Tuesday 3 January 2012

The Agra Fort,Agra,India

Amar Singh Gate of Agra Fort Agra
The First gate of the Amar Singh Entrance of the Agra Fort
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The Great Mughals lived and governed their empire from the Agra Fort. Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan, and Aurangjeb all lived here and added to or modified the Agra Fort over 95 years. It consists of two walls between which is a moat that once had hungry crocodiles waiting for any attacker to fall into the water.The wooden drawbridge and gate were operated by well trained elephants.Between the Inner wall and the residential area is another walled ring  which had fierce tigers  roaming freely and also hungrily waiting for attackers. The three gates faced in different directions and were not in a staright line so that any charge of elephants or horses would have to slow down. These additions were done mainly by Aurangzeb, the last of the Great Mughals, because he faced the maximum opposition and also because he ascended the throne by killing his three elder brothers and imprisoning his father Saha Jahan. The Mughals were originally from Persia,but Babur's mother was Mongol and therefore they were named The Mughals. 
The Second Gate of The Agra Fort

Babur, the founder of the Mughal Dynasty came to the fort first time in 1530 after his victory against Ibrahim Lodhi. After 26 years of struggle in which the Mughals lost and gained the Agra fort a couple of times,Akbar finally established his Capital at the Agra fort and started the first massive construction which was completed in 8 years. 
He also started the amalgamation process by marrying an Indian Princess and settled down in the Agra fort along with his 9 ministers cum advisors (Akbars Navratans or Gems)to Rule,Govern,Administer and expand his army, empire and family.
The Third And Innerrmost Gate Of The Agra Fort  Agra
The Agra Fort was visited by many dignatories, famous travelers ,ambassadors and to welcome them flowers were showered upon them from the windows at the top of the gate  and drummers who used to sit just behind the doors.
Emperor Jehangir's Bedroom Inside Agra Fort

Nothing much remains of Akbar's residence because it was destroyed in an assault by the Raja(Ruler) of neighbouring Bharatpur, but Jehangir's residnece is still very much here.The Mughals did not have any doors in their rooms or houses and used Persian rugs and carpets to keep the elements out.Also no men other than the Emperor was allowed in the residential area with hundreds of maids attending to them.

The Queen's Summer Residence
The summer residence had double walls which had water flowing between them and also there were specially designed inclined windows which used to direct the hot summer wind , cooled over the water, into the room.The Red Sandstone is impervious and water resistant and is used for water proofing in basements etc even today.

Shah Jahan's Residence In Agra Fort

Emperor Shah Jahan's Bedroom
Jehangir was succeeded by Shah Jahan and by that time the Mughal Empire was extremely rich and powerful.Shah Jahan built his residence in the fort using white marble(Makrana) and later went on to build the Taj Mahal and the Delhi Red Fort.Shah Jahan's palace is built on a grand scale with fountains and flower gardens in front of it.The paintings and inlay work on the bedroom walls and ceiling is not well preserved but visitors can have an idea about what it would have been when constructed.

The Walls &Ceiling of Shah Jahan's Palace, Agra Fort 

Gardens inside Agra Fort Agra
Gardens Outside Shah Jahan's Palace Inside Agra Fort

This is a Video of Shah Jahan's palace showing the scale of the gardens and the fountains outside.
gate of Bath House of Queen Mumtaz Mahal
The Door of the Sheesh Mahal(Mirror Palace)

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This is a Video of Shah Jahan's palace showing the scale of the gardens and the fountains outside.
The water tank at the highest point was used for the fountains as well as Queen Mumtaz Mahal's Bath and Spa.The Taj Mahal was built for Mumtaz Mahal.
It was called the Sheesh Mahal(Palace of Mirrors) and it had millions of small mirrors fixed on the walls and they used to show millions of similar images and in the darkness gave the impression of stars twinkling all around.The mirrors were specially imported from Belgium.
Inside The Sheesh Mahal

The Twinkling Of The Mirriors In The Candle Light.
AVideo of the Mirrors twinkling in Candle Light.

