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Agra Fort is located in the state of Uttar Pradesh in northern India.
The fort itself has been at the heart of the history of India. It has seen rulers come and go throughout the centuries.
This fort was the recipient of the Aga Khan award for architecture in 2004. The fort itself is built on the ruins of the Badalgarh fort, which was razed to the ground by Akbar during his victory in the Second Battle of Panipat. It is home to some of the most iconic sites of history such as the Anguri Bagh, as well as the Nagina Masjid.
If you liked this article about Agra Fort facts, why not check these Ahmose facts and Ajanta Cave facts on Kidadl!
The Agra Fort has a very vivid history and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its place in Indian history. The Agra Fort plays a crucial role in the different empires that rose and fell on the Indian subcontinent.
Agra was a seat of power for rulers in northern India long before the Mughal dynasty captured Agra. The Lodi Sultans made Agra their seat of power before Babur toppled Ibrahim Lodi in the First Battle of Panipat. Upon the capture of the fort, Agra was started to be developed into a walled city. A step well was built inside the fort.
The Lodi Sultans ruled from the Agra fort. After their defeat at the hands of Babur, the region was held by the Mughals for a short while until Sher Shah Suri took it back from Humayun. Sher Shah Suri made it his home, and the fort remained in the hands of the Suri dynasty for the next 15 years. During this period, Sher Shah Suri made changes to the design of the fort to suit his own architectural tastes, to reflect his own dynasty's role in Indian heritage.
In 1555, Humayun took the fort and the city back from the Suri dynasty. However, this was short-lived because Humayun was driven out of the fort after a year. The military commander of Adil Shah Suri, the last of the Suri dynasty rulers, took the fort from Mughal hands. This commander, Hemu Vikramaditya, pursued the fleeing Mughals all the way to Delhi and defeated them. He crowned himself the king, but did not last for long as the Mughals took back control of Agra in November 1556. This saw a more stable period of rule over the Agra Fort.
After seeing many battles during its time, the Agra Fort was held together by a strand. After being reconquered, the young emperor Akbar took it upon himself to see the Agra Fort restored. Under Akbar, India saw a new era of peace. He established relations with the Rajputana through his marriage to Jodha Bai. Akbar made the Agra Fort his seat of power, the capital of the entirety of the Mughal empire that stretched from Kabul in the west.
Akbar was the Mughal emperor who saw the Agra Fort restored to its former glory, with over 4000 workers and a period of eight years. The Agra Fort became the pinnacle of Mughal architecture, and the heritage of Mughal kings in northern India. Historians believe it cost Akbar seven crore Akbari tankas, equivalent to $1 million. The end result was a fort constructed using red sandstone, making it similar to the Red Fort in Delhi. The Agra Fort became a massive military structure that houses Mughal kings for years before the royal capital was moved to Delhi.
Akbar's son, Jahangir, was crowned here. Jahangir's son, the Emperor Shah Jahan, in turn made the Agra Fort the building we see today. The red sandstone palace had parts destroyed and recreated to his taste, with white marble similar to that of the Taj Mahal. Shah Jahan added most of the buildings to the fort Agra holds. For a short period of time, the Agra Fort built to host the Mughal dynasty saw its title as capital taken away.
The royals moved to Delhi. Aurangzeb, the son of Shah Jahan, at the end of his brutal war of succession, took the capital back to the Agra Fort. Here, he imprisoned Shah Jahan, after he was dethroned. Shah Jahan was put on house arrest and lived for eight years as a prisoner of his son. Even though Aurangzeb occupied a regional conflict with the Marathas and other rebellions, he often held court at the Agra Fort, in the Diwan i Khas as well as the Diwan i Am, addressing the problems of the empire.
The fort continued to change hands a number of times after Aurangzeb. Nadir Shah, the Shah of Persia, conquered the fort. Agra would also play host to the Marathas under Mahajdi Shinde, and then the British.
It would finally be in the hands of the Government of India in 1947, who maintain it as a UNESCO World Heritage Site to this day.
The importance of the Agra Fort goes beyond just being a red sandstone palace built to house the royal family, and display the Mughal rulers.
The very city of Agra was strategically important to the rulers of old empires. The old fort of Badalgarh, whose foundations gave way for the Agra Fort, was placed on the Ganga-Yamuna doab, which was extremely valuable. By placing it on the bank of the Yamuna River, the original builders ensured access to essentially all of India. It was at the heart of trade routes originating from the west in Rajputana and Gujarat, all the way to Bengal in the east.
For Akbar, it allowed him to cement his authority over the region in a more defining way. He destroyed the Badalgarh Fort, signifying the end of the Lodi rule, as well as the Suri rule in the region. From the ruins, he crafted the Agra Fort on the River Yamuna, and created the beginnings of Indo-Islamic architecture.
For India, it meant a new beginning of rule, under a dynasty that changed the course of history of India entirely. In fact, the Agra Fort became so famous that it was included by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in one of his stories. 'The Agra Treasure' was one of the stories Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote, which used the Agra Fort as one of the locations.
The design of the fort itself is in a semicircle when viewed from above. The Agra Fort faces the riverbank of Yamuna and has walls made of red sandstone imported from Rajasthan.
The red sandstone walls make up for about 1.2 mi (2 km) of the walled perimeter. There are four gates that grant entry to the fort, with the Amar Singh gate, and the Delhi gate being the more commonly known and popular points of entry. The Amar Singh gate was formerly known as the Lahore gate, and the name Amar Singh gate came much later on in the history of the fort. Akbar favored the use of the Delhi gate due to its security features.
The Indian army continues to use the Delhi gate today. An inner gate is known as the elephant gate due to its ability of being impenetrable in the face of enemy war elephants. The military structure is visible and influenced how the fort was built. The fort housed royals, as well as acting as a military stronghold.
The Agra Fort in itself is made up of a number of halls and palaces. The two halls, the Diwan i Khas and the Diwan i Am, are two of them. The Diwan-i-Khas was used for private audiences with the emperor, while the Diwan i Am was meant for public audiences. Great royal pavilions were erected all over the palaces, in the gardens and halls. Two of the most prominent palaces are the Khaas mahal, made for the emperor, and the Shah Jahani mahal.
The latter houses the Ghaznin gate brought over from the tomb of Mahmud Ghaznavi at Ghazni and is placed inside the Shah Jahani mahal. There is also the Akbari mahal, which is situated between the Jahangir mahal and Akbar's Bengali mahal. Other interesting parts of the fort are Jodha Bai's palace, the Shish mahal, which is the mirror palace as well as other royal rooms. There are even royal baths that were made for the princesses. These different parts of the fort featured lavish Mughal decorations, going as far as having ruby plated walls.
The fort shows the intricacy and the heritage the Mughals left in India. The architectural impact of important facets of the fort such as the Amar Singh gate or the octagonal tower that stands close to the private hall of Shah Jahan are evidence of Indo-Islamic architecture. The octagonal tower is the place where Shah Jahan was placed during his years of arrest under his son.
The Mughals made provisions to ensure religious practices were not left out. Shah Jahan built the famous Nagina Masjid as well as the Moti Masjid, known as the Pearl Mosque inside the fort. He also built the Mina Masjid inside the Agra Fort for his personal use, made entirely of white marble
The Agra Fort is not something that has been forgotten. It is still in use, but in different ways to what it is known for in history.
The fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has become one of the most popular places for tourists to visit in Uttar Pradesh. It is an interesting way to learn more about the history of the region and remains a prominent part of Agra, eventually being given the name the Red Fort of Agra.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked learning these interesting Agra Fort facts then why not take a look at facts about William, Duke Of Normandy or learn why do we age?
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