Agra Fort - Interesting FactsA majestic structure, a symbol of power, an important site that has witnessed many milestones in the Indian history, a building which was once known as 'Badalgarh'... now stands tall for the people across the globe.
The transformation in terms of the name and also the architectural facelift or renovation has significant reasons to it. Whatever happened at this place has a tell tale sign as to whose hands or reign it was under. This massive edifice has witnessed a series of invasions and rulers.
Culture, heritage and history are unique and irreplaceable. It is the root of the past, which we live today and hand over to our future generations. It is on this pretext that ‘Red Fort’ is tagged as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It seems only appropriate for this astonishing piece of history to be preserved and cherished.
All through the history this fort changed hands from Lodi, Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shahjahan and Aurangazeb, all in chronological order. It was from this very fort that many ruled the kingdom.
The Mughal rule is known for its immense fortifications, and the distinct difference between the ruler and the ruled. When Akbar saw the fort for the first time built of red bricks it was in ruins and shambles. He was the ruler who saw the true potential of the strategic and central location of the fort and renewed it to its glory. It was under his rule that Red Fort was restored using red stones.
Shahjahan was another Mughal ruler who also contributed to the splendour of the fort. The love and passion for architecture is clearly visible in his marvellous creations. The incorporation of white marble and precious gems to the existing structure shows his fascination for it. Shahjahan was imprisoned in this fort for a span of 8 years and as rumour has it, breathed his last in a high tower named Mausamman Burj, over viewing Taj Mahal.
This fort on the banks of Yamuna is fortified both internally and externally. The entrance was almost impregnable owing to its clever construction and layout. The external wall of Agra is 70ft high, with bastions. The fort has double embankments, with parapets for discharging missiles, grooved spaces for archers and shooters, openings which allow canons to be fired.
Originally known as ‘Akbari Darwaza’, the southern gateway, was renamed as ‘Amar Singh gate’ by Shahjahan, as a mark of admiration for the valorous feat by Rao Amar Singh of Jodhpur.
The other gate worth mentioning is the magnificent ‘Delhi Gate’ which is considered as a master piece. Both the facets, ‘the aesthetic’ which can be seen in the intricate marble inlay work and the enhanced techniques of ‘security’ such as the drawbridge, ascent – glorifies and fortifies the fort. However, it is not opened to public and one can gain entrance through the Amar gate. The Northern portion of the fort is occupied by the Indian Army and hence not accessible.
Some of the interesting facets of the semi-circular fort are known for its intricate and sagacious construction.
Jahangiri Mahal: One can admire the place for its sheer simplicity and clarity. Though it is named Jahangiri Mahal, it was Akbar’s creation. The surface of this place is striking with intricate floral patterns, geometric designs and peitra dura work. The sophistication and the finesse of the craftsmanship has been well recorded by Abul Fazl, who says that the red stone slabs are laid with such a precision that not even the end of a hair can penetrate.
Khas Mahal: It blankets three main chambers, Tasbih Khana where the King worshipped, the Khwabgah was the sleeping chamber and the baithak the sitting room. The beauty or the captivating characteristic of the Khas Mahal is the perforated marble screen. Till date it is an example of sublime attraction.
The rooms in this fort have hollow grooves through which water keeps flowing, thereby, keeping the interiors cool as the wind blows. Many such genius ideas have been a source of inspiration for both national and global architects.
This fort inspite of its influence and rule by powerful Mughal kings has a lot of Hindu sway too in its architecture. Pictorial representation of elephants, birds, dragons, are unusual in Islamic architecture as they are considered sinful to be depicted, which on the contrary can be seen adorning the fort surface.
The Aga Khan award is an architectural reward. It was established by Aga Khan IV. It is considered extremely prestigious, The Red Fort of Agra is a recipient of this. It was also given a stamp by India post to commemorate the same.
The mystery associated to the treasury, the multi-level security and the well-sealed vaults couldn’t escape the plot of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, such is the fame of Agra Fort. The grandeur of the fort has attracted many renowned people, it has also been featured in the work of a notable Egyptian pop singer, Hisham Abbas.
Agra Fort a symbol of glory, valour and architectural marvel is our nation's pride. It carries with it the aura and resilience of the rulers who once held fort. The walls have more to it than what meets the eye....