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Agra Fort, India

Agra Fort, India (Known places)

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Tags: india (19 pics)

Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Agra, India. The fort is also known as Lal Qila, Fort Rouge and Red Fort of Agra. It is about 2.5 km northwest of its much more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. The fort can be more accurately described as a walled palatial city.

It is the most important fort in India. The great Mughals Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb lived here, and the country was governed from here. It contained the largest state treasury and mint. It was visited by foreign ambassadors, travelers and the highest dignitaries who participated in the making of history in India.

History

This was originally a brick fort and the Sikarwar Rajputs held it. It was mentioned for the first time in 1080 (939 years ago) AD when a Ghaznavide force captured it. Sikandar Lodi (1487-1517) was the first Sultan of Delhi who shifted to Agra and lived in the fort. He governed the country from here and Agra assumed the importance of the 2nd capital. He died in the fort in 1517 (502 years ago) and his son, Ibrahim Lodi, held it for nine years until he was defeated and killed at Panipat in 1526 (493 years ago). Several palaces, wells and a mosque were built by him in the fort during his period.

After Panipat, Mughals captured the fort and a vast treasure - which included a diamond that was later named as the Koh-i-Noor diamond - was seized. Babur stayed in the fort in the palace of Ibrahim. He built a baoli (step well) in it. Humayun was crowned here in 1530 (489 years ago). Humayun was defeated in Bilgram in 1530 (489 years ago). Sher Shah held the fort for five years. The Mughals defeated the Afghans finally at Panipat in 1556 (463 years ago).

Realizing the importance of its central situation, Akbar decided to make it his capital and arrived in Agra in 1558 (461 years ago). His historian, Abdul Fazal, recorded that this was a brick fort known as 'Badalgarh'. It was in a ruined condition and Akbar had it rebuilt with red sandstone. Architects laid the foundation and it was built with bricks in the inner core with sandstone on external surfaces. Some 1,444,000 builders worked on it for eight years, completing it in 1573 (446 years ago).

It was only during the reign of Akbar's grandson, Shah Jahan, that the site finally took on its current state. The legend is that Shah Jahan built the beautiful Taj Mahal for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Unlike his grandfather, Shah Jahan tended to have buildings made from white marble, often inlaid with gold or semi-precious gems. He destroyed some of the earlier buildings inside the fort in order to make his own.

At the end of his life, Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son, Aurangzeb, in the fort, a punishment which might not seem so harsh, considering the luxury of the fort. It is rumored that Shah Jahan died in Muasamman Burj, a tower with a marble balcony with an excellent view of the Taj Mahal.

This was also a site of one of the battles during the Indian rebellion of 1857 (162 years ago), 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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