UNESCO’s World Heritage Site Agra Fort (India)

Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site in the city of Agra in Uttar Pradesh, India. Situated on the right bank of River Yamuna, this fort is about 2.5 km northwest of Taj Mahal and quite near the Agra Cantonment Station area.

agra fort

The fort’s colossal double walls rise 20 m in height and measure 2.5 kilometers in circumference. Encircled by a moat, this red sandstone fort was the residence of three Mughal emperors – Akbar, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb. They made significant structural contributions and changes to this complex. The initial structures of the fort were built by Akbar, and later taken over by his grandson Shah Jahan, who added most of the marble creations.

History of Agra Fort

Agra Fort was originally a brick fort and the Chauhan Rajputs held it. Sikandar Lodi (1487-1517) was the first Sultan of Delhi who shifted from Delhi to Agra and lived in the fort. He governed the country from here. When he died in 1517, his son Ibrahim Lodi held the fort for nine years. He was defeated and killed in the battle of Panipat in 1526. During his period, he built several palaces, wells and a mosque in the fort.

When Babur sent his son Humayun to Agra, he captured Agra Fort and seized a vast treasure which included the world famous Koh-I-Noor diamond. Humayun was coronated here in 1530.

Agra’s heyday came with the reign of Humayun’s son, Akbar. Akbar decided to make it his capital. He renovated the fort with red sandstone. Its foundation was laid and it was built with bricks in the inner core, and with sandstone on external surfaces. Some 1,444,000 builders worked on it for almost eight years and completed the fort in 1573.

When Shah Jahan (Akbar’s grandson) reigned, the site took on its current state. Legend has it that he built Taj Mahal for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. He destroyed some of the earlier buildings inside the fort in order to make his own. All his buildings were made of white marble and inlaid with gold and semi-precious gems. During his last days, he was imprisoned in the fort by his son, Aurangzeb. It is rumored that Shah Jahan died in Muasamman Burj, a tower with a marble balcony having a view of the Taj Mahal.

Layout of Agra Fort

The Agra Fort has a semi-circular plan and had initially four gates. Now there are only two gates – the Delhi Gate and the Amar Singh Gate.

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