Agra fort is India’s most important fort, Great Mughal: Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir, Shahjahan, and Aurangzeb lived here and the country was ruled from here. It was the largest state treasury and mint in it. Foreign ambassadors, travelers, and highest dignitaries visited it who participated in the creation of India’s medieval history. No other fort of India was in this respect.
Agra Fort stands on the ancient Yamuna river only one ancient site. It was a brick fort and Chauhan Rajputs organized it. This is mentioned for the first time in 1080 AD when a Gazanawide force caught it. Sikandar Lohi (1487-1517) was the first sultan of Delhi who went to Agra and lived in the fort. He controlled the country from here and Agra assumed the prominence of the second capital. He died in the fort in 1517, and his son Ibrahim Lohi kept it for 9 years until he was defeated and killed in Panipat in 1526. In many places, Velli and a mosque were built during the period in the fort.
After Panipat, Mughal captured the fort of Agra and a huge treasure – in which the diamond was later named “Koh-i-Noor”. In the palace of Ibrahim, Babur stayed in the fort. They made a baori (stacked well) in it. After the defeat in Chausa in 1539, Humayun was coronated in 1530, he returned to Agra. Nizam water carrier (Sakka) who rescued Humayun from drowning, was crowned for half a day here and issued a monthly currency. Humayun was defeated in 1540 in Bilgram. Sher Shah kept it for 5 years. Mughal ultimately defeated Afghans in Panipat in 1556.
Understanding the importance of the central position, Akbar (1556-1605) decided to make Agra its capital. He arrived here in 1558. His historian Abul Fazl recorded that it was a brick fort, which was called ‘cloudagad’. It was in a ruined situation and Akbar ordered it to be rebuilt with Red Sandstone. The foundation was laid by expert architects and it was built on the outer surfaces with a built-in brick with internal cores and stones. About 4,000 builders worked daily and this was completed in 8 years (1565-1573).
There is a semi-circular scheme in the fort, its wire is parallel to the river. Its walls are 70 feet high. Double ramps have largely rounded turret on regular intervals, war, ambraser, mechanocular and string courses. The four doors were made available on four sides. A “Khujari Gate” opens on the river, where a series of quays was also made.
Abul Fazl recorded that 500 buildings were constructed in the beautiful designs of Bengal and Gujarat. Some of these were dismantled by Shah Jahan to make room for their white marble palaces. But they were mostly destroyed by the British for increasing the barracks between 1803 and 1862. The south-east side of the river is probably left in 30 Mughal buildings.Of these, Delhi-Gate and Akbar-Door and a palace: ‘Bengalis-palace’, the representative is Akbar Bhawan. Delhi-gate faces the city. A draw-bridge and crooked entry made it irreversible. Two life-size stone elephants, their riders were kept at their internal doorway, which was called “Hiti-Pol” Delhi-Gate, which was monumentally built as the formal gate of the king.’Akbar Gate’ was renamed ‘Amar Singh Gate’ by British. This gate is like the Delhi-gate. Both are made of red stone. The Bengali-palace is also made of red stone and now it is divided into ‘Akbar-Mahal’ and ‘Jahangiri-Mahal’.
Akbar died and Jahangir went to the castle in 1605 The latter mostly lived in Lahore and Kashmir, although they regularly went to Agra and lived in the fort. Agra remained the capital of the Mughal empire. In 1628 Shahjahan was crowned in the fort. He was a great creator and his white marble palace was his. They built three white marble masjid in it: Fat-Masjid, Nagina-Masjid, and Meena-Masjid.
After the battle of Samograd in 1658, Aurangzeb surrounded the fort and stopped supplying water from the river. Shah Jahan did not drink water well and could surrender. Aurangzeb imprisoned his father in the fort, where he lived as a prisoner for 8 years. He died in 1666 and was buried in Taj Mahal. Barbiks, surrounded by two doors and river banks, were made by Aurangzeb to strengthen their defense.
Though Shah Jahan had formally transferred his capital to Delhi in 1638, he continued to stay here. But after his death, Agra lost his grandeur; Aurangzeb engaged in the Deccan conflict Yet, repeatedly, he used to live here and organized the court. Shivaji came to Agra in 1666 and met Aurangzeb in Diwan-i-Khas. He was cheated and imprisoned, though the wild Maratha finally escaped. Aurangzeb’s death in 1707 threw the affairs of the chaos of the Mughal Empire. The history of Agra fort of the 18th century is a saga of siege and robbery. It was organized by Jats and Marathas. The British captured it in Marathas in 1803. They turned it around and turned it into an arsenal.
The Mughal palaces have remained in a small, southeastern part of the fort and only this area has been preserved and protected by the archaeological survey of India. Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Important structures inside Agra Fort
Jahangir’s Hauz- It is a monolithic tank, and was built by Jahangir. The tank was initially used for bathing. Now it is part of Akbar’s Bengali palace.
Shahjahani Mahal- Shahjahani Mahal is perhaps one of the earliest attempts of emperor Shah Jahan to replace the Red Sandstone Palace in the white marble palace.
Babar’s baoli (step well)- This is where Babar’s Baoli and Jal work were located. Babar recorded in his memoirs that he made a stone Baori (step-well) in Agra Fort. There were three stories in it, the bull changed the water wheels (desert) to lift the water. In the second floor, all these stairs were opened on the water, which came from the water. It was completed after the battle of Khanva in 1527 AD. And Babar kept an inscription there. A high level was connected to a well and water from Baoli was picked up earlier in this well. A ‘Rehant’ has also acted as a “bair”, from which Ram is taken to a high garden with a rampart “.
Nagina Masjid- Nagina Mosque is a mosque built by Shah Jahan. The mosque was built using only white marble and it was considered as a private place of worship.
Diwan-i-am (public audience hall)– This hall was built by Shah Jahan. Interestingly, the hall was first made using red sandstone but later it was made of shell-plaster, from which it was given a form of white marble.
Gazhnin gate- Gazhnin Gate is actually related to Mahmud’s Tomb of Ghazni, one of the rulers of the Gazainid Empire. For political reasons, the British had shifted to the entrance to the gate.
Bengali Mahal- This palace was built by Akbar and later was revised by Shah Jahan. An interesting aspect of this palace is called the hidden house underground building under this palace.
Akbar’s Mahal- The ruins of Akbar’s famous castle still remained in the fort. Akbar took his last breath in this palace. The whole castle was built using red sandstone.
Agra Fort has many underground apartments and buildings. It is said that the entire fort is connected through tunnels and other underground routes. According to historians, during his respective regime, the emperors owned by the fort have contributed in secret tunnels for obvious reasons. A known tunnel is located near the Water Gate, which connects the fort along the Yamuna river.