Agra Fort

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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 till 1638, when the capital was shifted from Agra to Delhi. The Agra fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site.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.

After the First Battle of Panipat in 1526, the victorious Babur stayed in the fort, in the palace of Ibrahim Lodi. He later built a baoli 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. Sheesh Mahal, Agra Fort:The 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. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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How to Reach:

By Air

Agra’s Kheria airport is also a military base. It is a seasonal commercial airport and is connected only by Air India flights from New Delhi. The flight from Delhi to Agra is less than an hour long. Kheria airport is 13 kilo metres away from Agra city. Hire a taxi from the airport to get to the city, which should take you around 10-15 minutes depending on traffic.

By Train

Agra is situated on the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Chennai route and is well connected to most cities across India. There are regular trains to Agra from cities like Delhi, Jaipur, Gwalior and Jhansi. Agra is also well connected to cities in other parts of the country such as Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai. There are five railway stations in Agra - Agra Cantt Station (the main station), Agra Fort Railway Station, Raja ki Mandi, Agra City and Idgah Railway Station. The Taj Mahal and Agra Fort are a short distance away from Agra Cantt railway station and one can hire a pre-paid taxi, auto rickshaw or even a cycle rickshaw to get to these attractions.

By Road

Agra is connected to Delhi by NH2 and the new Yamuna Expressway. The drive time is about 4-5 hours depending on traffic and time of the day. Jaipur is connected to Agra by NH11 and is a 4-hour drive. Gwalior, connected by NH3 is a 1.5-hour drive while Lucknow and Kanpur, connected by NH2, are about a 2-hour and 5-hour drive respectively.