Water heater in Sheesh Mahal at Agra Fort Agra
Water Heating Arrangement With 24 Candles,Agra fort,Agra
The water heating arrangement with 40 candles and water flowing behind the wall.For the Royal Bath the Queen would sit on a swing suspended in the air and water jets at the controlled temperature would shoot at her from fountains located below ,on the four sides and the top.Mumtaz Mahal gave birth to fourteen children of whom only six survived.Four sons and two daughters.The sons fought each other in a bloody war of succession in which Aurangzeb killed his three elder brothers.The daughters,Roshnara and Jahanara ,could not get married because who would may the Emperor's daughters. They asked for the money which would have been spent on their marriages,got it, and used it to build the Jama Masjids in Delhi and Agra.

Akbar's Seat In The Diwan e Khas
For governance there was a Diwan e Khas where the Emperor would meet his council of ministers and the Diwan e Aam which was for the public.
Jehangir's Seat In The Diwan e Khaas
Shah Jahan's seat,The Peacock throne is today in Iran as it was looted by the Persian invader Nadir Shah in 1738 when the power of the Mughal Empire was on the decline after Aurangzeb's death in 1707.
Shah Jahan's Jail,Agra Fort ,Agra
This is the building in which the old and frail Shah Jahan was incarcerated  by his son Aurangzeb. He spent the last 8 years of his life gazing at his favourite Taj Mahal with his fading eye sight from the windows of this jail.
Machli Mahal at Agra Fort Agra
Machli Mahal or Fish Palace,Agra Fort,Agra
This the Machli Mahal or Fish Palace ,so called because instead of the grass there used to be a huge tank of water with beautiful colorful fish swimming in it.Around the tank there were government offices on the first floor and the Royal Treasury and the Royal Mint on the ground floor and basement.In 1880 the British filled the tank with mud and planted grass because filling the tank with water and taking care of the fish was a difficult job. There is no record of what happened to the hungry crocodiles and the ferocious tigers. The water in the tanks for the fountains,fish tank, fountains was filled continously in the overhead tank by water carriers using leather bags.
The Diwan e Aam,Agra Fort, Agra
This is the Diwan e aam or public court where the emperor was seated at a height,the ministers at each pillar and the public outside in the courtyard.Some kind of echo system was used because standing in the courtyard outside one can clearly hear what is being talked in normal tones inside.
75% of The Agra Fort is with the army and not accessible to visitors.

Gulshan Dhaba at Kosi

The old road from Delhi to Agra is well maintained and the distance of 200 KMs can be covered in about 4 hours. There several Dhabas(Road side eateries), Tourist Complexes and McDonalds on the way to cater to all kinds of choice for breakfast or lunch.

Friendly Elephant at Dab Chick Tourist Complex ,Hodal 

There is now a new super highway for reaching the Taj mahal from Delhi. The Yamuna Expressway is a 6-lane , 205 km long, controlled-access expressway, connecting Greater Noida with Agra in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is India's one of the longest six-lane controlled-access expressway stretch. The total project cost was US$2.0 billion -Rs 13000 Crore.
The 6 lane Yamuna Expressway to Agra

McDonalds at Mathura refinery
McDonalds at Mathura Refinery

Agra Fort is a 3 Hours Drive from our Airbnb Apartment- Reunite In Delhi
- the ideal New Delhi Accomodation for a group of upto 8 persons .Book Now

In a first for military aviation in India, Indian Air Force on May 21, 2015 successfully landed a French Dassault Mirage-2000 on the Yamuna Expressway near Raya village, Mathura, at about 6.40 am. The drill was part of more elaborate trials to see how many other highways can be used for emergency landing of defence aircraft. The next stretch on sight is three km of the Agra-Lucknow Greenfield Expressway.

Mirage Landing on Yamuna Expressway- Video


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  3. Hi, thanks for the pics. One question...is the Sheesh Mahal open to the general public, or did you need special access to view it? I visited Agra Fort a couple of years ago, but did not see the Sheesh Mahal.

    Thanks much!