the chief consort of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The Taj Mahal in Agra, often cited as one of the Wonders of the World, was commissioned by her husband to act as her final resting place.

At the end of his life, Shah Jahan was deposed and restrained by his son, Aurangzeb, in the fort. It is rumoured that Shah Jahan died in Muasamman Burj, a tower with a marble balcony with a view of the Taj Mahal.[ citation needed ]

Aurangzeb Sixth Mughal Emperor

Muhi-ud-Din Muhammad, commonly known by the sobriquet Aurangzeb or by his regnal title Alamgir, was the sixth Mughal emperor, who ruled over almost the entire Indian subcontinent for a period of 49 years. Widely considered to be the last effective ruler of the Mughal Empire, Aurangzeb compiled the Fatawa-e-Alamgiri, and is regarded as one of the few rulers who have fully established Sharia law and Islamic economics throughout South Asia.

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.[ citation needed ]

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 of India by Britain.[ citation needed ]

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.[ citation needed ]

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.[ citation needed ]

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, something prevented by this layout, elephants are ineffective.[ citation needed ]

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 Jahangir 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.[ citation needed ]

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

Other Historic sites inside Agra Fort

See also

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Diwan-i-Khas (Red Fort)

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Muthamman Burj (Red Fort)

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Khas Mahal, meaning "The exquisite one of the palace", was Empress consort of the Mughal Empire as the wife of Mughal emperor Jahangir.

References

  1. "Agra Fort - World HeritageCentre". UNESCO.ORG.
  2. Sarkar, Jadunath (1960). Military History of India. Orient Longmans. pp. 66–67.
  3. "Agra Fort (1983), Uttar Pradesh – Archaeological Survey of India". Archived from the original on 3 December 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2013.